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Google Image - Layout change could be VERY bad for webmasters
zeus

WebmasterWorld Senior Member zeus us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4173061 posted 10:05 pm on Jul 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

Now google has copied Bing again, you will get a ton of images on first page, just thumb images shown, when you hover over image it gets a little bigger, with source URL, when clicked you see a larger version of images and in background faded the page from source url.
Im not sure a webmaster gets any impressions counted for when done this way and most image sites have large bandwidth to pay for and when they dont get any impressions with the new Google images, its just like hotlinking.

Google will then be blocked by many sites...

Now im not sure if impressions are counted but it will be a BIG blow for many webmasters who count on images searches on Google.

Personally I will give them a week, if I see less impressions counted for banners, I will block google image.


[googleblog.blogspot.com...]

 

zeus

WebmasterWorld Senior Member zeus us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4173061 posted 8:31 pm on Jul 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

freejung - It will stay that way for some time to come, but one thing is for sure many will block google, must be done with .htaccess I dont trust google to respect robots.txt in anyway.

Now I still just see it in USA, but will spread in the next few days. If we see google image as a user I would rather have that the thumbs goes directly to the website with that image. Also what google forgets here is a image is not all, mostly there is text add to a image and in your case terms or other functions.

freejung

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4173061 posted 9:24 pm on Jul 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

Yeah, you're right of course. They do have "this image may be subject to copyright" but that's a much weaker call to action than my terms. I'm certain virtually nobody will bother to check the site to find out what the terms are.

I'm serously considering putting big red text right across all of my images. It'll be butt ugly but it'll solve the problem.

freejung

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4173061 posted 9:25 pm on Jul 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

I wonder if they would consider it cloaking if I served the red-text version of the images to Google only... hmmm....

zeus

WebmasterWorld Senior Member zeus us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4173061 posted 9:36 pm on Jul 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

if I was you I would try experiment with redirecting .htaccess if it dont work just blog google and focus on Bing and yahoo which still respect a webmaster, google will also see loss in adsense revenue with this or maybe thats why they have added extra adsense banner on there image results.

I wait until Monday, if I see less visits or ad revenue go down I clear out block google at once with .htaccess.

freejung

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4173061 posted 9:40 pm on Jul 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

Yes, I'm pretty sure I know how to do it -- just redirect image requests from Google to a different directory containing special versions of the images. The question is whether Google would penalize it as cloaking.

zeus

WebmasterWorld Senior Member zeus us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4173061 posted 9:46 pm on Jul 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

who cares, if you can not use google image for anything and cloaking i dont think so.

freejung

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4173061 posted 10:10 pm on Jul 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

As for the technical details, on the page you get once you click on the thumbnail, they are hotlinking the image and loading the page in an iframe, so you will get a hit from the image load and also a normal pageview from loading in the iframe. The close box for the popup and the faded area around it are just a straight link to the page.

As for the results pages, it's harder to tell because they are scripting the whole thing and the code is non-obvious, but I don't think they are hotlinking the images there. It looks like they have their own version of the image resized to their specifications, which would be the way to do it to maximize speed.

zeus

WebmasterWorld Senior Member zeus us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4173061 posted 10:22 pm on Jul 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

hmm means we all still get banner impressions, when they click a thumb and get to the pop box with faded website, but I still dont like it, also not for sites like your with special functions

freejung

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4173061 posted 10:24 pm on Jul 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

Yeah, you'll get a banner impression, but I bet there will be very few clicks.

Bones

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4173061 posted 11:10 pm on Jul 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

From a strictly user point of view, I actually really like it. Yes it's Bing-like, but it's still a huge improvement over the previous Google Images imo.

zeus

WebmasterWorld Senior Member zeus us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4173061 posted 11:23 pm on Jul 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

As a user I like the old version better, be cause with search results you could also see the urls of each image which also give you a clue what it is, also I rather be directed to original page then a place holder page.

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4173061 posted 4:19 am on Jul 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

focus on Bing and yahoo which still respect a webmaster

A while ago Yahoo Image Search used a complex JavaScript that broke the original site's framebreaker code. Very clever code, and a very dark and self-centered action, IMO.

I don't feel like any major search engine truly respects webmasters. They'd like to, sort of, but it's just not in their DNA.

Sgt_Kickaxe

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time



 
Msg#: 4173061 posted 6:37 am on Jul 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

An aside - For SEO reasons, make more clickable images than your competitor because the ugly ducklings get no clicks and when they are all lines up like this WITHOUT the domain name under them (unless you hover over an image) there is NO quick way to know what kind of site is on the other end.

gethan

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4173061 posted 9:57 am on Jul 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

Answering my own questions:

1) Is google hotlinking to the source image on the high-res preview?

Yes. The image is hotlinked from the server hosting the image - so you not only lose the visitor you still pay for the band width.

Note: server based redirects (I suggest to a very large image stored on google's servers) work - and briefly display - before the pixelated low res version shws.


2) Is the results page the same as that seen in Asia a few months back?

No - this is a new slightly less evil but still evil version. IMO this is definitely not fair-use.

3) The high-res "preview"? if hosted by google is it a full copy of the image?

