Google Image results have been updated, making visual content key to SEO.

Google has announced that it is updating its Image results, bringing more visual elements to standard SERPs. Marketers might take this as their cue to offer more search optimized visual content on their sites if they hope to be visible on Page One search results.

The search giant explains that it is implementing images onto general search results pages. This feature expands on the company's earlier update to its separate Image search offering, which enables consumers to see more results per page and get a glimpse of images in the context of the sites publishing them. The newest update places image results atop standard SERPs and allows users to hover over pictures for expanded views and URLS.

Google says that for searches where the company “[detects] that your query has 'high image intent' (meaning, we're pretty sure you're looking for images),” it will display a larger ratio of image to text results. In fact, searches that include the word “photos” or “pictures” seem to produce predominantly image results, pushing other organic results below the fold.

Marketers might take this as their cue to start offering search-optimized images to increase their visibility and CTRs from Google search. Local marketers in particular might find that images help them draw Google traffic. As Brafton has reported, 60 percent of consumers give more consideration to search results for nearby businesses that offer images.

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.