Webmasters Notice Decline In Google Image Search Traffic After Design Update

Jan 29, 2013 • 9:06 am | comments (141) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine

Google ImagesLast week, Google updated their image search design citing this is better for webmasters. Webmasters were not convinced, they didn't like that searchers can get the high resolution image directly on Google's web page and not be required to click through to the source of the image to see that high resolution image.

Discussion threads at WebmasterWorld and DigitalPoint Forums both have webmasters citing they have noticed a significant decrease in traffic from Google Images since the design update.

One webmaster said:

There is minimal traffic from image search on 4 websites i am tracking. The traffic remained is the actual search traffic, nothing from images.

When people get the full resolution image, they have no reason to click to go to the URL.

Others shared some stats over the years showing the decline in traffic over the years from Google Image Search.

One webmaster is asking others to join in and block Google from indexing and ranking their images. Martin from WebmasterWorld, a big time image search guy said:

I think we shouldn't block Googlebot now. First we have to fight and discuss.

Should 'we' fight back? Would it make a difference? Would blocking GoogleBot from your images matter to Google?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld and DigitalPoint Forums.

Previous story: Does Building Too Many Links Too Fast Hurt You In Google?


Brandon Fritz

01/29/2013 02:18 pm

Google: all your images are belong to us.

Trevor Cherewka

01/29/2013 02:28 pm

I have to say that i LOVE the new Google images search feature.


01/29/2013 03:08 pm

Sure the European Commission will be interested in this later change having previously invesigated them.

Jerry Nordstrom

01/29/2013 04:39 pm

B, B B B But we gave you free webmasters tools....don't we get to monetize all your images and site content for free now?

Max Minzer

01/29/2013 04:49 pm

Same here @facebook-827755245:disqus As a user I personally love this new design.


01/29/2013 06:18 pm

I liked it better in Bing.


01/29/2013 06:36 pm

some one from usa drag google to court.

Michael Martinez

01/29/2013 06:53 pm

I think the time has come to just block Google Image Search. That's a shame because it used to send a lot of traffic to Websites.


01/29/2013 07:15 pm

I have blocked their bot from indexing my images. That is too far. It is not a cooperation anymore, but a master-slave kind of situation. By the way. Google is also breaking the copyright law by reproducing stolen images through Page Speed.


01/29/2013 07:41 pm

Yes you love but remember that if there aren't publishers you will not have what to search for. The problem is that someone to continue publish thy shuld have some financial backup.

Max Minzer

01/29/2013 07:53 pm

The way I think about it from publisher perspective: if you have images that are relevant and worth checking (not images that were copied from elsewhere) - you will get the desired and relevant traffic. It will be quality traffic, not "StumbleUpon traffic" of people who are just checking things for fun with absolutely no intentions... I'd rather get 1 visitor who's interested in what I have to say than 100 random visitors or worse - people who want to copy my images. If your analytics and reporting to client comes down to showing just traffic numbers with no conversion optimization - I'd be sorry for your client.


01/29/2013 07:58 pm

There is too much empty talk going on forums like Webmaster World. People are saying they will do this or that, but never go the whole way. I see people talking about lawsuit, blocking Google, some kind of massive protests etc. Why is this different to Panda and Penguin update? And I never heard them talking about blocking Google due to Panda or Penguin...It's weird behavior.


01/29/2013 10:04 pm

"The way I think about it from publisher perspective: if you have images that are relevant and worth checking (not images that were copied from elsewhere) - you will get the desired and relevant traffic." This is very big assumption and, in my anecdotal experience, is not true at all. So much depends on your distribution strategy. For images, one of the biggest distribution strategies is promoting via Google Images, which leaves you at the mercy of Google's algorithm and now UI.


01/29/2013 10:42 pm

I think you don't understand the things.. 1. There aren't random visitors, all the visitors searched and found relevant image and thy are interested about that image. 2. What if you have funny images? Thy aren't worthy? Btw keyword positions aren't changed, don't forget it. 3. google and stumbleupon are 2 different things don't mix it. We will see if someone will be happy from this (I mean from the publishers perspective)... time will show.

Lisa Arneill

01/29/2013 10:44 pm

When a user googles an image they are given 3 options; the first sends them right onto our site, the second gives them the image on a black screen, which is hosted by us but is just the file so none of our site(or ads) is displayed, and the third links the user back into the google search engine and shows them other websites with the same image. So web owners have a 33% chance of having someone visit their site in its full context. We have already seen a 30% drop in our numbers over the last couple days. This change is not good for publishers.

Max Minzer

01/29/2013 11:24 pm

Azza, 1. *There aren't random visitors* - if that's true, you might as well just go and buy traffic from one of those sites that sell these "traffic packages." Quality of traffic matters. 2. Doesn't really matter if it's a funny image or any other image. It's about value and relevance. 3. I understand that. Talking about quality of traffic here. I meant - I wouldn't want that quality of traffic to my site. If it's accidental or extra traffic (where I'm not working hard to get it) - why not. But if all traffic is like that - it's not a good thing. CleveP, SEO = relevance & value. Distribution is most effective when the source (images in this case) is optimized. You were always at the mercy of Google's algo. Did G Images improve over the last 5 years? I think so. Do I see some possible problems with this G Images "distribution" from publisher's perspective? Yes. But I also see how the quality of my visitor base might improve on the site. Time will tell.

