There’s an interesting paradigm shift underway within the search results in Google.
On June 25th, Google removed authorship profile pictures from the search results.
And no one was exempt!
From the New York Times all the way down the local plumber, anyone who had a profile picture appearing with their website in the search results, suddenly looked like everyone else with nothing but a link and text.
Brands of all sizes and locations relied on this profile picture in order to brand their business and stand out from their competitors.
Google claimed that profile pictures did not impact click thru rates, but this was simply not true and many site owners have the data to prove it.
But nonetheless, the decision was made and Google authorship is gone.
Because of this, I believe, the digital media bar has now been raised across the board – from the small local business to the large media and corporate brand.
Now, in order to stand out definitively in Google, you need a deeper understanding of digital media and how to leverage technology such as Schema language.
Schema is a code protocol that was adopted by all major search engines in 2011 for the purpose of presenting rich media in the search results.
Rich media includes things like images, location data, news, and supplemental links to webpages.
For business owners both large and small, the most important Schema tag is the one for video.
Video Schema tags allow you to not only stand out definitively in the search results, but you have the ability to completely customize the presence of your video thumbnail image.
The most profound use of Schema video tags can found on Youtube.
For every Youtube video, there’s a thumbnail image that’s used as the ‘featured image’ for that video.
And this ‘featured image’ is the thumbnail image that will appear in the search results of Google.
The great news is that the same Schema integration used on Youtube can also be used on any website.
This means you now have the ability to integrate rich media and video Schema directly into your web pages.
And the implications for businesses large and small is dramatic.
The opportunity currently, is that very few businesses understand Schema language and how to integrate it into their webpages.
If you Google a phrase such as ‘personal injury attorney chicago‘, the front page used to be full of attorney’s leveraging Google authorship.
But now everyone looks exactly the same with nothing but a link and text.
Even the local search results are nothing but a link and text, with the exception of the small map icon.
This points to a huge opportunity for businesses large and small!
And that’s why digital media, and the understanding of Schema, can enhance your Google search results and give your business a strong branded presence to people who are searching for your products and services.
Media companies are also starting to catch on to the value of video Schema tags.
Do a search for “Brad Pitt” and you’ll see a wide array of Schema at work.
You’ll see news elements at the top, in-depth articles at the bottom – but notice around the middle of the page the search results from Biography.com.
In the search results, this web page has a video thumbnail image showing an up close image of Brad Pitt’s face.
Even better, the results show his eyes looking straight at you.
Which is on purpose because eyes always catch people’s attention.
And when it comes to search results, attention is critical because it increases awareness and click thru rates.
So the folks at Biography.com understand the value of video Schema and how its value is translated in the search results.
From small business owners, to large corporations, digital media is changing the way we approach search optimization.
In the case of Brad Pitt’s search results, I hardly even noticed the sites with only a link and text.
There’s just too much “rich media” that’s grabbing my attention.
And this attention is digital media gold!