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What Did Google Do With Image Search At The Beginning Of October?

Msg#: 4225457 posted 3:49 pm on Nov 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

As many of you here know for some reason Google removed most of my #1 ranked images from their Image SERPs in the first week of October, in the thousands in case you were wondering.

Initially I thought it may be a conflict with CPanel's hotlink protection however some of my sites still have some of their images in their SERPs therefore it cannot be that.

One of the reasons I started using hotlink protection was because of one term that I was #1 for out of more than 1 billion results, at one time I think it was 1.3 billion results. What I have noticed today is that specific search term has been reduced to just over 600 million results!

What? A 50% reduction! A halving of the results?

Ok, I do not expect for one moment that Google even has the 600 million image results however just what did they do to achieve such a cut apart from blitzing most of my sites from their image results and why?

One very interesting thing I have noticed is that 99% of my widget trade direct competitors have also had their images removed as well PLUS, and this really pi$$e$ me off, some of those image hotlinking sites are now at the top of the results using my images which Google have removed!

Honestly, an image hotlinking site at #1 in Google image SERPs displaying my images that people cannot link to because of my hotlink protection!

Google, you've more than a few screws and rivets loose.



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

Msg#: 4225457 posted 5:31 pm on Nov 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

There are mysteries in the numbers reported all over Google - even in the regular search engine. All we know for sure (this is from Matt Cutts) is that the numbers are difficult to get accurate because of the way Google shards data, but that what we see should be accurate "within an order of magnitude".

Dropping all those images is a very confusing event - and upsetting when that image search traffic is important to your site's health. I wish I had some further insight about it.

Are you depending on the Image Search site: operator here, or are your numbers taken from your own server logs and analytics?


Msg#: 4225457 posted 7:37 pm on Nov 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

Are you depending on the Image Search site: operator here, or are your numbers taken from your own server logs and analytics?

I look at every piece of data I can rely upon.

For some sites site:example.com shows zero images, not even the company logo, my largest b2b site shows only half my WordPres blog images and zero other of 4,000+

My trade directory site is showing some 3,800+ images from at least 20,000+

My sister's b2c site is showing about 50% of its images.

It's utterly bizarre, a new and small specialist site I recently uploaded has 90% of its images already ranking mostly at #1 on image search!

Using AdSense data my Page Impressions were almost 19% down compared to September however the extent of what has happened are in my own logs which shows some sites with a 90% loss of visitors and page views.

Insofar as AdSense is concerned the directory site's earnings actually held up during October but the b2b sites dropped 22+% which doesn't make HP a HappyPuppy:-(

At the moment all the sites are performing extremely well in the regular SERPs therefore I can only assume that this is a huge bug on their part and, as I wrote earlier, many of my normal competitors images are missing as well which tells me something although I'm not quite sure precisely what!


WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Msg#: 4225457 posted 3:56 am on Nov 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

Do you have an image sitemap and have you tried submitting one?


Msg#: 4225457 posted 10:36 am on Nov 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

Do you have an image sitemap and have you tried submitting one?

Yep, for my main b2b these images have been at ~#1 for 10+ years.

I have read several forum boards and some others, I must stress some, are seeing similar. Just how many have been affected is hard to tell since many site owners etc do not frequent boards like this but it is interesting that several of my main competitors have seen their images removed as well.

If there had been a 100% removal of images I could say with some degree of certainty there was a penalty, not sure why there would be but there ya go however not all images have been removed therefore this leaves me somewhat puzzled and especially when the normal SERPs looks so good for me.

I guess for the first time ever I'm going to have to ask on the AdSense blog for some insight/help/etc.

Ther has been one upside to this though, my CTR and eCPM have increased owing to fewer non-clicking casual image surfers:-)


Msg#: 4225457 posted 8:40 am on Nov 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

I also noticed that the site: command on Google's image search returns much less images than before for one of our sites. I think it showed 600+ images in the past. Since a few weeks it has been shown only <100 images.

The images haven't been optimized in the past (file names, alt text...). We'll work on this in the future. Will see if that will help.

At least good to know that others have similar issues.


Msg#: 4225457 posted 6:38 pm on Nov 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

Woohoo...I've had 4 images reinstated, straight back in at #1.

At this rate everything should be back in about 625 years!


Msg#: 4225457 posted 4:16 pm on Nov 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Update - another 24 images since 9th November, looks like 4 images a day at present...oh well.


WebmasterWorld Senior Member piatkow us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member

Msg#: 4225457 posted 8:47 pm on Nov 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Only 15 images indexed compared with 217 in Bing.


5+ Year Member

Msg#: 4225457 posted 11:22 am on Nov 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hi huskyPup,

that sounds to ma as a typical images-problem. Have you checked out if your images are filtered out by "safe-search"?

1. Open Google image-search
2. select "safe-search: moderate" (rigth of the search-input field)
3. Check all indexed images of your site (count)
4. Now select "safe-seacrh: off"
5. If there is a difference between the count-number your site is in the "images-filter" (my wording)

In the end of September google has done some changes in algorythm of this filter. A lot of sites were filtered out without changing anything (also one of my main galleries).

Please tell here if this is the problem so I can give you some advice how to solve it.

Best wishes

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