Movie Carpet

01/29/2013 11:39 pm

Right... 30% traffic down

Movie Carpet

01/29/2013 11:41 pm

Google need to remember that they make empire on our content..and now they block us


01/30/2013 12:58 am

As a searcher, I agree. I do a lot of image searches and this makes it easier for me to get to my end goal: seeing the image I want to see. But this sucks bigtime for publishers.


01/30/2013 01:55 am

The solution to this problem is simple. Block Google from taking your images. If you can't monetize your images, or at least get traffic from sharing them with Google, there is no sense giving it to them. Google's monetization of webmasters continues in earnest now that the FTC rolled over and died...

Praveen Sharma

01/30/2013 03:48 am

For many webmasters, image search traffic has gone down to half what it was earlier. This is not what Google is made for. Google should only provide relevant information to the user, it should not become source for it by chopping someone's hard work. Doesn't Google is taking the credit away from the publishers (websites to which image belongs) who works hard to get their images indexed and ranked? This is not done GOOGLE.


01/30/2013 04:17 am

Hi all, the situation is enough critical, my traffic decreased of 50 % , all money and energies i invested... really is too much... I think as many will close the site... I paid persons and also invested much energies... I dont recognize google image of respect and also their sense of equality. Why persons has to give for granted all the work? This Google is a big step to get worst all.. All webmaster will not have sense to put images, and this is not a good feedback all world of internet will receive.... Google we ask all to you, do a step back, and return all as was... Do as correct has to be... REmove this uncorrect change... we all site webmaster ask togheter. I cannot believe you want to destroy the quality of all community webasters created... thanks


01/30/2013 05:07 am

Why Google would want to have a negative impact on your site's traffic? As Google notes, there will be now more clickable targets to get to your pages. Why people are saying the traffic is x% down? Why don't they see that the grass is always greener on the other side...they will now receive more focused traffic who are actually interested in your offerings. In my opinion, these major shuffles in rankings can be the most likely culprit.


01/30/2013 05:31 am

Google is a thief. It steals property of others... see google images or youtube... all are scraped content, images and media. It is ruining small businesses. Shame on it....


01/30/2013 07:05 am

you are talking no sense. look in many sites, there are persons gave all the time to a site, invested their life, and now income halfed... so you have to consider to see the facts, webmasters are penalised, this is the truth, there are societies that based the business on images, paying agencies... and now someone decided to stop the business... so please at least not write you and others that this is good... is like you want to see cinema movie without paying the ticket... you enjoy not paying but after producers will be not able to able actors..and so no movies...


01/30/2013 07:06 am

Say I want to get a funny picture to post on my facebook.. Google is providing me full size image then why will I go to the website.. And user think it as time saving. I am pretty sure at some point you will too will not go the website. and will save an image from Google. I am seeing more drop in my traffic today as I think it is getting implemented on all datcentres. First it launched a frame and now this image design (Stealing our content and we are not receiving all visitors). WTF? I tried Bing Images and it is displaying our full website as Google used to show it very first.. We should promote Bing on our website..


01/30/2013 07:18 am

Panda and Penguin were totally different. They are changes to Google's search algorithms to filter out spam sites and links to try to improve overall search results. That is a perfectly reasonable step for a search engine to take. The new image search, on the other hand, goes beyond what a search engine is supposed to do. It takes my copyrighted content and displays it using my bandwidth completely outside the context of my site. People get to enjoy my content and even download it for their use and or abuse at my expense without even visiting my site. Unlke sites penalized by Penguin or Panda, I did nothing to deserve this. Image search traffic is down by 80% for a net loss of 44% of all organic Google search traffic. Site revenues are down proportionately, so the argument that this was not good or focused traffic that converts does not convince me one bit.. Google has gone way too far here. Yes, it is convenient for users, however bypassing the providers of the content will not be tolerated in the long run. A search engine should only be permitted to show a thumbnail cached on their server of an image and require the visitor to go to the actual site to see the full size image in its proper context and with full access to copyright information.


01/30/2013 08:32 am

I think this change is positive, and webmasters should adapt. For me, this is an opportunity to drive traffic. Let Google index the low res image seen on your website, and if you are offering a high res version for download, put it in a different folder and ban Googlebot from that folder and/or have a captcha system for people to download it. If webmasters have got high resolution images freely available on their websites, without any security like hot link protection or captcha, then the images will already be being taken by much more sinister forces than Google Image Search, I can assure you.


01/30/2013 09:58 am

Hello, i am a webmaster from Germany with an international site which saw a decrease of over 60% visitors through the last 5 days. The google image bot is out now. I hope many other webmasters and artists will throw it out as well. Our internet is more and more occupied by Google.

Alex Gugu

01/30/2013 10:26 am

I've also lost a ton of traffic with this shitty update - around 30% I'd say - which is a severe hit for my business. I really hope that something will change but I doubt it because this is just an example that Google doesn't care about publishers - I'm sure consider the new google images a BIG hit because their time on site probably grew by 300%. F$@k 'em, block the spider.


01/30/2013 10:55 am

Does it matter if you do not get that type traffic? I imagine the overwhelming amount of traffic you might receive for this purpose (hotlinking images mostly), bounces immediately anyway. Unless you are generating cash from ads for just impressions, which is not positive for the internet 'experience' anyway in my opinion.


