Google is always working on something and they are especially good at testing new features or changes very subtly. Speaking of which, have a look at the top stories carousel on Google Search. Notice anything different?
Google has been playing around with the positioning of thumbnail images on the top news carousel in Google Search. Actually, by moving around the image placement, I guess you could say that Google is trying out new thumbnail layouts for the carousel.
Search Engine Roundtable’s Barry Schwartz wrote about this and how he too noticed the placement of images was shifted around. Some thumbnail images were positioned more towards the top and some were positioned more towards the bottom, shifting the layout of carousel’s top stories.
Lots of users on Twitter were noticing the thumbnail tests. SEO and ASO specialist Kevin Monier tweeted about the differences in thumbnail placements and image positioning.
— Kevin Monier (@Kevin_Monier) September 20, 2022
Generally, this has people curious about the switch-up and what Google is trying to accomplish by moving around the templates. Usually, the thumbnail images are at the top of the carousel and then the title and description are listed below. Maybe this is leading up to ANOTHER Google update for the top new carousel.
Google Top Stories Carousel
The top stories carousel has been around for a while, Google Search added it in 2016. In a nutshell, the top stories carousel is where you can find a collection of relevant news articles based on current events. The carousel is designed to present news that comes from reliable sources and provides unique perspectives to users.
Click through rate
Testing the layout for thumbnail images has been speculated to be a change aimed at increasing the click-through rate on the carousel. By changing the layout of the carousel there could be more potential for users to click on news articles.
Or, is it possible that this may have something to do with Google’s recent helpful content update? So far, there hasn’t been any commentary made by Google about the top new carousel but many will be keeping their eyes peeled for more testing.