Google has announced that they have removed the view image button from the Google image search results. That means that in order to view the images in Google’s image search results, searchers need to click through to the website in order to view a larger version of the image.
What Does This Mean for Website Owners
Well, what does this mean for website owners like you and me? This really means that there could be more traffic to your website from Google image search. Searchers will still be able to see the images, in Google image search results, but there is a better chance now that searchers will click through to your website, and you’ll get more traffic.
But that’s if you show up in the Google image results, or “rank” in the image search results.
What Should You Do Now
Well, what should you do now if you’re a website owner? There are a few things that you can do in order to take advantage of this potential increase in image search traffic:
- Check to see if you’re blocking image from being indexed. If you are blocking the search engines from indexing the images on your site, you don’t get any traffic from the image search results. So, you’ll want to make sure you’re not blocking the search engines from indexing your images.
- Check your robots.txt file to see if your site blocks folders or directories called /images/ or something similar, and unblock them from getting indexed.
- Check to see if you are using any anti-hotlinking scripts or have any settings that are stopping hotlinking of your images.
- Check Cloudflare, if you’re using it, and turn anti-hotlinking off. On Cloudflare, go to the dashboard and access your site. Then, click on “Scrape Shield” and turn off “Hotlink Protection”.
By allowing the search engines to index your images, you could see increased traffic to your site via the Google image search results. By allowing other websites to link directly to your images, and turning off hotlink protection and turning off any anti-hotlinking scripts, you’re allowing other websites to essentially steal your bandwidth. A website can use your images (loaded from your web server) on their website. This is good and bad. The website is linking to your images, and that could help your image search rankings. But, the other site will take up some of your bandwidth. So, you’ll want to watch your links (use Majestic.com to look at links to your site) and deal with these on a case-by-case basis. Many image scrapers don’t necessarily use up a lot of bandwidth because they don’t have a lot of visitors on their sites. But, it’s worth watching.
Images On Your Website
Of course, it goes without saying that allowing your images to get in Google image search results can be good. But if you’re taking images from other sites and using them without permission, you may be asking for it if you don’t own the rights to use all of the images on your site.
If you use images on your site, and we all do, here’s a few tips:
- Create your own images. Use photos you’ve taken yourself. iPhone photos are OK if you are a decent photographer.
- Use screen shots. If you have a site where you’re showing examples, then take screen shots if you’re showing your visitors something on the web.
- Use a stock photo service.
- Pay for the images from a stock photo service.
- Use a photo, but use proper attribution. Make it clear that it’s not your photo, and link over to them. Still, you might want to contact them and ask permission.
- Use photos in the Creative Commons.
- On your site, if it’s WordPress, take a look at how you link to your images. You might be just adding images to your blog posts and not actually linking to the larger version of the photo. If you click on the Cloudflare scrap shield example photo above, you’ll see that you can click through to the larger image. This feature, when turned on when you upload images, can help images rank in image search results.
For many of the photos and images I use on my site I either tend to use screen captures whenever possible, or I really like the Canva service, which allows me to use a stock photo and add text to it.