01/30/2013 11:02 am

I have an image oriented site, since yesterday I had a 50 % drop in visitors, are you saying that my rankings are still OK but visitors don't have to visit to get to my images? Does it mean that Google hot links my images??


01/30/2013 11:07 am

I should search more often and see what comes up, it turns out I still rank good but people don't need to open my site, I am sure copyright laws have been broken, what they did is one massive site with all images, they suppose to serve search results not create THEIR OWN CONTENT


01/30/2013 11:41 am

you talk no sense, sorry. are you reading there are persons decreased of 50 % ? I am sorry , I cannot stand there are troll, that are painting reality differently, here we are talking about facts, not opinions, webmasters are losing 50 % of traffic and more... at least is possible to avoid such inventions opposite to the real concrete situation. It is like Google take your work and use for their goals... of course sites will not be encouraged to publish new qualitative content...


01/30/2013 11:49 am

No need to apologise. This is a discussion board isn't it? I am entitled to give an opinion, just as you are entitled to think it makes no sense. I did not deny that people have lost traffic. My point is that the search engines have always changed things. Webmasters have to respond to change. Look for opportunities ...


01/30/2013 11:51 am

I enabled hot link protection now the "view original" button goes to my home page and maybe some of the visitors will go back to "view site"


01/30/2013 11:53 am

I've got a theory about the lost traffic people have reported. In the old image search, when you viewed the image in image search, it loaded the host page, greyed out in the background. This must have been counting as a traffic hit. In the new image search, the host page does not load, you just get a black background. I wonder if this is accounting for the reduction in traffic, and if so, it wasn't exactly "proper" traffic anyway? Just a thought.


01/30/2013 11:56 am

Yeah.. u r right Lisa.. Me too affected by this image updation :(


01/30/2013 12:02 pm

Ok, We are giving each our opinion, It is OK . I represent a big company, so my goal wants to go over a simple opinion. I post facts, my site lost 50 % of traffic, cause we invested in images. Now I reply you and all wants to find ways to reply to Google... with tricks or something like this Of course if Google sees you does tricks, first step Google is to penalize you removing you from the serp. Also children understand this. We are talking about a big Elephant, we are little nonexistent insects. As we are all guests in your house and simply you dont like us, and decide to put off all... Of course Google has a huge power, and the proof is the fact did this change destroying work of years, without a minimal care... The only concrete way is to ask in a way to restore the old layout, or at least to encourage visitors to enter in the site with something flashing or God knows, but so the problem is huge... Hi all


01/30/2013 12:06 pm

Google's main focus is on the searcher, they don't really care if they upset webmasters. For me, the main issue is not loss of traffic (because I believe the traffic sent from image search was not of high quality anyway, see my post above). The main issue is copyright and making it easy to download images ... but this is not new. My opinion, not fact :-)


01/30/2013 12:12 pm

From this point of view we all agree the same. The interface is better for user experience. Me too like, problem is that you have to pay a price to benefit of something. It is like you want to watch a movie without paying the ticket of cinema.. WHo will pay the actors? and who works ? of course this will create a problem and content will be not possible to create... Here is the same, Google takes your work, and practically use for their goals manipulating the law of copyright. About to download images, now Google gives you the link direct to the image... but really this is crazy or what? How you will monetize your work? So, is clear cannot work, too many interested are ruined. Someone know is it exists possibility Google will restore? THanks


01/30/2013 12:16 pm

The direct download link was always there ... it is not new ...


01/30/2013 12:24 pm

Not true. My image search traffic is down 80%. Bounce rate hasn't changed, not even 1%. Previously a big percentage of people who clicked the image stayed on the site for a while. Regularly reading multiple articles. Now they simply don't get to my site but stay on Google. Just a matter of time before they start putting ads next to the pictures on Google. Which means millions (billions?) of ad impressions are moving from publishers to Google. Image sites will go out of business. People will lose jobs because of decrease in traffic. Basically, short term Google will get more money, long term publishers will have even less profit to produce articles (= quality will go down even further). What's next? Google embedding the actual videos (mp4 files) from websites, without video producers being able to show video ads? Good for users, but soon there won't be any video to show. Or rendering parts of the website inside the Google results. They have rendered images of the website already, so it wouldn't be a huge step. Until people eventually don't have to leave Google altogether. But there won't be any reason for publishers to be on Google either.

Tayyab Nasir

01/30/2013 12:28 pm

The new design sucks it is very slow .


01/30/2013 12:32 pm

Hi Burnst, can you please write me in email ? if you find a solution. I risk to practically surely to fire workers... cause my income is drastically decreased. Someone can suggest a way to communicate directly with some represent of Google... I think we have to do a big echo about this , all most possible to not accept this... It is impossible Google wants to destroy all the quality of services of images and also articles... Please if someone has concrete solutions to propose post here... it is unuseful to repeat this is most big damage for companies... you as me many are losing all years of work... What to do ? is there a possiblity to communicate with them ? or it is all like matrix , all virtual...?


01/30/2013 12:47 pm

-1000 visitors in a day - 25% traffic. Thanks google, created a nice hotlink page.


01/30/2013 01:05 pm

All I see is that big sites like Flickr are losing traffic. If they don't put some kind of pressure on Google (although it is highly questionable what that might be) you are losing. For many years I have been out of image search and now I can consider myself lucky for not losing traffic.


