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Getting images next to our search results

As previewed some time back, images are appearing with greater frequency in standard organic Google search results, including now on desktop. We all need to take advantage of this. But Google is not going to take a chance that the images it shows are incorrect, so if it’s not sure, we’re going to miss out on this free opportunity.

Take a look at this, for example:

Donut Loadcell SERPS

See how one of the results doesn’t have an image next to it? Why would this be?

It turns out that the page has a bunch of images, but it’s not clear which one is most appropriate. In fact, Google may actually have worked out – correctly – that none are appropriate.

So more than ever, if there’s a primary image on a page which illustrates exactly what the page is about, we need to label it as such. And we do this using all the traditional ways of marking up images: placing them close to the headline; describing them in captions, titles and ‘alt text’; and including keywords in filenames. We don’t need all of these (even one might be enough) but we do need something.

Also, ensure the image isn’t too artistic. Google will be using AI to learn what the image should look like, and if it doesn’t, our image probably won’t get the benefit of the doubt.

When we come across these thumbnail images in Google search results, I’d suggest taking a moment to compare the pages linked to from the results that do have them, to the ones that don’t. There may be lessons to be learned.