Google's started showing Publisher thumbnails next to search results, and major brands are the primary beneficiaries now.

Some users have noticed that mobile search results look different, as Google now is including tiny company thumbnails next to select results. We’ve started to see the same kinds of Publisher (not Authorship) images in desktop results pages. Google hasn’t made any official announcement about this update, and it’s not yet available for every website, but initial observations suggest they’re going to well-established companies with recognizable logos and publishers in Google News.

Brand logos in mobile SERPs

Mobile users have started to see brand logo, images and website URLs underneath organic results. Which sites are getting these and why? We’re not sure yet, but sample queries like the one below show that companies getting these visual cues are established brand names.

mobile brooklyn exterminators SERP

Companies that have these should rejoice, and brands that don’t have them yet should investigate further to see how they’re attained because the mobile experiences is more important than ever. Brafton reported that 73 percent of consumers use a mobile device to search for a product, service or company they want to know more about. 

Publisher information shows up in desktop results

It turns out these snippets have their origins in a year-old Google feature – summary snippets. Some desktop searches bring up results with small gray clickable company names after headlines. When you click the icon, you see a summary of the company from Wikipedia.

yelp blog SERP

It’s important to consider the whole picture when looking at these changes. Last year, Google said there would be no such thing as brand Publishership, so marketers focused on Authorship. Then it recently pulled the plug on Authorship images, taking away some of the prime engagement benefits of optimizing for authors.

Google maintains that it’s concerned about overcrowded results pages, and also wants to unify mobile and desktop search experiences. Although this development looks to do the opposite – differentiating mobile and desktop views. Nonetheless, having pictures back in SERP is a positive change. A branded company image can go a long way toward establishing credibility, boosting awareness and generating clicks.

Have you seen similar results in SERPs, mobile or desktop? Please share your observations in the comments section.

Alex Butzbach is a Marketing Writer at Brafton. He studied Communications at Boston College, and after a brief stint teaching English in Japan, he entered the world of content marketing. When he isn't writing and researching, he can be found on a bike somewhere in Metro Boston.