RankRanger, a SEO toolset provider, reported that Google is showing image thumbnails in the mobile search results snippets with greater frequency. Eric Hedekar from Moz confirmed with us that he saw a spike in thumbnail images shown per search result page on March 7.

What are image thumbnails? Image thumbnails in the mobile search results snippets are when Google shows in the individual search result snippet an image to go along with the title, URL and text description of the page. Here is an example:

Google’s statement. When we asked Google about this change, a Google spokesperson told us “We’re always working on new ways to enhance Search with helpful visuals, and we encourage site owners to enrich their pages appropriately.”

Why it matters. Imagine you have a search result listing in the number two spot and your competitor is in the number three spot. Success, right? Nope. Your competitor has an image thumbnail in their search result listing and you don’t. The searcher’s eyes may skip over your number two listing and jump to your competitor because of the image.

What changed. RankRanger said average number of thumbnails per search result page jumped from 4 to 5. Here is a chart from them:

It also reported that the number of search results pages that have image thumbnails have jumped from about 40 to about 75 percent of these pages:

Eric from Moz said his data is a bit different but, did see an increase on March 7, but that didn’t last. Image thumbnails appear on 70 to 75 percent of results pages, he said.


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