When your video is hosted on a big platform like YouTube, Google understands how to show a thumbnail for your video on it’s search results page. But when it comes to self hosted videos, for example one embedded directly in a WordPress post and hosted on your own server, Google does not understand how to generate a thumbnail for your video, unless of course you give it instructions on how to read and display your video.

This short tutorial shows you how to do so. This tutorial is the culmination of our experience when we worked with the Christmas charity video ecard section of Hope Spring eCards.

Here is how your video is displayed in Google SERPs if it is hosted on YouTube:

On our recent project we faced an issue when your video files are hosted on WordPress they are not looking good in Google search results.

All thumbnails were empty and did not look good. Of course, it dramatically effects CTR as they are not eye-catching.


How to add thumbnail to the video hosted on WordPress

Our first step was to look into official Google information and here is what they recommend:

But since for our project each ecard is a separate custom page it means that we should find a way to do custom coding for specific WordPress pages. It is actually not very easy but there are some plugins that do the trick.

We installed a plugin called “SOGO Add Script to Individual Pages Header Footer” – it is a free plugin that has an option to add scripts into custom generated WordPress pages. So, it was what we were looking for.

Here is the code that was added:

After that we checked the page using Structured Data Testing Tool. And it validated our solution successfully:

Now the only thing is to wait when Google reindex your page. For us it happened in few weeks as during that time there was an issue with Google indexing.

About Evgeniy Garkaviy
I'm SEO specialist and certified Adwords consultant. I have been working in Search Engine Marketing for over three year. In addition working in SEO, I love writing about the subject and contributing to forum discussion in forums about various aspects of Search Engine Optimisation from link building to content development. Read more about me here