Marketing 2 min read

Google Tests Thumbnail Images in Search Results

Jeramey Lende /

Jeramey Lende /

For a while now, Google has been using thumbnail images on Google News and Discover. The photos appear as a square-cropped version of the featured images that are in the news article.

The format works for Google News, mainly because it provides more information about the news results. Moreover, thumbnail images may be the primary distinguishing feature of the Google News search result.

Now, Google is considering bringing the same implementation to the search result page. The search and advertising giant is currently testing thumbnail images in the search engine result page (SERP).

Thumbnail Images in SERP

The search engine result page will now display thumbnail images on the right-hand side of each result. As in Google News, the new thumbnails are also square-cropped versions of the featured images.

With that said, not all websites in the SERP will get a thumbnail image. The reason for possible omissions is currently unclear.

However, Search Engine Journal points out that websites that didn’t get a thumbnail didn’t declare the image in the structured data. The featured image is also absent in an Open Graph Protocol meta tag.

Sites on the SERP with thumbnails appear to have declared either the Structured Data format or the Open Graph Protocol meta tag.

Thumbnail in Google Suggest Dropdown

Aside from the SERP, Google is also testing images in Google Suggest dropdown.

For unknown reasons, the thumbnails in Google Suggest dropdown only appear for entities. That means you’re unlikely to see an image for conceptual keywords.

Again, Google is only testing the feature. It’s too early to know whether thumbnail images would become a permanent fixture on the SERP.

You may want to check if your site has implemented the Open Graph Protocol and JSON-LD Structured Data. Whether or not these are required for inclusion, it’s still a good practice to have them.

Read More: Spam Reports are not for Manual Actions, Says Google

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