Ever since Google launched it's Universal Search initiative, we have seen them test various formats for the display of universal search results in the search results pages (SERPS).  We have shown a you few examples in the past of some testing that Google has done with display of video results and the video thumbnail.

New Google Universal Search Video Thumbnail Tests google video onebox 2008

Today, Philipp Lenssen from Blogscoped published another example that was just discovered, this time it shows 2 video thumbnails grouped side by side in the SERPS. What we dont know from the example above, is whether or not videos from different providers (other than Youtube) are being displayed together horizontally as well.  You will also notice that just like the news results, there is a heading that displays, "Video results for "keyword query."

Apparently, the result was discovered on a Google Canada (Google.ca) search result for the simple query, "iPhone."  When I conduct the same search, I only see one video result for "iPhone." However, when doing other searches, I have noticed that many times, multiple video results are displayed.

New Google Universal Search Video Thumbnail Tests bias serp

My guess is that the horizontal format may an attempt to combat instances like this, where there are several video results on page 1, in various positions that distract a user's focus.   Maybe users are complaining about the current format for displaying universal video results.  What is clear is that using a horizontal layout would make better use of the space available and could allow for more results to be displayed.

How might this affect video search marketing?

New Google Universal Search Video Thumbnail Tests justbehave sep22 3 We already know that the video thumbnails draw user's eyes to the video rather than to the 1st organic result.  Imagine if there was a grouping of videos on a page.

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I guess the answer would depend on how many videos would be grouped together.  The above test example appears to have limited the results to 2 videos, which would stink.  Well, it is just Universal Search testing, as usual.

We'll keep our eyes out.  Please let us know if you see any additional test examples.

  • http://www.freeenterprise.com.au Carl

    mmm It seems everyone talks "about" this feature, but I am wondering how you can do it..or is it something we have no control over?

    So how do sites like metacafe etc do it? I did see on otheir site the meta tag

    Does this have anything to do with it?



  • Andy G

    Thumbnails attract more eyes than pay-per click. I find myself always paying attention to the videos more than anything else. The thumnails are a plus when launching video!

  • Eugene

    The following looks like common sense (how I would do it):
    1. The reason why Google is giving more preference to the videos now is because Google wants to make that super-high video content growth even higher.
    In particular, giving preference to video results and especially YouTube is a huge stimulation for content producers to produce even more content (i.e. Google is trying to fill-up YouTube with content faster).
    2. Once they reach the threshold (presumably measured in the number of videos although it might not be as simple as that), they will not give preference to videos anymore and the video SE positions will be calculated just like they are for other text content (thanks to Annotations, Captions/Subtitles and Speech Recognition, the same mathematical formulas that are used for text will be able to be applied to calculate the SE position).
    This of course means that if the video has enough weight behind it, it will make it to the #1 position on the search results page.

  • Eugene

    And by the way...
    the sad truth is, the above experiments show that sooner or later we may discover that Google has finished testing and does not give preference to the video results anymore.
    Let's use the opportunity while it's here!

  • Eugene

    Adding extra thumbnails horizontally brings the eyes of the user closer to AdWords. I guess Google is trying to see if they can increase clickthrough like this.

  • Andy G

    We discovered video seo more than a year ago because of this! People prefer to have their video thumbnails appear....more than being ranked 1st on 1st. In my opinion it grabs attention more than pay per click. By the way....I love this website..... we have been waiting for something like Reelseo.com for a while. We felt alone with the whole video seo thing. Now we have a great resource to collectively share information!