If you’ve made a search using Google News you can’t fail to have noticed that Google often displays thumbnail images alongside some news stories. When a news story has been covered by multiple websites you’ll occasionally see more links below the main one, and then a link to see however many more websites offer the same story.
Now, the thumbnail isn’t always taken from the website that is offered as the main link. Sometimes the thumbnail is from a completely different website, and clicking on the image will take you to a different link than you would get by clicking on the main link.
The trick for publishers is to optimise their images properly to enhance their chances of being used within Google News – whether their news story is picked as the main link or not. So how can you do this?
Simple… if you follow these steps:
- Ensure that your image is at the top of the content, preferably before the first line of content, under the title
- Ensure that your image is small enough – Google doesn’t want to waste time resizing huge images (this is general practice for websites anyway)
- Ensure your image has a relevant file name and alt text
- Ensure you use relevant keywords in your opening paragraph, related to your image and the nature of the post
Of course, choosing an image that people might want to click on, or draws their attention when resized by Google so that the maximum dimension is 80 pixels, is also helpful. This post by us yesterday appeared in Google News with the following image, which was very successful for click-throughs!