What's Up With Google Image Search?

Jan 5, 2011 • 8:42 am | comments (6) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

A WebmasterWorld thread has complaints from one Google Image Search expert who has always had success with ranking his images in Google's index. That is, until October. Then non of his images were ranking well.

To me, it sounds like an adult (safeSearch) filter. But I am sure he looked into that.

He said:

As many of you know I lost tens of thousands of images from Google at the beginning of October yet their actual pages retained their #1 SERPs rankings.

On Dec 8th 2010 I created a new Coppermine Gallery on one keyword domain name site, ALL of these pages have been spidered and in the regular SERPs, not one image from that site is in the image site: operator results, not even the company logo.gif.

I love Tedster's response. In short, Tedster said as a searcher, he loves the changes to Google Image search's index. Let me quote Tedster:

As an end user I noticed many changes this past year, and much for the better. I commonly use image search for inspiration - visual ideas for how to depict various concepts. this year, the results have become dramatically more useful to me, with irrelevant images much less common.

What I think may be happening is this. Even more than with the text search algo, Image Search crawling and indexing cares almost nothing for the webmaster. It's now almost totally focused on the end user. The fact that the site: operator is set up at all is almost an anomaly.

Do you agree? If so, what should an SEO do?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

Previous story: Google SEO Checklist For 2011



01/05/2011 04:08 pm

Could it be the long awaited attempt to deal with the delluges of Google Images spam? Judging from the amount of my images that have been stolen that are still in GI tells me they haven't done too good a job...


01/05/2011 09:52 pm

Personally I don't' enjoy the Google Image search changes. I too used - and use - the image search for inspiration (and of course many other things) but the way that they are organized seems to produce a multiplicity of similar images ad nauseum. This induces a re-search and refinement, but somehow you never get the same variety and variation you had before, even with re-searches. There is less "depth" to the search. Plus, stock photos and photo services really seem to stuff themselves into some findings like never before.

David Iwanow

01/05/2011 11:57 pm

Based on benefits for actual websites i'm gaining strong preference for Bing image traffic as when you click on an image result you now get both the image but also it loads your full website in the results window shown in the example link below. It means the visitor might actually visit and interact with your website not just steal your images. http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=pizza&view=detail

FX Siteworks

01/06/2011 07:32 am

Tedsters comments seem like a common sense view of this issue. Google's search remit is to cater to the needs and wants of the searcher, not the indexing party. Changes to algorhythms will be geared in this direction. The 'complainant' may want to check out the new domain history also, as it could be the case that google have penalised it in the past. Failing that, selective testing on a few different domains with a gradual release of the image bank may highlight new trends pertaining to how google is viewing the content.


01/10/2011 06:24 am

I really find the new Google Image Search a bit pain. They should just put back the old look. ReputationManagementConsultants.com

Martin Missfeldt

01/10/2011 06:02 pm

Perhaps a robots.txt problem. I asked him if he checked his logfiles for crawler-activity but my answer was deleted (don't know why).

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