01/30/2013 01:16 pm

I don't know what is the real % of the traffic lost, what I see is % in the earnings lost and thy are more than 50% for now.


01/30/2013 02:21 pm

Yes, you are right! May we have to ask photobucket, flickr or some big sites to put some pressure on Google. That is the only way.


01/30/2013 03:09 pm

I don't see the issue. Look at all the jobs they create in America??? Beyond this, is it a big deal? Copyrighted video is being monetized on Youtube correct? Yes you can easily file notices but there are ads on Youtube copyrighted videos which people post without permission. If the Youtube scale of copyright corruption isn't a big deal, then who cares about your images?


01/30/2013 04:17 pm

Why are you guys so surprised? Humans always ignore history and suffer because of it... ... The big-G is the company that built a multi-billion dollar business on the backs of an army of affiliate marketers and then shot the army. So you are surprised?


01/30/2013 04:26 pm

Sorry to hear about your decrease in traffic off the back of this change. Just curious, the traffic you get by this medium; do the site visitors usually end up completing any goals you have set for your site at all? Purchase, page view, time or site or whatever?

varun sharma

01/30/2013 04:43 pm

I lost my 50% both traffic and earning and now I have to thing about different way to get traffic............... its sad situation :-(


01/30/2013 05:45 pm

Trying to 'fight the system' as it were is rather futile, it would be a symbolic gesture at most. Google grabs images from such a vast array of sources that you would never be able to get a vast enough number of webmasters to block googlebot from their images to make a difference. Add into that the traffic you get form Google images is a waste of bandwidth for most webmasters, as it is so very very low converting. Unless your product is images, then google image traffic is next to worthless anyway. If your product is images then they should all be watermarked anyway, so the user has to click through and download the image regardless of high res or not. So unless someone can tell me otherwise, I just can't see what real difference it makes. EDIT: Just have to add from reading the previous comments, if you don't like it then just block them. Go ahead, block them from your whole site. Go and use a different search engine as well. Stop using them or allowing yourself to be used by them. However don't though rely on the traffic which they provide to your site for free and then winge and complain every time they change something. You've put yourself in that position, not Google. Oh and while your at it, better drop gmail, google analytics, webmaster tools, content experiments, google maps, google plus, youtube, google translate, google insights, google drive... etc etc etc


01/30/2013 06:54 pm

Oh, grow up! What does that have to with anything? The point is Google is now using the images to only benefit themselves. You know damn well no one can ban Google because of their monopoly. They knew they have the power to embed all the images on the whole internet, profit from them and get away with it. What do you suggest? We all bend over and take it?


01/30/2013 07:30 pm

Really ? Where is the link about it


01/30/2013 07:46 pm

...and may the next step: embed all text full length. Why not... Copyrights? Disable google if you do not want. Time is changed - google is NOT your Friend.


01/30/2013 08:38 pm

how about copyrights? will they pay for the bandwidth I pay my hosting service? After I saw the changes I enabled hotlink protection on my two sites and guess what, it redirects to my home page whenever "view original" is clicked which is prove that google is in fact stealing content.


01/30/2013 09:00 pm

The best to sleal our visitors ! Hate google more and more...


01/31/2013 12:27 am

Usually people say "Google Images is a tool for finding images." Finding means mostly stealing in this case. Images are created by real people (aka photographers) not by machines. They put hard work, pay huge amounts of money on equipment so people can enjoy viewing their images. People will "find" their images and then use them: in their blogs, websites or wherever. These photographers will not see a dime, although the same people will enhance their websites with their images, in most cases in a commercial usage. There is an entire industry called stock photography that handles this. Agencies involved represent photographers and make sure they get paid. Designers will purchase images knowing the author got paid AND the image is safe to use. Google shortcuts all these, skips any photographer fees and jeopardizes the end customer with an image that can be unsafe to use. Google hides itself behind a simple "image may be subject to copyright". Even more, the images are hotlinked, generating huge bandwidth costs to the webmaster hosting that image and removing their SEO traffic, traffic that comes into a context (image used on his own website and indexed likewise). That webmaster might've even paid for the image. What happened to "Don't be evil"???


01/31/2013 12:54 am

Hey... I'm considering doing this too, but I'd like to see what it actually looks like to the user when they click on your image in an image search. Would you mind posting one of your web site URLs so we could go look at the images in the image search and see how it works? Thanks so much!


01/31/2013 01:10 am

Have you looked into the cloaking rules regarding images? I'm thinking about redirecting request for high res images to a new specific image that renders the text "Click for high res image". That, of course, would apply just for requests from google image search. When people click on the placeholder image they'd be redirected to my site, by the current interface implementation. I'm reticent about doing that and will do it just as a last resort, after evaluating the risk of Google dropping by site entirely and the real value impact due to this change. The problem is that, even though its not stated in google rules, it will most likely be considered bad cloaking practices in the long run. @twitter-113046318:disqus, in my business, traffic from image search converts better than text search. I think that would apply for most artistic work.

Rahul Arora

01/31/2013 08:10 am

Google is restricting searchers to go to the original sites who own the images. This is costing the creators like cartoonists and digital artists a lot, since there is no such frame breaking we can do with this new change. Such changes are showing the dominating side of Google. They want webmasters under their control in almost every way :-/


01/31/2013 09:13 am

Google's new design is just like the iTunes' album preview. How predictable.


