Shopify: Our Customer Images Aren't Showing In Google Image Search

Nov 7, 2013 • 8:21 am | comments (4) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google ShopifyShopify's Craig Miller, the Vice President of Marketing, posted in the Google Webmaster Help forums complaining that 70,000+ of his customers are not able to have their images from their e-commerce store show up in Google Image search.

He said:

Shopify is one of the world's largest ecommerce platforms with over 70,000 stores hosted by it.

Our merchants seem to be have issues with their image SEO. It’s a common complaint in our discussion forums and I have confirmed that indeed have issues being indexed and showing up on

What is the issue?

Google's Eric Kuan, from the search quality team, said it was an issue with how Shopify's image cache busting works. Eric wrote:

The cache busting feature is causing Google to recognize your images as different every time it crawls your page. Because of this, it's causing problems indexing a lot of images on your sites.

So let's say 70,000 sites with an average of 3,000 images on the site, to be on the low end. That comes out to 210,000,000 images. If those are all serving up different images every time Google crawls it, it can cause major issues for Google's crawlers.

Craig did not respond after Eric yet, but it does appear to be a configuration issue with Shopify and not Google.

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.

Update: Craig emailed me showing the changes in the crawl rate drastically change and told me:

The important thing to note is that Shopify has not changed its CDN URL scheme in at least the two years I’ve been with the company.

It seems he is correct but either way, Craig has already started working on making changes to ensure these images get crawled and indexed.

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11/07/2013 04:08 pm

As far as I understood, Shopify caches images to provide faster access to them for the visitors. According to Google, everything must be done to satisfy visitors and when visitors will be satisfied, then Google will be able to recognize this. Also, according to Google, fast access is the core because of the mobile devices. Here we are, visitors/consumers are satisfied (sure they are, if 70000 stores are hosted). And obviously the access is fast enough. Why Google can't see this and blame configuration ?

Stuart David

11/07/2013 04:31 pm

Good catch! I think you perfectly captured their hypocrisy and lack of understanding of images They don't seem to understand the nature of them at all and whats actually involved. It's much more complicated than just dumping into a folder on a single server.


11/07/2013 06:39 pm

Spot on!!


11/09/2013 04:53 am

In what format could images be uploaded on an eCommerce site that crawlers will be unable to crawl them?

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