People value representation and equity now more than ever before. In an announcement on May 11, Google stated it will start using a new image ranking signal and a brand-new schema to promote more racially inclusive and diverse image results.

The introduction of this new schema is the company’s next step toward better representation across its products and services. In collaboration with Harvard professor and sociologist Dr. Ellis Monk, Google came up with a new skin tone scale called Monk Skin Tone (MST), designed to include a wide spectrum of skin tones. The 10-shade skin tone scale will be integrated into various Google products, such as Images search and Google Photos, and will be available to use for research across the industry. But more importantly for advertisers, the company will use the scale to rank images for Images search results.

Business owners and publishers are encouraged to start labeling their image content with this new schema and include various attributes, such as skin tone, hair texture and hair color. This will let Google read the images better and understand details with them and use these as a ranking signal for image search results.

This push for image equity started in October 2021, when Google announced it had improved its algorithms to surface more racially diverse results in Image searches and eliminate racial and colorist biases from the search engine.

Google told Bloomberg, “We’ve started to roll out an improvement to Google Images to promote greater skin-tone diversity so more people can find relevant and helpful results.” 

Now, with the MST scale, this initiative will gain more traction and spread more across Google products. If you’re a business owner or advertiser publishing diverse image content, applying this schema allows Google to better understand the attributes and details in your images, making it easier for searchers to find you on the search engine results pages (SERPs).

More SEO News You Can Use

Purely Virtual Food Businesses Can Now Have Google Business Profiles: Google recently updated its guidelines to allow purely virtual and deliver-only food brands to have Google Business profiles and appear in local listings. But it comes with a few conditions. Delivery-only brands (or those with purely virtual business presence) are permitted if they have a distinct website and distinctly branded packaging. They should also add their service locations to their business profiles and hide their address to avoid confusing customers. If a food brand authorizes a virtual kitchen as a verified provider of the food products, the virtual kitchen may manage the business profile once authenticated. This guidelines update means more food brands can claim a listing and appear on Google Maps and local search results.

LinkedIn Updates Its Algorithm To Show More Relevant Content in Users’ Feeds: LinkedIn is making moves to improve users’ feeds by prioritizing posts that add value and demoting comments and other content that users will not find relevant. This new algorithm update is also projected to drive authentic engagement and productive conversations that comply with community guidelines. There will be fewer alerts, irrelevant updates (i.e., someone’s comment on a post of a member you’re not in a network with), polls from people you’re not connected to, spammy, clickbait posts and politically oriented posts (depending on your preference.) If you’ve been using LinkedIn as part of your marketing and recruiting efforts and pushing out “growth hacks” to drive interactions, you might want to reconsider your approach. You will now have to focus on creating high-quality content that encourages genuine engagement and is tailored to your market’s interests.

Google’s Responsive Display Ads To Start Using Portrait Images and Videos: Google has been using Responsive Display Ads (RDAs) as a popular ad type since 2018, and now it’s expanding to vertical images and videos. Previous requirements allowed landscape and square images only, leaving machine learning to adapt the ads for mobile display. This new adoption will get rid of unattractive white space and offer a more seamless mobile experience. It’s good news for advertisers with rigid branding standards and wanting more control over the appearance of their ads on mobile devices. RDAs are said to provide advertisers with two times more conversations on average, so the additional support would enable them to deliver more tailored messaging depending on the device and continue to drive up conversions.

Google Offers Best Practices for Controlling Title Links in the Search Results: Google’s new title tag documentation offers tips and best practices for controlling how your title tags appear in the search results. The blog is crucial in guiding SEOs and content publishers to write quality title tags to align with Google’s conditions and avoid being revised or rewritten. In addition to providing title tag writing best practices, the blog also outlines a checklist of issues that you can check that may have caused Google to rewrite your title link. You want your title links to accurately represent the content they’re leading to, and this guide offers everything you need to know to ensure your title links are optimized and match your content’s core messaging.

Google Multisearch Gets More Advanced With Near Me Support: We covered Google multisearch a while back, and it’s interesting to see Google quickly expanding this search feature to include Near Me support. In case you missed it, Google multisearch allows users to search by image and text at the same time and is a new way for brands to get found on the SERPs. And now, it will support Near Me types of queries and let searchers find local businesses in Maps and Search and get local results. Though the Near Me feature will not be rolled out until later this year, multisearch is now available as a beta feature for U.S.-based English queries. 

 Editor’s Note: “SEO News You Can Use” is a weekly blog post posted every Monday morning only on, rounding up all the top SEO news from around the world. Our goal is to make a one-stop-shop for everyone looking for SEO news, education and for hiring an SEO expert with our comprehensive SEO agency directory.