The Visual Evolution of Local Search Results is Upon Us

These SERPs, they are a-changin. If you’ve searched for a local business in the last year, you probably noticed search results aren’t what they used to be. Gone are the days where SERPs (search engine result pages) are primarily text-based. Nowadays, images are increasingly finding their way into local search results, completely changing the dynamic of the search experience. Now searchers have the potential to be motivated to click on your listing because of a visual trigger, not just text.

This transition has been happening for a reason. Google’s own data indicates the new generation of internet users are more inclined to use TikTok or Instagram to search for things locally. This is happening because social media provides a more “visually rich form of search discovery” than traditional text-based search. Google has seen this coming, which is why across all queries we have slowly seen more images and videos finding their ways into SERPs throughout the years. This is undoubtedly Google reacting to remain relevant to the next generation of consumers. In local search, we’re seeing Google SERPs becoming more visual in the following areas:


a screen shot of the search results page from google that shows apartment pictures in organic search results

Across localized SERPs, thumbnails now appear to the right of organic listings, giving a prospective customer the first visual representation of a brand. Google usually pulls a thumbnail from the top of the corresponding webpage for this feature.

These images give prospects more to consider where they decide to click on a result. Not only can the image have an impact on your local ranking, the quality of it can certainly increase the likelihood of a prospect clicking on your listing as well. Any business owner should ask themselves the following questions about their thumbnails appearing in search:

  • Is the thumbnail shown in my listing accurate?
  • Is the image the most appealing visual representation of the establishment?
  • Does the image make sense in context to the webpage?
  • Does the image use too much text (hard to read)?

Brand Logos

a screen shot of the search engine results page that shows brand logos

Not only are thumbnails appearing in local SERPs, but so are brand logos. These mostly appear at the bottom of the SERP or in the search box itself. Sometimes they show up in the related searches feature as well. Having a high-quality brand logo appear here is in essence a free banner ad impression a business would normally pay for, providing great exposure. Do you know how your business’s logo looks when pulled into Google SERPs?

a screen shot of the search engine results that shows alternate brand logos


While we’re not seeing a lot of video appear in local search results yet odds are it will happen sometime in the future. Videos have been appearing more and more on queries through the years with new SERP features appearing frequently. Studies show video rich results have some of the highest click through rates, giving them an undeniable power to drive traffic. The importance of video for a local business extends beyond just Google, however. Once the user is on your site they still desire that “visual rich form of discovery” and video certainly falls under that category. The right video can give a prospective customer a greater sense of your product and foster a strong connection to your brand

Invest in Quality Images

The time is now to invest in quality images of your local business and the products you sell. Stock photos aren’t going to get you anywhere in 2022 and beyond. In today’s age, your digital collateral sets the tone of how prospective customers perceive your brand in search and that is worthy of any business’s attention. The right images coupled with an effective organic and paid search strategy is the bread and butter of any digital acquisition effort. Investments into these areas reaps benefits across platforms like Google Business Profile, social media profiles, and your website. If time is money, as they say, stop wasting it, and upgrade your images.

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