01/31/2013 02:32 pm

the thing is this kind of redirection takes visitors only to the home page not the specific image or post, because I host two sites on one server. And it kind of sucks for visitors but if google doesn't care that their search results will be incorrect why should I? I posted a warning on top with instructions and why this is happening. Maybe we should all do it and make posts on forums and blogs about how google practices hotlinking.

Mia McPherson

01/31/2013 03:26 pm

Google isn't providing you with the full sized image legally you have to get permission for the copyright holder to download any image and if you post an image on facebook that is copyrighted you are asking for a lawsuit to be filed against you.


01/31/2013 04:27 pm

Everyone claiming that something is being "stolen" needs to shut up. If sites implement some kind of redirect based on the HTTP referrer, try this Firefox extension to get around it: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/firefox/addon/refcontrol/


01/31/2013 05:45 pm

should I make all my visitors to install this? I don't get what exactly are you saying?


02/01/2013 04:03 am

when i go to images and click on an image say for example a vase in ebay or etsy the image becomes larger and then asks if i want to go to said sites. in the past it automatically went to site. it is a step that is annoying and useless.

Susann Gryska

02/01/2013 09:55 am

I think you have to see it from 2 different perspectives. As a private person I am really thrilled by the image search 'coz it makes the search so much easier and faster. No more back and forward clicking to find the right image. As a marketer I see the "issues" realted to this update. My initial thought was, that it's way much more likely to get "real" traffic, so only clicks from people who are interested in your product and the bounce rate will decrease, but of course for advertising pages it must be horror to see that the traffic goes down. I am sure that this isn't the last thing we hear from Google related to this.


02/01/2013 05:45 pm

That's exactly what I'm saying. You have 0 choice, either let them use your content in exchange for traffic, or block them and don't get any traffic from them. I'm not saying it's fair or right, but I'm saying it's the way it is.


02/01/2013 05:49 pm

If you don't like it, block them. Check the conversion rate off that Google images traffic, if it's not converting don't let Google have it. The exchange is content for traffic, so if the traffics not working from you, don't let them see the content.

Jordan McClements

02/01/2013 07:13 pm

Am I allowed to swear on Disqus? Surely this is copyright violation? Sorry Google but this is *evil*. Really really unfair and downright evil. (I have a photo web site which looks to have suffered around a 50% drop in traffic in the last few days though it is a bit early to say with 100% certainty). The funny thing is that Google are doing themselves out of money by not bringing people to my site which shows AdSense ads. But as someone else said - in the medium term, no doubt they will show their own ads and keep 100% of the profit instead of 32%. Can someone from Google please come by and explain (with evidence) how this is not very bad news for publishers?


02/01/2013 07:18 pm

where is Matt Cutts?

Wendy Piersall

02/01/2013 07:43 pm

On my vintage images site, I've gone from 92 image search visits on a day during my *slow* season to 2 (TWO!!) visits yesterday. This is two weeks away from what would typically be one of my busiest days of the year (Valentine's Day). Serious question: Does anyone think Google will change this based on site owners' feedback? Or will they really stick by their 'It's better for users' excuse? Because after a 7 year career online monetizing images via advertising traffic, I'm about to look for a new line of work. :'(

Joseph Tamargo

02/01/2013 09:12 pm

Actually - Professional webmaster here :) You can paste the following code snip it before your * This is called a "frame break" old school code but works for sneaky Google http://www.htmlgoodies.com/beyond/javascript/article.php/3887346/Top-10-JavaScript-Snippets-for-Common-Tasks.htm ######################### < script language= "Javascript"> < /script> ##########################################


02/01/2013 09:31 pm

I think this code does not work with the new changes made

Steve Wiideman

02/01/2013 09:31 pm

It's on to Pinterest.com now, right? :)

William Drummond

02/01/2013 11:44 pm

I have a movie review and game review site with over 26000 screen shots so you know where most of my traffic USED to come from. Now they are just stealing my bandwidth outright with no compensation. If they could at least remove the "View original image" that would at least help some. Why visit a site that might have more for you to do when you can just steal the pic. http://musings.elisair.com/

William Drummond

02/02/2013 08:33 am

Not to mention the increase cost of bandwidth


02/02/2013 09:10 am

I like it :D

Jordan McClements

02/02/2013 10:09 am

Guys/Girls - It's looks like there is a solution to this problem (in the same sort of way a javascript frame buster worked with the old Googleimage search). From this post - http://productforums.google.com/forum/#!msg/webmasters/x8CnRPITLg8/m1IHD-QRIiUJ https://www.google.com/search?q=site:fansshare.com (then click on 'images' and see how when you view the original image it redirects you to the page the image came from. Now, if someone can just tell us what we need to do to .htaccess to get the same from our own sites, this would be a great start...

this sucks

02/02/2013 11:33 am

The new google image search sucks!! before i could mouse over an image, it expands. this is nice because i can see more detail in the image to see if it worth clicking.... this great simple feature is now gone inlue of some crap.... and the black background.?!? i have now have to click visit page as before it loaded and the BG was transparent... WTF google thanks for the down grade


02/02/2013 06:46 pm

My traffic is down 50%. Google is basically stealing my images and showing them in full size nearly. The direct image link is just plain rude. Why do I spend years creating pages with photos and some small revenue when they can just steal them and now what do I have?


