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Google: Increase Discover Traffic with Max Image Preview Tag

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Google published a new case study showing how using the Max Image Preview directive can increase clicks to as high as 333%. The directive is a meta tag that’s easy to add to a site.

Google Discover and Large Images

Google Discover is a way to show articles to users who have shown an interest in a specific topic. For example, users who search for articles about used car reviews might see recommendations for articles about buying used cars.

Discover is an alternate source of traffic that can help attract visitors who are interested in the topic of a publishers website.

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So instead of ranking for search queries, a publisher needs to make their pages attractive within the Google Discover format.

How Max Image Preview Builds Google Discover Traffic

Google recommends using a meta tag called Max Image Preview in order to maximize click through rates when Google shows a site in Google discover.

The Max Image Preview meta tag tells Google what size image to show in the preview when a publishers web page is shown in Discover.

This meta tag is a directive, which means that Google is obligated to follow the instructions contained in the meta tag.

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Google recommends setting the meta tag to tell Google to show the largest image on the page. Large images, when shown in Google Discover, helps the page stand out and results in more traffic.

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Related: 11 Important Image SEO Tips You Need to Know

Max Image Preview Settings

This is what the Max Image Preview meta tag looks like:

<meta name="robots" content="max-image-preview:large">

The part that’s labeled “robots” means that the meta tag is meant for software called “robots” that crawl the web looking for web pages. Robots are also known as crawlers and spiders (because they crawl the web).

The part that’s labeled “content” is the setting that tells Google what size image to show.

There are three settings: None, standard and large.

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Google interprets each setting like this:

  • “none: No image preview is to be shown.
  • standard: A default image preview may be shown.
  • large: A larger image preview, up to the width of the viewport, may be shown.”

Large is the setting that Google recommends publishers use if they want Google to send the maximum amount of traffic.

Absence of the meta tag causes Google to use the default image preview.

Case Studies Illustrate Usefulness of Max Image Preview Tag

Google published two case studies illustrating how a simple meta tag could result in dramatic increases in traffic.

The first case study was of a food blog that was able to increase their click through rate from Discover by 79%.

The second case study was of a Brazilian magazine. After implementing the meta tag their click through rate increased by 30% and their clicks increased by 333% over a period of six months.

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The case study quoted the magazine publisher:

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“The adoption of the meta tag with large image preview settings brought a meaningful increase in clicks and CTR for us. Initiatives like this one make a huge difference in the work that we, publishers, invest in day-to-day life.”

Related: Google Discover: 10 Characteristics of Top-Performing Content [Study]

Too Good to Ignore

This tip for increasing clicks from Google discover by using a meta tag is too easy to pass up for sites that have articles that may be eligible to be shown in Google discover.

Implementing the meta tag is easy and the rewards are potentially high.

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Citations

Google Case Study About Increasing Traffic with Max Image Preview Directive
Large Images in Discover Improve CTR and Increase Visits to Publisher Sites

Google Developers Page Documentation of Max Image Preview Directive

Google Search Central Explainer About Discover Explainer
Get on Discover

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NEWS

Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

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But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

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One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

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