After various recent sightings, Google has now officially announced that they have added thumbnail images to search listings on mobile.
This is now working for many product-related searches, for example, I searched for ‘Office chairs’ and ‘Chemistry glass’ and these thumbnails appeared:
For the results I tested, Google generally seemed to be taking the first thumbnail from websites:
However, when searching for ‘desk lamps’ a solitary novelty duck lamp stands out on a page of similar desk lamps:
Looking at the page where Google has taken the image from, you can see that the other two images are slightly cluttered when compared to the duck lamp indicating that Google prefers clearer imagery.
As for size, well there there doesn’t seem to be any set sizes for the thumbnail, as I’ve seen a few variations returned. For example, “Samsung Galaxy 7 Edge” the largest thumbnail was 172 x 104 and the smallest was 104 x 104:
What are the benefits of thumbnail images in Google Search?
It’s early days, so we’re unable to measure the impact that these thumbnail images will have, however their addition will almost definitely improve click through rates from search. Especially if your competitors aren’t having images pulled through.
What you need to do?
If you have an ecommerce website, then you should check your key phrases in Google’s mobile results to check if images are being displayed for your site. If you think the image needs to be changed, then make the necessary changes and check to see if Google updates it. I’ve yet to see any official guidelines or best practice for webmasters but I’ll continue to look out for any updates and will be sure to share them with you.