02/03/2013 08:42 am

I used to get huge traffic from image. More than half of my traffic is gone !!! I am so angry !!!

Jordan McClements

02/03/2013 09:10 am

Can someone from Google please come by and comment?


02/03/2013 04:42 pm

Google supposed to be search engine not the content provider, bring traffic to us as you ought to!


02/03/2013 06:15 pm

I want to block Google Image referrals. Unfortunately Google is obscuring these referrals in my raw logs to make it difficult to use an .htaccess solution. I have moved my images to another folder and closed it to all bots, but Google has bypassed the interdiction and is displaying images from the bot-forbidden folder.

Jordan McClements

02/04/2013 09:32 am

Has anyone set up an online petition against this yet?


02/04/2013 04:25 pm

here's the thread http://productforums.google.com/d/msg/websearch/l8HrtHF_dzs/nzw5ehUpiL0J where a google employee says that this is a permanent cahnge

Ross Dunn

02/04/2013 06:56 pm

First I should say I am 100% happy when anyone holds Google's proverbial feet to the fire but in this case I wonder if it is worthwhile. After all no one seems to be asking if any of the traffic that was lost was of a high enough quality to spend our valuable time worrying about it. As far as I can tell the majority of the traffic from the old Google Images setup was provided when Google showed the hosting web page behind the image when selected. This seems to me to be an ultra low quality and wasteful bit of traffic anyway. Yes, there was a small chance it would provoke someone to visit the site (and admittedly missing that could be bad) but I would expect a really good image would entice someone to visit the original site anyway. If anything this will again force us to be smarter about our images and ensure we place branding of some kind on them to entice clicks or build brand. What do you think? Doesn't this line of thought bear some consideration?

Wendy Piersall

02/04/2013 07:14 pm

Quality traffic is 100% subjective. Any traffic is quality traffic to me, because my sites generate revenue based on ad impressions. Additionally, this new setup is delivering ultra-ULTRA low quality visitors and wasteful traffic, far more so than in the previous interface. Because we are still delivering an image and bandwidth, but we aren't receiving visitors to our pages anymore.

Mark Tisdale

02/05/2013 04:47 am

Not happy about the situation but glad to see others who have a similar bone of contention. Google needs to realize at some point just because they are huge and can do something doesn't mean they should. Why is there a double-standard where imagery is concerned? Can you imagine Google capturing all the text from a page and displaying it on their site in a similar manner as they do images now? It may be a 'more pleasant' user experience to not have to click to the source site, but is it ethical to redistribute content out of context? And where does it end as another commenter suggested? If I have a site that hosts videos or audio files can they create a search that shows them on Google without the user visiting the site? If any site other than Google was found doing this, they'd be considered a content scraper of the worst kind - one that hosts thumbnails of your images but then hotlinks to your site for the large file? To me, this is part of a larger issue with Google. They are less and less a search engine and more and more a destination site. Better for them to create an image search that is sticky to them. The end user finds what they are searching for and never leaves the google mother ship.


02/05/2013 07:42 am

Really this has badly affected my blog (JokingCobra) traffic. I was getting about 45-50k visits but now it has dropped to nearly 50%. Has anyone got some idea to resolve this issue.

Kartik Sharma

02/05/2013 09:38 am

Online petition has been filed on Change.org which should help webmasters to get together. i have signed it. will suggest others to sign it as well. https://www.change.org/en-IN/petitions/google-stop-hotlinking-copyrighted-images-of-web-publishers


02/05/2013 09:46 am

I am a photographer and this my site lost over 60 % of traffic thanks to google, I enabled hotlink protection on my site, it redirects to my home page whenever "view original" is clicked, google images is hotlinking to my images not to mention copyright issues, my visitors are kind of left displeased because they didn’t exactly got what they came for by Google image search.


02/05/2013 10:02 am

The solution is this for all want to change the situation: enter in google image search, search every keyword, all are good, after enter in the site, find the contact form, and say to the owner of site, the rubbery is happening, and to start to protest... in this way all big sites will start to realize the bad situation is happening in the respect of laws of copyright...


02/05/2013 10:03 am

I didnt use any trick, cause google as reply will put my site at last place..so my decision is they return to use mind and respect work of persons ...

Kartik Sharma

02/05/2013 10:48 am


Jordan McClements

02/05/2013 02:06 pm

Here is the link for a petition about this :- https://www.change.org/en-IN/petitions/google-stop-hotlinking-copyrighted-images-of-web-publishers


02/05/2013 05:48 pm

ohhh so why is Google giving users what they want quicker and easier. Don't like it block them, simple as that, then instead of 10,20,30% less traffic from them, you'll have none. Which is apparently better for you?

Wendy Piersall

02/05/2013 06:49 pm

I have to say I'm surprised that more online business and SEO blogs/news sources aren't covering this story more closely. I'm guessing that these sites get very little traffic from images, so they aren't feeling or understanding the impact this change has had on image publishers. If Google started publishing your full blog posts in Google News, and burying the link to your site for the news source, then perhaps it might be getting more 'airtime'. I'm asking you to PLEASE keep this story alive. The ONLY way Google will reverse course on this action is if pressure is applied to them - and even then our chances of restoring our traffic aren't too good. They will continue to 'cross the line' ethically until we let them know they have gone to far.


02/05/2013 10:16 pm

Jordan, Have you found out the "magic" fansshare is doing to get their message over the image preview?


