Q: We have tons of great videos on our website. How can we get those little video thumbnails that sometimes show up in Google search results?
Unfortunately, as of July 2014, it is likely no longer possible to attain the video thumbnails that show up in Google results for your personal website.
The video search space has been constantly changing over the past couple of years; and, in that time, we’ve experienced the rise and fall of on-site video optimization to attain video thumbnails. Now, it looks like the only sites receiving video thumbnails are video platforms (or video-centric sites): YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion, etc… And, as expected, the top platform receiving thumbnails is YouTube.
Before this change: we had shifted to recommending YouTube embeds over hosting your own video and trying to get a thumbnail: You’d normally have a greater chance of your YouTube video ranking (and you could potentially get a thumbnail for your site’s result with the YouTube embed). Now, with this change, we believe hosting your video on YouTube is even more important; and YouTube video optimization becomes key.