Google Update Aims to Improve Video Search Results

By Sara Smida / March 3, 2020 / Paid Search, Video Production

As time and technology progress, people are consuming content and information in ways they never have before.

And they’re doing it in an overabundance of ways.

So, naturally, Google — the world’s most advanced and thoroughly equipped information provider — needs to respond accordingly.

With people consuming — and publishing — video content at an all-time high, special attention needs to be given to video content, as well as other non-traditional written forms of content.

To do so, Google introduced its In This Video search feature to help users better identify important parts of a video without aimlessly skimming through it with no guidance or direction.

Changes to Content Types & Messaging Mean Changes to Search Functionality

Gone are the days of the written word being the main means of informing the masses, especially via the internet.

A heavy hitter on the list of ways people consume information — and a continuously growing way for content consumption — is video content.

Because of this, it has become a common occurrence for Google to include videos directly into its search results, especially if the video is heavily related to the search query and can answer it quickly and easily.

Remember, Google vows its mission related to organic search are to:

  • Deliver the most relevant and reliable information available
  • Maximize access to information
  • Present information in the most useful way

So, what happens when the information someone is searching for is located inside of a video? Halfway through, three-quarters of the way through? Do people watch the entire video and hope there is some relevant content waiting for them?


But maybe not.

Maybe the user(s) continues to scroll and opt for an article that very clearly shows it contains the desired information to satisfy the original search query.

Skimming text, after all, is much easier than searching for something in a video.

More importantly, Google isn’t succeeding with its mission if this is the case. Users still want their answers in search, and they want them fast.

Since video has become the ruler of the land, video SEO is essential to helping improve ranking and organic visibility of video content.

Google to the rescue.

While brands are incorporating video into their general marketing strategy now more than ever before, many have not considered the impact of incorporating SEO into that strategy.

This makes the addition of In This Video even more important for brands.

Google’s ‘In This Video’ Feature

Google has made huge strides when it comes to keeping up with its users and giving them their desired search results.

One such update over the years was including suggested videos in search results. It felt like the next logical step for the search engine to incorporate a timeline feature that will let the user know what is in video segments.

Then Google even went as far as to delivering a video result queued up to the part of the video that actually answers the question (or damn close to it).

Why did the search engine do that? To help users skip video introductions and jump directly to the answer they need — specifically when searching “how to” videos.

And now, with the release of In This Video, the latest Google update has made finding information within a video even easier.

“Now, just like we’ve worked to make other types of information more easily accessible, we’re developing new ways to understand and organize video content in Search to make it more useful for you,” wrote Google’s Product Manager Prashant Baheti.

When users search for something, a how-to video for example, they will be able to find moments within the video faster and easier than watching it in its entirety.

If this works as Google intends it to, it will be an amazing update. Because is there anything more annoying than watching a 5-minute video for a clip that is maybe 30 seconds?

Yes, trying to find the clip in the video on your own by skipping around.

How Does the In This Video Feature Work?

As of September 2019, users can find key moments in videos with the help of content creators.

How-to videos, speeches, or documentary-style videos will all provide links to key moments within the video.

The key moments are based on timestamps provided by the content creators. This new feature will allow users to quickly determine whether or not the video has the needed information.

Google search result page showing a wall oven replacement video with a suggested clip highlighted

The timestamps with corresponding information will appear below the video result.

This update will also make video content more accessible for individuals who use screen readers.

“When you search for things like how-to videos that have multiple steps, or long videos like speeches or a documentary, Search will provide links to key moments within the video, based on timestamps provided by content creators. You’ll be able to easily scan to see whether a video has what you’re looking for, and find the relevant section of the content. For people who use screen readers, this change also makes video content more accessible.”
– Google’s Product Manager Prashant Baheti

In order for the updated feature to work videos will need to be in English, hosted on YouTube, and creators will need to include timestamp information in the video description. To do this, video content creators will need to fill out this Google form.

In This Video is not supported outside of YouTube videos at this time. So for these videos, creators will need to markup their videos using the video schema form.

Why is In This Video Important for Brands?

As you may have guessed by now, videos are a big deal for brands. A huge deal, actually.

With Google’s ability to jump over irrelevant content, or pick out pieces that are relevant, the user(s) will have a much easier time consuming the information in the video.

Structuring video content in a way that is crystal clear so that Google’s algorithm can easily breakdown the format (and humans for that matter) is now more important than ever in a video SEO strategy.

Adding content to the video’s timeline has the possibility for better rankings, more views, and potentially create more conversions.

This update from Google will also give users the opportunity to quickly find what they need and hopefully save them some time in their day.

If video production isn’t part of your digital advertising strategy, let’s start there.