Google has increased the number of images it is now showing in SERPs. New thumbnail images that run in line with search result snippets have recently been spotted by a number of SEO professionals and digital marketers.
According to SEO news writer Barry Schwartz, some people believe that Google is bringing back authorship images. The small thumbnail images of the article author that used to run in line with the snippet were previously removed as Google deemed them a distraction. While that’s one theory, others, such as Barry himself, suspect it may just be another image thumbnail test, which Google has been running on and off for a few years.
The image thumbnails are not showing on all search results pages, indicating that this is still only at test phase. Digital marketer Anthony Church (@WebMarketMagnet) shared a picture in which he had spotted the thumbnail images alongside the result snippets:
There are certainly benefits to be had from the thumbnail images, with content made more attractive to browsers. However, some industry experts worry that these pictures could slow down page loads.
As yet, it is unknown whether or not the thumbnail images are here to stay, but if they are, they are likely to have a dramatic effect on the way SERP snippets are used to drive click-through rates. We will keep you posted.