Google announced on March 19 the introduction of a new image search function that provides the ability to easily and quickly search for animated GIFs using an animated GIF filter. Prior to this change, finding GIFs has been an arduous task, and the response to the change has been overwhelmingly positive. With the new change of Google GIF search, select “animated” under “search tools” and choose GIF as the type. The change to Google’s image search includes the ability to narrow the search to transparent images as well. This enhancement is of benefit to those looking for the GIFs but may have an even larger impact to publishers who use GIFs with regard to their visibility.

How GIF Search will Impact SEO

The Google animated GIF filter will speed up the process of finding GIFs to embed, allowing publishers and bloggers to publish more quickly and therefore more frequently using GIFs. And because more people will be able to find GIFs easily, the number of searches for GIFs will increase, so having them on a site will net new visitors.

The direct impact of the search change on SEO is unknown, but because GIFs have been around since the 1800s and are one of the most popular formats for publishers, making them easier to find and use will increase the likelihood that more websites will feature GIFs. Animated GIFs are easy to make, quick to use, and don’t take up much space, so they load quickly. They add visible interest to blogs and websites, increase time spent on the site, and encourage increased pageviews.

Read the Google announcement here.