You may have noticed that in early June, Google made a significant change to its search results by introducing a video carousel feature that affected queries for many brands and prominent individuals.
Google’s new video carousel replaces previously displayed video thumbnails and contains three videos with the option to scroll through as many as nine additional videos. The rollout of this new feature complements additional changes implemented recently by Google.
In an effort to answer search queries directly on the main search page, Google is effectively turning its search page into a destination page by allowing users to scroll through videos without leaving the main search page.
While the new carousel feature presents an opportunity for content creators to garner even more video views, it also presents the risk of unfavorable video content appearing in search results. For public-relations professionals and brand managers concerned with online reputation management, this presents a new challenge. Here’s what you need to know:
A new video carousel algorithm determines the content displayed and, at this stage, the number of video views seems to be a big factor in determining the content displayed. If you want your video to rank in the new feature, you will also want to focus on optimizing titles, descriptions and tags using keywords that match your desired query.
The new algorithm also increases the need to closely monitor for any videos with the potential to damage brand reputation—content that may previously have appeared further down in search results could now appear on page one.
Unlike previous search results that were largely monopolized by YouTube content, video carousel results now include videos from third-party sites.
Looking at over 5,000 video search results among Fortune 500 companies, we found that while 59 percent of videos are sourced from YouTube, a significant percentage come from CNBC, The Street and Bloomberg. For CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, we also found significant numbers of videos sourced from platforms such as Twitter, Vimeo and Facebook.
With the brand experience increasingly taking place outside of owned properties, it is more crucial than ever to create and share branded content that effectively conveys the right message while answering the queries of your stakeholders.
If your brand lacks a dedicated video channel, this may be the time to start one. Our analysis of video search results for Fortune 500 CEOS showed that video results for notable individuals also include material sourced from corporate websites. If you’re working to secure maximum executive visibility, consider embedding preferred YouTube content on the company website to increase the chance of these videos appearing in the Google video carousel.
Google’s new video carousel feature has added a new challenge to curating the brand experience on platforms that are not fully within your control. As with many past Google innovations, Google will carefully track how the video carousel is being used to determine when to present this feature. The algorithm will learn which types of videos people want to see, including the length of video and preferred video platforms. Google will continue to shape the search experience and, as that happens, new opportunities to leverage Google’s search platform for the benefit of your brand will continue to emerge.
Sam Michelson is CEO of digital reputation manager Five Blocks.