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Yesterday, Google announced the release of a new feature in its search engine results pages (SERPs): the inclusion of more images that match the search inquiry. Google began offering images as part of the SERP a while back (along with video as well), but images were confined to just a few results and were displayed in a very simple fashion (usually 3 images in 1 of the zones on the SERP). The changes are two-fold:

  1. Larger thumbnails more closely integrated into the SERP.
  2. If Google believes that your inquiry has “high image intent” (read: you’re really looking for photos), then the search query results will show even more images.

At first glance, this may not seem like a big deal.  Photos are photos, right?  Well, Google knows that searchers respond to images and videos.  This is why they incorporated those two elements into the SERP a while back, and this is why I typically advise clients to incorporate as many images and videos into their content as is reasonable since it will help them better compete in the search engines.  So, it would stand to reason, that including more images in the SERP would give an advantage to those who have done a good job of properly tagging their image and video assets on their site (or within YouTube!).

To demonstrate the new feature, I performed a simple search on a favorite topic of mine:Appalachian State Football.  The image on the left shows the SERP without the “high image intent” (I didn’t include the word “photos”) in my search (the actual bar of images returned in the 8th position, just below the fold in this screenshot).  The image on the rightdoes include the high image intent.  Interesting to see the difference.

Not only is the page on the right a lot more colorful and engaging, I’m sure it will generate a lot of click activity. So again, it really emphasizes the importance of making sure your image and video assets are properly tagged on your site so they can be found in the search engines. Not sure what that means, shoot me an e-mail and let’s talk; I’ll be happy to work with you on this critical part of your Web site and digital marketing strategy.