As a first-rate SEO company Surrey, Thunderbolt Digital make it our mission to keep abreast of the latest changes to search algorithms, and how SERPs will appear to users and potential customers. We recently reported about Google removing a key element of the search engine (that you may or may not have noticed!) but the question is: will we see yet more changes to search results soon?
You might have noticed autoplay previews on YouTube when you hover over thumbnails, but Google is now taking this to the next level by testing out new autoplay videos in regular search results. Certain users are now seeing autoplay videos appearing in the ‘knowledge panel’ to the right of results when searching for specific terms; this new feature will primarily appear when searching for music videos, films and television programmes, or searches with a “strong video component”.
Autoplay isn’t unusual on the internet these days, with many other sites (especially social media) already using autoplay on native videos, and Facebook has recently angered users after announcing that videos will now autoplay with sound on their app. Thankfully, Google hasn’t gone in this direction and have kept the sound off by default. The videos also only play once (rather than looping) and will not play automatically on mobile, where they instead require a tap to activate.
This autoplay test can be considered a rather strange move due to Google’s stance on autoplaying video advertisements and many are questioning why they are even testing such a thing; it’s been found that a number of results aren’t from official channels, which have netizens speculating that Google may attempt to use this as a monetisation opportunity to sell more ad space.
Of course, users generally dislike autoplay due to memory and bandwidth issues, so this feature could be scrapped before it’s even out of testing, meaning we’ll have to stay tuned.
Are you one of the users able to see autoplaying search results? If so, what do you think of them? Are these changes pushing content further away from users in favour of promoting Google’s own services more prominently? Start up a discussion with us on social media and let us know your stance.