If you publish a website or blog you probably know of the Google Custom Search box – we have one at the top right of this page. Most website owners use it to provide a custom search of the contents of the current website only e.g. if you use our search box the results just include articles from Techlogon, not the whole web.
This is a simple way for readers to search for content within the site without having to browse through months of individual posts to find what they want.
Google have just changed Google Custom Search to display thumbnail images next to each result (where available) to improve the presentation and usability of search results – without any additional work needed by webmasters :-)
You can read the full story at Google’s blog here with details of automatic thumbnails (and how to disable them if you prefer). However, we think the tiny extra time required to find and display images within the results is more than offset by the advantage of brightening up what can otherwise be a boring looking page full of text.
Custom Search now crawls your website to find representative thumbnail images of each post and automatically adds them to your Custom Search results snippets. You can see an example below:
With no extra work needed by website owners, this seems a worthwhile improvement to help readers navigate through your site – if you don’t already provide a simple way for readers to search, it may be worth taking another look at Google’s offering.