Google video indexing update welcomed by SEOs: ‘Way too much confusion before’

google video update

Google has updated its video indexing report in Search Console to provide people with clearer information and actionable insights.

On Monday, Google Search Central posted an update to their blog, along with a tweet saying: ‘In order to help you better understand issues with video indexing, Search Console will start reporting more specific issues with clear actions to help you make your videos more prominent on Search.’

The change has so far been welcomed by the SEO community. One person replied on Twitter: ‘This 

was much needed – way too much confusion before. Thanks!’

What did video indexing reports look like before?

Search Console would simply inform the user that ‘Google could not determine the prominent video on the page’. There are numerous help guides which provide suggested actions people can take to try and troubleshoot the issue, but the method was largely trial and error using SEO-driven educated guesses.

Screenshot of Search Console message stating that videos not indexed will not appear on Google's video results

Largely speaking, help guides were recommending moving videos above the fold so that they were immediately visible on the page. They also recommended removing multiple videos from the page and resizing the video.

The indexing update has revealed that the size of the video is one of the reasons why Search Console can’t identify the prominent video. There are now clear directions as to what the minimum size guidelines are.

What updates have been made in Search Console?

Google has updated its generic reporting terminology and broken down the rationale behind why videos in pages aren’t indexed into three possible reasons.

One is ‘video outside the viewport’ – where the video needs to be repositioned so that it is inside the rendered area of the page and visible when the page loads.

The second reason is ‘video too small’, and Google gives guidelines as to the minimum dimensions for indexability – the height or width must be larger than 140px, and at least a third of the page’s width.

The final reason is ‘video too tall’, where people will know they need to decrease the height of the video so it is smaller than 1080px.

Screenshot of Search Console message stating why videos can’t be indexed due to ‘video outside the viewpoint’, ‘video too small’, and ‘video too tall

Disappointingly, the change does not appear to be getting rolled out for historical data. In the Search Central blog, Google acknowledges that the video indexing report shows 3 months of historical data and goes on to say that ‘you may still see the ‘Google could not determine the prominent video on the page’ in the report. However, they have reassured people that this will not have an effect on their web pages.

Why is the change important?

Up until now, SEOs faced with this generic error message have been forced to make a change, reindex the page, see if it works and then try again if the error message is still present. 

Now, SEOs will be able to immediately hone in on the precise indexability issue and fix it right away so that multiple reindexing requests can be avoided.

What’s more, video indexability guidelines can now be clearly laid out to those who have video-heavy websites, which will reduce time spent troubleshooting issues in Search Console.

Why has the change happened?

It’s possible that Google is simply responding to user feedback, or rolling out natural upgrades to systems to make them more user friendly.

However, with major updates such as Search Generative Experience around the corner, it’s also likely that Google is ensuring people have a clear roadmap to make their videos more indexable in search results ahead of a new SERP which will give higher priority to this type of content.

Need help with your video indexing updates?

If you need further advice on video indexing updates or don’t know where to start with technical SEO, get in touch today to see how we can help.

Don’t miss out on Skittle Digital’s Free Acquisitions Workshop, where our experienced marketing experts are happy to discuss and address any concerns you may have, followed by a tailored plan and support to give your strategy a much-needed boost. Book today to secure your place.


Imogen Groome

Content Lead

Imogen is the SEO Content Lead at Skittle Digital. Imogen has worked in SEO since 2016. She helped to define SEO strategy at Metro.co.uk before guiding the newsroom at The Sun Online as SEO Editor. She has more than 5 years’ experience in scaling content strategies that drive revenue for brands through organic search channels. In her spare time, Imogen writes books, watches poor-quality reality TV and hangs out with her cats.

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