Should Google Show Your Images In Some Search Features With Attribution Or Use Licensed Images?

Dec 21, 2023 - 7:31 am 9 by
Filed Under Google

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Google often shows images taken from websites and publishers like your sites in its search results. Would you prefer Google to show your image in search with attribution, or would you prefer Google to license images without attribution?

Danny Sullivan, Google's Search Liaison, said in some cases, he thinks Google should use paid licensed images from maybe sources like Getty Images versus taking images from websites on the web and adding an attribution link.

This came up when one publisher was upset to see his image used in that things to do/know feature. Here is that post:

So you can see the images used in this "things to do" box are from publisher websites where Google gets this content:

Google Things To Do Images

Then Sullivan responded to Nate Hake saying that this is not a new feature (it is old, he is right) and that the image has an attribution on it and that if you don't want it, block Google from indexing it:

So you can see the attribution link on the image when you click on it:

Google Things To Do Image Attribution

In which, Danny then said, "My preference wouldn't be to use images from around the web in thumbnails like that. I'd prefer we use only licensed images. It's what I've communicated internally before. That's because of exactly this issue, some site owners might not like it. Others might, however. Others might like that when people click, they're going to be the first thing in the carousel. Ultimately, if someone doesn't want their images used in Google Search, they can block them."

Danny is saying for this case, who knows what other cases, he would prefer Google Search to show licenses images and not images (even with attributions) from third-party websites.

But he did ask, some publishers might want Google to show their images with attribution and not for Google to show licensed images.

So I ran a poll on X asking what SEOs would want and so far most of you (so far 70%, the poll is not done) want Google to show your image with attribution over Google licensing an image:

Forum discussion at X.


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