Just when you thought authorship images were dead and never to be resurrected, they’re back. Albeit under a different guise and for a completely different purpose.
Google search results for products are now displaying images next to website links on mobile*, making it simple for users to see what they’re buying before they click your link. Perfect for those who have good eCommerce photography, not so perfect for those who don’t.
*Images are also being displayed on desktop search, but are placed next to most results on mobile.
Google Mobile Product Image Display
As you can see from the screenshots below (aside from our alcohol habits and lack of battery), each search result has an image taken from the page displayed next to the metadata.
Search: Wine Glasses
Search: Champagne Flutes
Search: Gin Glasses
This will give eCommerce businesses with better images a defining edge over their competition. Though we don’t have the data, we can only that this will lead to a far higher click-through-rate. This is particularly important on mobile, where users are hesitant to open up tabs due to data consumption.
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How to Get Product Images Displayed in Google Search Results
As with most things SEO nowadays, this is going to require Rich Snippets, and Google themselves even state that applying image markup is ‘recommended’ practise.
So how can you do it?
Well, this will depend upon whether you are using Microdata, RDFa or JSON-LD. Thankfully each of these present fairly simply methods, displayed below:
<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Product">
<span itemprop="name">Executive Anvil</span>
<img itemprop="image" src="anvil_executive.jpg" alt="Executive Anvil logo" />
<div vocab="http://schema.org/" typeof="Product">
<span property="name">Executive Anvil</span>
<img propertyu="image" src="anvil_executive.jpg" alt="Executive Anvil logo" />
"name": "Executive Anvil",
It seems that this is being trialled at the moment, so we can only speculate about what this actually means for eCommerce businesses. One thing we can say for sure is that the top results all have employed Schema.org markup to their product images. As such, this could have a big implication in terms of mobile SEO for your eCommerce company, and with the markup relatively simple to apply, there’s really no excuse.
With Amazon absolutely dominating the product search market, we can look at this as one step that Google is taking in order to knock them from their throne. Whether they manage to achieve this remains to be seen.