02/05/2013 11:35 pm

Block them? I never asked them to include me in either of their indexes. Say Keaner, if you don't want me to steal your TV then please write nosteal:gary on it, I may or may not obey this command though.

Wendy Piersall

02/06/2013 12:41 am

I think that's the first time I've laughed since January 25th. :)

Matt Jones

02/06/2013 01:25 am

What I really want is a realspace equivalent of robots.txt to block annoying morons who decide whining is easier than implementing obvious, well-documented methods for changing the behavior of search engines...


02/06/2013 02:12 am

If google goes on like this, webmasters will eventually block google.

Darren Bell

02/06/2013 12:50 pm

That is a completely stupid argumant. Yout TV is in YOUR house which is analogous to being behind YOUR firewall where Google cannot even see it. Content on the internet is the same as if you put your TV out in the street!!!

Darren Bell

02/06/2013 12:59 pm

You've got it spot on. I've had an extension in Chrome for more than a year that when you hover over an image in Google Images, it shows the original. It's easy to do. Also, a very simple command "wget" will download all the images that are publicly viewable on a website (legally). People have been able to get images off sites easily for years. This is nothing new.


02/06/2013 05:10 pm

if you didn't block them in your robots.txt then yes, you did ask them to index you, unless you don't know how search engines work.


02/06/2013 06:19 pm

actually content is like you've put your TV in shop to be sold, google is the seller and he will get his own share for it. this way google wants to keep all the money for him.


02/07/2013 08:17 am

I am actually selling more products now, I have hotlinked google's logo in my header so it looks like my store is owned by google, sales are going through the roof now!


02/09/2013 06:49 pm

Searching Google images after they changed it left me quite confused. I'd always go through the images and ctrl+click images that I'd like to open them in a new tab (while seeing the site's content behind an overlay) but I can't anymore. I don't have to open the image in a new tab anymore to see it thanks to the new sliding panel, but the biggest change I need to make is learning the images no longer zoom in! Which sucks when the images is too small and you're not sure if you want to spend time looking at it or not..


02/14/2013 03:47 pm

Google has screwed us big time... and there's absolutely no response or solution...

Willie Soma

02/18/2013 03:43 am

I HATE the new image searcher. I'm just a google user and don't even have a web page. I used to be able to hover my cursor over the image and I had options - the image would even zoom. Now if I click on an image I have to open it in a new window or tab and comes on a black background and only THEN do I have options. It's way too much mouse clicking for me and that's why I'm looking for a better image searcher or just give up on google altogether and try out some other search engine. Google please change it back to the way it was!!! You're just making image searching inconvenient for us users now!


02/18/2013 11:56 am

Hello. I'm a google surfer and when I searched an image I usually had a description of the image, a preview of the site. Now there are only images with no words. I don;t even click on them because I'm looking for a description , to see only pictures there is of no use i read on internet that there are many users who dislike this only image no preview thing. see this http://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/939875 we as users can not zoom the images anymore , nor can get a preview of the descrition of the site i usually liked to read not only look at pictures , I'm not a kid, I want to read what's on the site!

Tom Palmer

02/21/2013 12:55 am

New Google image sucks. Period. They should have left it the way it was. It is more difficult to navigate now. The keyboard "shortcuts" they initiated are worthless. Morons. This is what happens when you let eggheads make decisions, instead of just designing based on what people who have a clue (and live in the real world) instruct them to do.

Jordan McClements

02/23/2013 04:26 pm

Sorry - no - but IMA Guard Wordpress plugin is doing a great job for me on photos-for-you.com. Further info - http://money-from-photos.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/google-decide-that-making-people-visit.html


02/23/2013 10:24 pm

The folks at pixabay are doing this: http://pixabay.com/en/blog/posts/hotlinking-protection-and-watermarking-for-google-32/


03/02/2013 06:32 am

Google should not stop there. I have a great idea. When searching Web results, it opens the entire content of the search pages, in a separate window, with a link somewhere to go to the original page. Saves us consumers hours and hours of wading thru all that other stuff.. the internet or something. I mean, google can host the entire content in a frame, saving us hours and hours of clicking! Oh sure some people will complain that it's their website and they're not getting the recognition or something, money grubbers.. always ME ME ME.. So, next step in using the google, frames for entire web page content. If they do it right, they could incorporate their google image results into their google web results. I smell a cash cow googles... do you?

Scroogled Again

03/04/2013 09:20 pm

I saw a 77% drop in 4 days and it's never recovered...they are trying to tell us that they are helping us through better conversion...such a load! Google is a monopoly plain and simple. They can do what they want and we are defensless to stop them. I for one can;t afford to ban Google Images, even the 23% that remains...can any of you? This is all about cutting off any free source of traffic and squeezing us like a python into paid search. I hope to god Microsoft starts to gain some traction because we need some real competition for search.


03/04/2013 10:08 pm

I wonder if it will effect a eCommerce site that has a lot of product images like http://www.organizeit.com/

Jada Brooks

03/06/2013 12:19 am

I lost about 20% of my hits. I feel I have just been robbed, and reading around, I am not the only one.


