1st July 2018 was one of the dates, all the marketers marked in their calendars as a day of anxiety. It was the day when the whole mobile-first index and website speed as a factor for your SERPs were to be effective. Since then, for some websites it took 3 months, some a little more – but as Google confirms about 50% of the websites are now mobile indexed. We prepared for changes some 3-4 months ago to ensure our clients’ business remains unaffected by this release. Server response time, CSS minification, custom themes, removal of unwanted codes, snippets, and image optimization were some of the primary changes we made during this period and even thereon. Then came another I/O with the prime focus on Images. Don’t we all just love Google!
More significant updates from this year’s Google I/O were about Images as a search tool. We believe it could change today’s paradigm of marketing priorities. PPC, for example, is done for both text, and image-based searches. The user can pick where to click and view the result of their choice.
Image search optimization is the new kid on the block.
The Testing Zone
There are specific queries where, on the right side of the organic search results, we don’t see sponsored ads. Instead, we have featured images and a link. Based on the alt-tags, the description near the image on the page, and the relevance to the search query – we get these results.
As an end-user, the image gives you far better visibility in equally less time. For the businesses whose paid ads we manage, the success ratio of Google Shopping (containing images) is a lot more than the text ads. Until a few months ago, there was no platform to utilize images as a factor to get landing-page traffic. There is Google image search, of course. But unless you are in the image selling business, that area was never a focus.
Details About the Updates on Images in the Google IO (May 2019):
- Google aims to bring relevance to the Google Image Search results
- Make sure that,
- You have a website with relevant images
- Place relevant content near the important images for which you would like to attract the traffic
- Ensure that these images are near the top of the page
- Do not embed an important image in CSS, use HTML so Google can index it properly
- Do not block these images by Robots.txt
- If you have an important message that you wish to convey, do not place it on the image, keep it near the image
- Must have responsive images, with proper URL structure
- High-Resolution Images
- Do not let the page speed affect your logic, your website needs some high-resolution retina images
- Google recommends using lazy loading with Intersection Observer
- In the near future, the Webmaster settings will allow businesses to opt-in to show their large images on various Google Products such as &, Google Discover, etc.
- Then add details of the image in the structure data and there you go, sample code for structure data below (source: Google IO May 2019)
- The most exciting of all is the one for Google Image results itself. Mobile image search users will be able to preview the webpage and go back to the image search seamlessly. Here are the essential requirements,
- You must have the page built in AMP HTML; it enables the instant view
Find out how it will work:
Google came up with localization and it affected the ecommerce businesses by giving the edge to local businesses over the large scale players. Or did it? Not really. Google recently also came up with a method to generate leads without needing a website. Google express enables businesses to sell without needing a website or even logistics.
However, image search optimization is not only essential for small businesses. Let’s say as a business you are doing exceptionally well due to your potent SERPs. Organic traffic takes care of more than 40-50% of the business. If the user moves from the web search to image search and starts finding your competitors, you will have a problem.
You might have wiped all the good images and replaced them with a dull lower resolution image. It might have worked for page speed optimization (though it is not the best method to do it!). Now, with this change, you have a damp lower resolution image and you are not going to fetch eye-balls.
Therefore, the headache is that many businesses must rethink their strategy.
For all those scenarios, it is a fresh start for all businesses. To adapt is the way to survive in the world of Technology. The crux of all of these new updates is that Google is pushing towards more relevancy, a better method to share your message to your potential customer, and of course – better end-user experience.
How the end-user responds to these changes, how we – the businesses respond to these, and what new comes out in the next IO or the WWID – is yet, “Unknown”. The fact that the black hat techniques might give you an edge for a while, but in the long run, we all must focus on relevancy. Image search, structured data, page speed, placement of the image & the content – they all focus on ease for the user.
Biztech Marketing Services is a growth focused full-scale digital marketing agency. We have a result-oriented strategic approach that works for our clients. Get in touch with us to get your site’s free audit.