By Dayne Shuda
There have been two major changes happening in Google search engine results pages (SERPs) ongoing for quite awhile: images and video. These changes will continue to evolve while not only searching on PCs, but mobile devices such as your iPhone or iPad.
Google is moving beyond text and providing people with imagery and video. The shift is not necessarily new, but in the last few months, changes had been having a drastic impact on rankings. This is something that all SEOs must take into consideration.
Recently, images and videos in the search results have been overtaking the entire search results pages. It no long pays to just be on page one of the results. You need to be in the top-3 and even then you’re going to struggle to get results.
Here are a few of the details…
Images in Googles Search Results
Images and other data in the results are not brand new. Google first released Universal Search back in 2007. The idea was spawned many years before that, and since 2007, there have been ongoing changes to the results pages.
Recently, images have been becoming more evident at the top of the results pages. In the past Google’s results pages have looked like this (and many still do)
That’s a pretty standard Google SERP. There are the typical blue links (title tags) with descriptions in black (sometimes meta descriptions) and the URL of each page in green.
Text results are pretty basic. About four or five results show up on the first page of the results and any of those has a chance to get a good amount of traffic for any given term.
These days, however, images are taking over a few of the results for certain keywords. Look what happens when the keyword phrase gets a little more detailed:
Look at this result. There are images everywhere. Google is showing images in the results pages and they’re doing it more and more. There are images in the organic results, news results, and even the paid results.
These changes have also had a drastic impact on click through rates. It’s becoming important to have images as part of the content on your page. Today, you need to have amazing content on your page as well as great imagery. Google and other search engines are putting emphasis on great imagery. People are responding by clicking these images in the results and doing it a greater rate than regular text results.
Images are becoming important for search traffic. Start creating great imagery and graphics to go along with amazing and interesting photography and you’ll be a step ahead of the competition.
Video in Googles Search Results
Beyond images and photographs there is another, even more intriguing aspect of Google’s new direction: video.
This change has obviously been on the minds of Googlers since Google purchased YouTube in 2006, but videos in SERPs have recently taken off. It’s always been a priority of Google to promote their own properties (as can be seen with Google Plus), and now that most folks are getting caught up with fast Internet connections, Google is able to provide more video in results.
Check out this result page:
The entire top half of this SERP has videos. Most are from YouTube, but Google has been working in videos from others sites recently. You can see the Discovery video there at position #4.
Google now realizes there has been a shift in interest among their searches. People are looking for more than a simple blog post or story about huge surfing waves. People are looking for videos and images of people riding huge surfing waves.
This trend will continue, and is going mobile as well. People will continue to expect videos in their search results. Google is going to give it to them. Right now, those results are dominated by YouTube videos, but as more websites start adding unique video to their own websites those websites will benefit from search engine traffic.
Your website should be one of the sites that takes advantage of video in the search results. Google wants to reward great video content. People that are searching are demanding video and Google is going to give it to them.
These are big changes. Google is powerful. Google can send your website tons of great visitors. These visitors represent your readers, product users, consumers, and ultimately money. The way to keep these visitors interested is by creating more than just great written content.
Visitors want graphics, images, and videos. Google is adding these things to their results. Your business should be paying attention.
Here are the key takeaways for your business:
- Create unique, interesting graphics
- Shoot amazing, original photographs
- Produce intriguing videos that you'd be proud to share
What are your thoughts on images, graphics, and videos? What has your company or website done to take advantage of these changes?