Are auto-play videos bad for SEO?

7 min read
20 Dec 2023
Picture of Adam



Auto-play videos can be a controversial topic. Many SEO experts claim that it can attract attention and improve bounce times. But the rest think it’s a bad idea.

So, should you use auto-play videos? The answer lies somewhere in the middle.

In this post, we will explore the potential impact of auto play video on SEO in terms of both benefits and limitations. I will also share some best practices on implementing autoplay responsibly if you think it suits your marketing goals.

TL;DR The impact of autoplay videos on SEO is unclear, but potential benefits include more views and shares, longer dwell times, and higher click-through rates.

However, risks such as negative user experience, accessibility issues, slower page speeds, and poor implementation can outweigh those advantages.

Success depends on factors such as quality, relevance, content, audience targeting, page speed and responsible use of controls.

Autoplay can work in certain situations, such as product displays, travel and news sites, but should be used sparingly and prioritising user experience. At the same time, monitor metrics closely and optimise when necessary. Implement autoplay carefully and responsibly if you decide to test it.

What does the research say about Auto Play and SEO?

Surprisingly, There is little clear research on whether auto play videos help or hurt SEO.

Google Webmaster Guidelines do not expressly prohibit the use of autoplay, but they do emphasise the importance of providing a good user experience. Autoplay can go against that if implemented poorly.

Most of the evidence surrounding autoplay and SEO is anecdotal. However, some potential impacts are worth considering:

Potential SEO benefits

  • Grab attention and increase engagement: Auto play can drive more video views and shares, which can also benefit SEO. Especially when you provide them with valuable and optimised content
  • Improve bounce rate and session duration: If visitors engage with your video, they may spend more time on your page, improving your dwell time. This is another potential SEO benefit because Google uses dwell time as a ranking factor.
  • Higher click-through rates (CTR): Auto play videos can lead to higher click-through rates for your site or offer than static images or text links. If it looks close and real
  • Boost conversions: Video can be a powerful tool for converting visitors into leads or customers. If the autoplay video is convincing and relevant to your target audience, it can increase conversions and improve your website rankings.

Potential SEO limitations

  • Benefits can become limitations: The benefits of auto-playing videos become limitations if not optimised.
  • Negative user experience: Auto-playing videos can be disruptive and annoying in some situations, such as using mobile data or with poor network connections, and those in space need quiet, etc. This can lead to lower dwell times and higher bounce rates, which negatively affects SEO.
  • Accessibility issues: Autoplaying videos can cause difficulties for disabled users using screen readers or other assistive technologies. This can hinder accessibility and affect your site’s overall SEO performance.
  • Technical considerations: Autoplaying videos can slow down page load times, which is another factor that can negatively impact SEO.

In short, auto-playing videos can help you improve SEO strategies, but it will also be perilous if you don’t know the impact factors and how to use them.

Factors Affecting Auto Play Videos for SEO

Here are the factors:

  • Quality: High-quality video with clear images and sound helps attract viewers and does not cause discomfort.
  • Video relevance: If the video is well-made and relevant to your content, it is more likely to have a positive impact, avoiding wasting viewers’ time.
  • Video content: Create engaging, convincing, reassuring content. E-E-A-T is always the key to any successful content.
  • Implementation: Implement an auto play with precise controls so users can interact with the video to minimise negative user experiences and foster trust.
  • Accessible ability: Serves many different audiences. Consider captions, audio descriptions, and keyboard controls for users with disabilities.
  • Data consumption: Pay attention to mobile users. Please allow them to opt out of autoplay on limited data connections.
  • Video length: Optimise the size because large videos can significantly slow down page loading speeds, affecting user experience.
  • Target audience: Mastering preferences, browsing habits, and users’ search intent. For example, autoplay may be more acceptable to users familiar with the feature (e.g., social media platforms).

Should you use auto play videos on your website?

Whether autoplay video suits your goals depends mainly on your audience, industry, and specific use case.

Here are some cases where auto play videos can be compelling:

1. Displaying products or services:

  • E-commerce sites: Product pages can automatically play short videos that describe the product in action, highlight features, or showcase customer testimonials. Besides, it will be especially effective for visually appealing or highly complex products.
  • Landing page: Explainer videos that autoplay on landing pages can quickly engage visitors. Notice and communicate the value proposition of the product or service.

2. A design element:

  • Restaurant sites: Restaurant websites can automatically play great atmospheric videos with background music and kitchen sounds to create an inviting atmosphere.
  • Travel sites: Travel sites can autoplay destination videos to take users to exotic locations and inspire them to book their next trip.

3. Provide updates or quick instructions:

  • News sites: News websites can automatically play short videos of breaking news stories to keep users informed.
  • Software applications: Software applications can automatically play short tutorial videos to help users quickly learn how to use features.

4. Build excitement and anticipation:

  • Movie trailers: Movie trailers can automatically play with the sound muted when a user hovers over a movie poster on a streaming platform or ticketing site.
  • Event trailers: Event sites can automatically play short video trailers to build excitement and encourage people to register.

Best practices for using Autoplay Video responsibly

If you decide to test autoplay videos, keep these best practices in mind:

1. Use it sparingly

Don’t overdo it. Autoplaying every video on a website is quite risky. Use it selectively and intentionally.

2. Make playback and controls clear

Prominently display video thumbnails before playing so people know what to expect.

When the video starts, include controls such as:

  • Pause
  • Increase/decrease volume
  • Turn subtitle display on/off

3. Offer an opt-out option

Allow users to turn off autoplay if they wish. You can do this via:

  • An explicit link/toggle to turn it off
  • Site-wide cookies when someone opts out
  • Check browser/device options that prevent autoplay

4. Deploy sensitively

If you autoplay videos on mobile devices, be highly cautious about data usage, potential audio interruptions, and thinner user bandwidth. Ideally:

  • Default mute
  • Use WiFi detection to avoid unnecessary data usage
  • Pause playback as the user scrolls
  • Displays small overlay videos that can be tapped to expand

5. Set goals and track them carefully

Setting goals and tracking user engagement metrics before/after launching autoplay is extremely important. Some things to see:

  • Bounce rate
  • Average viewing time
  • Video playback speed

If these metrics are trending negatively relative to the target, it’s a sign that autoplay is doing more harm than good.


Autoplaying video can be a powerful tool to help you attract visitors and boost SEO, but it comes with risks. 

It would help if you never forgot that prioritising user experience is above all else. Implement autoplay responsibly, or speak to us if you need help optimising this powerful tool.

Written By
I've worked in digital marketing for 10+ years and founded 3 agencies. I am the CEO of Lakewood media Limited and our digital marketing agency I also head, a support and maintenance company and, our premium design and development agency.I currently spend my time developing strategies for digital marketing, covering everything from SEO, PPC, lead generation, email marketing, analytics and conversion optimisation. My role is to ensure our agencies are at the forefront of the industry so we can provide the best solutions and remain agile.I also manage the daily operations at our parent company, where I enjoy the business side of running a group of agencies.
You will also like these