See 1. Your bandwidth is eaten by the google image leech.

4) Has this new interface been seen outside of the USA?

Yes - today the world - including Malaysia - where I'm currently based.


A few other notes;

- frame-breaking js seems to work.

A few other questions;

1) Are images from flickr treated this way? and any other big players?

2) Who will be the first photographer to sue google?

londrum

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4173061 posted 10:23 am on Jul 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

im seeing it in the UK now.
they may as well go the whole hog and just show the full size image when you hover over the first time, because the website owner gets next-to-no benefit when they click through anyway.
you can hardly see the web page beneath the image, and you cant even scroll it down until they click and close the image.

if a user wants to visit your site from google images, they have to 1) hover over the image, 2) click on the image, or the URL (because they both lead to exactly the same place anyway), and 3) click to close the image.
that is three separate moves before they can view your page.

one other subtle change that ive noticed is this:

they no longer offer the page's URL to click on. they offer the image's URL instead. so whether the user clicks on the image or the URL, they still cant jump straight to the page without seeing google's new overlay first. sneaky.

zeus

WebmasterWorld Senior Member zeus us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4173061 posted 10:49 am on Jul 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

yes the "do no evil" is long changed to "do evil" I simply dont get it, they must have a little nerd heart left in there chest, its as if how can we make things worse, they now have whole europe against them be cause so many violations i cant count and now once again they make a good thing worse. I hope many will spread the word about the new versions and webmasters will start block with .htaccess, a good thing would be to contact large companies and tell them whats up, without us there is no google, remember that.

HuskyPup



 
Msg#: 4173061 posted 10:54 am on Jul 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

As for the results pages, it's harder to tell because they are scripting the whole thing and the code is non-obvious, but I don't think they are hotlinking the images there. It looks like they have their own version of the image resized to their specifications, which would be the way to do it to maximize speed.


I had a good look at this last night and it is Google serving up their cached version of the image.

To see what I mean right click in Firefox and you can see "Block images from" and it gives their serving source.

They are showing their cached image from their server but when trying to save the image it is the size as seen on screen and not the actual size as described and it does not show keyword-image.jpg, all are simply images.jpg.

The actual page is shown greyed out in the background however the images are been served from their cache since the image is not always the up-to-date one and when you click the x and shut down Google's image you see the actual page from where the real image is taken. Now the interesting thing is if you go away from that page and then return to it Google's image is then the ACTUAL one from the site.

I know this because the most popular images on my site which were hotlinked are shown without a copyright notice however when doing the above it shows the image with the copyright notice.

Google are probably trying their best to minimise publisher's bandwidth's etc. and it is still only doing this in Firefox for me!

freejung

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4173061 posted 3:16 pm on Jul 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

The actual page is shown greyed out in the background however the images are been served from their cache since the image is not always the up-to-date one


They have changed their code since yesterday (I was remiss and didn't take screenshots). Yesterday the code was a straight img with src="http://example.com/image.jpg" whereas now it's scripted, and looks like they're pulling the image from t3.gstatic.com (at least under some conditions), which is presumably their cache.

I'm not sure why they would change that, as the code is still loading the original page in an iframe (meaning you will still get hit for the bandwidth, including that needed to serve the image since the image is on the page anyway).

Perhaps the reason is to prevent the easy fix I outlined above. Now instead of redirecting requests from google.com/imgres to a separate version of the image, you would have to somehow make sure that the separate version is what ends up in their cache. If that's the case, it's doubly obnoxious (and maybe I should have kept my mouth shut, sorry).

I agree that from a user perspective this is better (except that in my case the user doesn't know that higher-res versions are available) but I think there ought to be a way to improve the user experience without having a detrimental effect on the webmasters who provide these images.

freejung

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4173061 posted 3:25 pm on Jul 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

Now I'm thinking the best course of action is to do nothing for a month, watch the numbers closely, and wait for the implementation to stabilize, then decide on a course of action.

Hugene

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4173061 posted 7:56 pm on Jul 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

The hotlinking is not a good thing, but at least it is mitigated by the fact that a click anywhere on the hotlinked image, or around it, will bring the user to the original page.

The AdSense ads on the images though is really crazy. If the image is hotlinked, and your bandwidth is serving it, then why the hell should G put an ad on it and make money with it.

This is pure crazy. Who came up with that stupid move?

I guess you can argue that this is already done in YouTube. But with youtube, at least you get a service in return: your video is stored and served by G (and not by you).

ianevans

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4173061 posted 10:58 pm on Jul 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

Besides the faded out background, the potential loss of clicks, etc. I also don't like the new image preview because of aesthetics.

When they blow up the image with my page beneath, the photo's resolution is blown up from their thumbnail so it just looks terribly "out of focus".

On the other hand, my clear image is below, so maybe people will click through to see it better...

McSpike

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4173061 posted 7:11 am on Jul 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

When they blow up the image with my page beneath, the photo's resolution is blown up from their thumbnail so it just looks terribly "out of focus".

On the other hand, my clear image is below, so maybe people will click through to see it better...


That's what is happening with my results and it's because I am blocking hotlinking from google. easily done in .htaccess.