03/06/2013 10:53 am

Just noticed a drop in traffic in february. Went to see my stats and I don't have lost 90% of all my Google Image links, yet my images are still displaying in the ranking. That doesn't seem right :s

Sofie Laureysen

03/06/2013 10:53 am

Just noticed a drop in traffic in february. Went to see my stats and I have lost 90% of all my Google Image links, yet my images are still displaying in the ranking. That doesn't seem right :s


03/12/2013 08:51 am

They gets everything they want, but punishes others if do the same.

CTL programmer

03/15/2013 03:09 pm

Dude you got it all wrong. We lost 75% of our traffic and the remaining 25% traffic we receive is total crap compared to what we used to get.


03/27/2013 10:58 am

On the other hand, having to navigate to 2 or 3 different websites to finally get to your full sized image is pretty irritating instead of just getting it via the google search.

Craig Priestley

04/25/2013 07:22 pm

I run a music blog which was receiving 7-800 hits a day, perhaps 200 of them were through google images. I now receive 0 hits through google images so I've lost a large portion of my traffic.

Johnny Black

05/11/2013 09:21 pm

Really dislike the redesign. It's annoying more than anything.


05/16/2013 08:56 pm

I have been working on a site for years. Mostly images. We lost 95% of our visitors. We have no choice than to stop adding images. Adding images only benifits Google. It is like working for free for Google. We even cosnider deleting the site entirely.

Joachim Shotter

05/17/2013 11:22 am

Surly the number of images should be increasing online. So why Google images stops at the same point regardless of the search I dont know. Can anyone shed any light on this?


05/29/2013 05:27 pm

Google has no obligation to direct users to your site. They're not "stealing traffic" as some idiots claim. If anything, Google was giving you free traffic that you didn't deserve. Get over it.


05/29/2013 05:28 pm

Hilarious. No online petition in the history of the Internet ever made any difference.


05/29/2013 05:28 pm

Yeah, make your site better and stop counting on other companies to give you free traffic.


06/27/2013 10:10 pm

[Short version in final paragraph] I would really like to hope that website maintainers and owners might have some of these companies' ears more than the average user, and that my input as such an average user might be of interest or use to brave folks trying to make a living in what seems like a depressing couple of years in internet history to me (probably more serious for those people I mention). Personally, I have almost stopped using Google Image search, and have taken to using Bing despite being overall less enthusiastic about the search service. I am a visually oriented person when it comes to all but the most directed or objective-oriented pursuits online, as I believe most people I know in my demographic are (18-25; I'm male, also). In the past when I could afford to, I often used image search on Google where an ordinary text query might have also worked. I would say Google Image content probably was one of the single biggest pulls for my part of the internet traffic (particularly sense I have a heavily personalized filtered browser setup). I cannot say with the same certainty that the following statement applies across the board with those of my peers I am familiar with (as I spoke of above), but in my case the more recent changes Google has made to their image search have made it roughly as attractive to me as their image search had been in preceding years and my use of the service has seen a severe drop this year. I desire to gloss over no facts as I admit that their attempt to more heavily "clean up" their results (and the pool of sites from which they were queried) has often been a (sometimes literal) turn off for me, but overall I cannot be satisfied with a search engine if I don't feel I'm getting a reasonably good cross-section of the indexed web in my results and can do so with the imposition of theoretically very Boolean constraints. If I turn the safesearch filter off, I expect to get the unfiltered internet results, with the PG and the R, and X-rated being handled equally with the primary weight being relevance to my search (or other parameters made available to me, which I very much miss using). This is the most direct and down and dirty description of the most blatantly obvious change which emphasizes a wider problem where I'm having my searches done with an algorithm which I don't understand (that's nothing new) whose directive and purpose I also have only the vaguest sense of (which is a problem). I can no longer let my attention jitter about to an fro at its own will with the aid of the search engine (and these pursuits very often are explicitly non-erotic, mind you, though the problem is still a problem). I, as a consumer at my most vulnerable, am no longer using Google Image search to explore the guilty pleasure of the vulnerable state (akin to an urge to thumb tabloids in a supermarket line, which I have never done). Google's site-owning content-creating users are pretty much not getting that from me anymore, and I think I really wish they could, and would like things more as they were. I may have been having my searches directed in a very non-1999 way for quite some time, but at least I didn't notice it. (tl,dr) My point in short is the decline in traffic could have a great deal to do with a decline in overall use of Google's image search overall as users move to other services, as I did, though not without a great many bitter tears.

Intoxicology 101

06/30/2013 01:07 pm

Its a shame i finally figured out this is what killed my traffic. Considering I write about cocktails and liquor on my blog, A LOT of my traffic came from image search thanks to awesome photos I either took or posted. My traffic dropped 75% over night and now 6 months later has climbed a bit but is still down 50%. Thanks Gaggle. (misspell intended)

Intoxicology 101

06/30/2013 01:08 pm

I was getting about 1500 a day and 900 were just google images so I know how you feel :(

Jonathan Timar

07/31/2013 01:04 am

I finally found a way to stop Google Image Search from hotlinking my photos without the use of a plugin. I hope this helps anyone who is still dealing with the aftermath of this completely evil decision by Google.


11/05/2013 12:40 pm

Google is the biggest search engine, now wants to become biggest website

Captive Audience

12/16/2013 05:08 am

I often search for something that I want to buy using Google images and when I see something that interests me I click through to the source of the image. That is until I get to an image where some IDIOT website owner has figured out a way to block the image or overlay a notice telling me that I have to click to the main site to see the full resolution image. In those cases I just move on to the next.

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