Google Images and the Osama Bin Laden News
When big news breaks, people flock to the search engines, and the search engines work hard to deliver timely search results and useful updates. Forward-thinking SEOs tend to take advantage of these really big news events by monitoring the search results closely, with the goal of getting a glimpse into the search algorithms. We don’t get to pick these opportunities; they just happen. And so last night, while most people were watching or surfing the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death, I chose to monitor Google Image results for the search phrase “osama bin laden dead.”
Of course, Google’s search results are personalized, so your results may differ from mine. As I suspected he would, Danny Sullivan monitored Google Suggest, and announced that it took approximately 2 hours for Google to start suggesting search phrases related to the news of the evening. Here’s what I saw at 8:54pm, approximately 20 minutes after Obama’s speech:
And here’s what the Google suggest box looks like now:
After searching for “osama bin laden dead,” one of these suggested search phrases, I was struck by the image results, which were fanciful/fictional representations of this topic, and were clearly not posted in conjunction with the evening’s big news. Here’s a rundown of what I observed.
9:11pm – No top image results are tied to current news stories:
9:29pm – 2nd page of Google image results shows some recent images. These are time-stamped by Google. (I took the liberty of censoring the profanity on the final image on the first page of results.)
9:40pm – I noted that an image from the site talkingpointsmemo.com was taking the lead, on the low first page of Google image results.
Today, it appears that a page on Digital Trends has the highest-ranking recent image related to this search, but it has not out-ranked the top images that were in place previously. I am seeing it intermittently on the first page of Universal search results, but consistently in the first page of the Google images vertical search results.
I’m no longer seeing the image from talkingpointsmemo.com on the first 5 pages of image results.
I look forward to keeping an eye on Google image results to see how this develops.