The image quality is poor, because when they can't hotlink they load the cached thumbnail in full screen instead. Now with a thumbnail they got away when they got sued for the image search (I think "perfect 10" sued them), because they claimed the thumbnail is so small that it can't count as content theft.

Now If everyone blocked hotlinking, their full screen image show would be one crappy service because they would have to use only thumbnails instead. If they pulled the full screen images from their cache now THAT would be pure classic content THEFT!

I didn't compare how CTR looks if I allow hotlinking, but right now I see around 7-10% CTR loss. We will see how this progresses in the coming days/weeks.

Does someone have any CTR loss numbers when allowing hotlinking?

HuskyPup



 
Msg#: 4173061 posted 9:36 am on Jul 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

Does someone have any CTR loss numbers when allowing hotlinking?


100%

I had a huge problem a few months back with over 200,000+ requests per month for just three images.

No one, absolutely no one clicked on anything, they sourced the images through social networking sites and used them as backgrounds...that's a fashion colour for you!

My AdSense CTR and eCPM plummetted eventually making me remove AdSense from those pages and I blocked hotlinking across all sites through cpanel. I'm still getting these referrals however as soon as they try to they get Google's home page.

I haven't tried re-including AdSense as yet however I wonder if this is their response to my request to do something about it?

McSpike

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4173061 posted 12:50 pm on Jul 23, 2010 (gmt 0)


100%

I had a huge problem a few months back with over 200,000+ requests per month for just three images.

No one, absolutely no one clicked on anything


I mean CTR loss now with interface change vs. a month ago. Not CTR loss in general.

Why you had such a loss is because your images most probably came up for unrelated topic, normally not resulting in any clicks. And if hotlinking is a problem and you still want to show it in google while blocking the rest, you can do that in htaccess. You can show up a different image for the rest, for example a picture giving a finger, using small size image. The funny thing is the ones hotlinking will not notice a problem because they will have the old image in cache and will see everything fine while they will be giving their visitors a finger. But better yet, put the URL of your site on the image telling what they can get there. I have a ton of images for my sites done like that and they are displayed on a ton of blogs because they hotlink it, while they have no idea since they have the original image in their caches. Funny as hell.

HuskyPup



 
Msg#: 4173061 posted 2:12 pm on Jul 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

Why you had such a loss is because your images most probably came up for unrelated topic, normally not resulting in any clicks.


Nope, I'm not going to go through all of this one again however social networking sites that pretend to provide background images were hotlinking using their own Google image searches thus when a social networker chose an image for their background, as in my full sized image, it generated both a page and AdSense impression.

I've been keeping a check on all my metrics this week since it was introduced and I have not seen any noticeable increase in bandwidth BUT I have seen an increase in both AdSense CTR by ~25% and earnings by ~11%.

If this has anything to do with the new layout I have absolutely no idea however if it continues this way I ain't going to knock it:-)

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4173061 posted 3:09 pm on Jul 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

they sourced the images through social networking sites and used them as backgrounds


In those cases I've been known to switch the same file name to an image that includes a bit of an ad, with a URL included in image text. No, it's not clickable, but it does generate some type-in traffic.

freejung

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4173061 posted 4:52 pm on Jul 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

So, does anyone else have an opinion on the question of cloaking?

Would it be considered cloaking to serve a different image to google.com/imgres when it hotlinks the full version of the image?

It would be easy to do in .htaccess, and could be used to display a copyright notice watermark or some other message to discourage users from using the image directly from Google instead of actually visiting the site.

But do you think it would be penalized?

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4173061 posted 4:58 pm on Jul 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

As long as you serve googlebot what regular visitors see in their browser, then it's not cloaking. Whether Google would like it or not - that's a different question. I could see you losing good rankings in image search, for example.

freejung

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4173061 posted 5:25 pm on Jul 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

Well, the idea would be to serve google.com/imgres a different version of the image than what people see when they actually visit the site directly. Yes, they would see that image in their browser when they go to Google image search.

As for losing rankings -- well, there's not much to lose at this point. Image search traffic has never been worth much, and now it's probably next to worthless. However, that's one reason to watch the numbers for a month or so before acting.

ianevans

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4173061 posted 8:16 pm on Jul 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

As for losing rankings -- well, there's not much to lose at this point. Image search traffic has never been worth much, and now it's probably next to worthless. However, that's one reason to watch the numbers for a month or so before acting.


I'll have to "widgetize" this to keep with the TOS. :-)

The value of the traffic depends on the type of site. From what I read here, I guess many members are selling widgets and don't see much conversion, and therefore value, to the image search traffic.

I'm a news site that covers widgets at major events. I'd say about 70% of my traffic comes from people interested in seeing those widgets.

The additional thing that hurts me with the new design is that when I show a photo of a widget at Event A, I also have "you might be interested" links heading to widget photos at Events B & C. Showing the full size image might deter people from clicking through the faded background to get to my links.

Woz

WebmasterWorld Senior Member woz us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4173061 posted 12:31 am on Jul 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

From the user POV, it is confusing some (many) people with comments like "only shows 20 image and there is no way to go to the next page"

Onya
Woz

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