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Google “Sponsored Images” in Search Results = SEO Opportunity

Not new, but definitely more prevalent... sponsored results have begun to show up more frequently in image search results pages. [caption id="attachment_5832" align="alignright" width="214" caption="Google Image SERP"] [1][/caption] As SEO practitioners, we've highlighted the importance of image optimization for our clients, Google's insertion of revenue opportunities (for them) into the image search results, further underscores our belief that more users are looking to image search as a source for relevant results. Interesting to note, that stock photo vendors have mentioned that image searches lead to a much lower conversion than 'web search' primarily due to image search as being a resource for 'free' (read illegal) use of assets. Although that may be true to some degree, as relevance / selection has improved, more users are turning to image search as providing more of what they're looking for - my search for a nice feng shui layout a case in point. So is more frequent sponsored image results of major importance to online marketing? No. But it does stress the importance Google (and Bing) places on image search, and a further reason to plan for image optimization as part of your SEO strategy.