Posted on March 24th, 2011

You may think that YouTube is the only game in town, but it is not. Google, and to a greater extent Bing, source hundreds of channels to populate organic universal  SERPs. This post shares data from our study to reveal the extent that platforms (YouTube, MetaCafe, DailyMotion, etc…) comprise unversal SERPs.   The second installment will be offered as a white paper download next month. It’s a blockbuster featuring a correlation study of query intent, tagging, and how the combination effects a video’s chances in Google and Bing SERPs. We’ll announce the white paper’s release in a SearchEngineLand article in early April.

Which Platforms Get Results
All over the globe, marketers long to see their videos display in key search engines for important keyword searches. The objective of this portion of the study was to understand what video platforms are sourced the most by Google and Bing in universal SERPs and in what percentage. We understood YouTube would play a significant role, but how big of a role and do other platforms even matter for ranking in universal SERPs?

To begin we identified 978 keywords using the YouTube keyword research tool. These keywords were selected based on their search frequency under 24 pre-defined categories.

We then ran the keyword bucket in both Google and Bing and documented every instance of video thumbnails and associated data in the SERPs. The same keyword set was put through a number of video sharing platforms and 1st page SERP ranking for each video was recorded.

Tested platforms:

It’s important to understand video is displayed in very different ways between Google and Bing universal SERPs. Within Google results we saw video thumbnails in 11 different formats or video “packs” being displayed. Below are a few of the variations we came across in Google.

Google Packs

Bing on the other hand only showed one formation, a pack of four.

What Were The Results?
We understood coming into the study YouTube would play a significant role in both Bing and Google and the data confirmed our beliefs. What’s interesting to note here is the percentage breakout difference between search engines. Not only that, but in general video was returned far less in Bing than in Google. The keyword set used here brought back a total of 2051 videos in Google and 156 in Bing.


Google Universal Video SERPs Platform Allocation

The ‘other 10%’ consisted of over 100 different video sites as well as sites internally hosting their video. These sites ranged from Vimeo, Howcast, Hulu, College Humor, IGN, to name a few.

Bing Universal Video SERPs Platform Allocation


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  • Marjory

    This sounds really interesting. Can’t you just send me the whitepaper now? I promise not to tell anybody how it comes out 🙂

    But seriously, when did you do the study? One reason that I ask is that I was noticing that was appearing in a rather lot of results lately too – especially for the names of videos they sell – but I don’t see them mentioned.

    • Manny Rivas

      Marjory That’s what I’m talking about, I love the enthusiasm 🙂 Unfortunately, you’ll have to stay tuned for the release of the white paper in April.

      The study took place a few weeks ago in late February. I’m curious, are these results shopping results or hosted video? The study here is focused on video as the vertical.

  • Kevin Burke

    So it is YouTube or bust? Much like Google for Search…ohh yea…it is Google. Yikes.

    • Manny Rivas

      @Kevin Although YouTube is a big piece of the pie, it certainly isn’t the only game in town. I think it’s important to publish video to other platforms as well. Take your content and push it to dailymotion and metacafe optimized for different permutations of your core keywords.

      I think YouTube is easily understood by the engines. Take a look at all the engagement metrics surrounding video in YouTube (likes/dislikes, favorites, views, embeds, video responses, etc…). These are all signals to engines of how authoritative or popular a video is. Another thing to consider is that there is a large community assigning these engagement values to the video content.

    • Manny Rivas

      @Marjory Very interesting, good for them. Amazon is not only rockin’ the shopping vertical, they’ve taken advantage of video as well. I had a look at the raw data to see if it had come up in universal SERPs for us in our travels but it didn’t. Thanks for sharing!

  • Julian

    I wonder how long it will be before you start seeing Facebook as a major player in either search engine results? Very useful info, further confirming Youtube’s importance in Online Video distribution. Funny that Metacafe and Daily Motion show up but Vimeo does not. Also interesting that for my own videos, Google sometimes displays the Metacafe-hosted video before the Youtube-hosted one. I think the key point is that video producers should distribute their videos on as many platforms as possible.

    • Manny Rivas

      @Julian Social signals are certainly here and influencing each engine’s results in different ways. I’m curious as to how video in Google and Bing Universal SERPs might be affected given shared links in Twitter and “Like” data in Facebook.

      I think you’re right on the money when you talk about video distribution. It’s important to share your videos in other video platforms for increased visibility. Not only that, but optimizing for variations of your core keywords can open up the array of potential terms the videos could rank for.

  • Chris Moise

    Is there any way to register for the white paper?

    • Manny Rivas

      @Chris We’ll be announcing the release of the white paper, including where it will be available for download in a SearchEngineLand article early April. Stay tuned 🙂

  • Diane Dolinsky-Pickar

    Really helpful information, Marty, but if I could cut to the chase — what is the takeaway for small businesses, say, a doctor or dentist or psychologist etc. who wants to get found in local searches? Should they be slapping up videos on YouTube tagged strategically, or should they be putting those up on their own website as testimonials, should they be seeding it through TubeMogul to multiple sites…? Your advice (translated from all this data?

    • Marty Weintraub

      @Diane Dolinsky-Pickar: We will release the actionable advice in a white paper on April 4th, in a Search Engine Land article. Thanks for taking the time to comment here and welcome.

  • Gareth James

    Good research this, interested to know if it was done manually or with a bot?

    • Marty Weintraub

      @Gareth James: We would never violate YouTube’s terms of services by undertaking automated data-extraction :). I will email you some specifics.

  • Mike Darnell

    Hi there,
    Just bumped into this post now. Truly great stuff!
    The only question I have, which remains unanswered despite a fair amount of digging, is what triggers Google to include videos in SERPs to being with.
    Why do you get videos when searching for “Dog” but not when searching for “Cat”?

    Mike – ecommerce video

    PS I went over to search engine land but could not find your post. Link?