TikTok & Instagram Short-Form Video Coming Soon To Google Mobile Search

Brian Curee

At the moment, when you look for something on Google, you’re served some ads at the top followed shortly by your search engine results. But that’s about to change. Soon, short-form videos will take precedence in the Google mobile carousel results. 

The new change means all your TikTok and IG videos will be indexed by Google. As a result, they could appear to people within the Google console when they’re searching for your radio station. Instead of a clean separation between your social media videos and your website, radio now needs to think about digital strategy more entirely—especially since more people are using their mobile devices to conduct searches.

The importance of mobile versus desktop Google results

Before we continue, you need to understand one critical concept: your search results show up differently on Google mobile search than on a desktop computer. On mobile, you’ll notice the use of carousels to highlight content such as YouTube videos, tweets, and other social media extracts. If you haven’t noticed it before, do a search for Zach Williams on a desktop and mobile and compare the differences. 

Here’s a visual example of what this looks like. This strategy makes sense from a user perspective. If you’re looking up a company on your mobile phone, then you may want to go check out their Twitter page with a single tap. A variety of media formats gives people choices, rather than limiting their results. For instance, if you’re searching “how to tie a tie,” then you might prefer a video over a text-based article.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read): People who are new to your station will be curious about how your radio station presents itself online. Google knows this, so it shows a variety of formats in its mobile carousel results in order to help people find what they need quicker. This is relevant to your station because you can use this information to strategically target mobile users with the right content.

Change is coming! Mobile now dominates search volume

This change is happening now because we’re approaching a tipping point. Until mid-2019, the volumes for mobile and desktop searches were approximately equal. But in June 2019, mobile searches became the majority (50.71% of searches, versus 45.53% for desktop)—and the numbers haven’t stopped growing.

Now, because mobile dominates search volume, Google is responding by focusing heavily on mobile carousel results. After all, mobile users are accustomed to creating and consuming short-form video content on their phones. It makes sense for Google to index those videos in search results. What this means is that radio needs to think more about Google mobile search going forward, and part of that strategy needs to incorporate short-form videos.

Don’t panic! This is not some huge, scary change that will throw your entire station off-course. See this news as an opportunity to refine your station’s digital strategy, make smarter use of your assets, and maximize exposure and conversion. Take BOOST RADIO for an example. They’ve done an incredible job utilizing the TikTok platform and they’re going to reap the benefits of short-video indexing on Google searches. For now, it’s an early-stage pilot program at Google. They’ve been indexing videos since 2015, but surfacing short social media videos from TikTok and Instagram is new. 

The best approach to take today is to optimize your Google mobile carousel results. You can get super technical with some of your solutions, like implementing AMP markup into your site or ensuring your site is responsive. These types of tactics can help the search engine find and prioritize your code.

Alternatively, you can simply focus on quicker fixes. Try speeding up your website by compressing images and using plug-ins. Faster websites retain visitors. Revamp your SEO strategy by tagging posts according to mobile search keywords, which can be slightly different than desktop search keywords. 

The final key to optimizing your Google mobile carousel results is to produce great short-form videos. If you’re not already on Instagram or TikTok, consider whether it’s the right time to join. Not all stations are a good fit, so don’t follow the crowd just because it’s popular or because another station is on there. But it is important for you to include short-form video as a major component of your 2021 digital marketing plan

No matter the platform, short videos are about to become the newest ambassadors for your brand. If you’d like some help strategizing, book a free consultation. The Killer Bee Marketing team can help you #KILLIT in 2021.

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