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Did Analytics change the way to handle Google images searches?

     
5:50 pm on Feb 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

New User from FR 

5+ Year Member

joined:Oct 3, 2012
posts: 17
votes: 2


Hello Community,

One of the sites I'm monitoring receives a lot of traffic from image searches or images that appear in universal search results.

On Dec 12th, 2015, the bounce rate for these sessions went from around 30% the day before to around 90%.

Did anybody notice similar changes in the bounce rate? Did Google change something in the way that image search is handled?

In France, quite a few websites have noticed this change.

I noticed that also on Dec 12th, the source "images.google / organic" makes its appearance in GA.

If you use google.com (or probably all other versions of Google that use the same interface), GA doesn't log a visit till one clicks on either the enlarged image or the "Visit page" button. The visit is logged as "google / organic", not "images.google / organic".

But if you use google.fr (or probably all other versions of Google that use the same interface, I confirmed with google.de), GA logs a visit even if you haven't really left Google, when the image is shown hovering above its host page. The source is "images.google.fr / referral" at this point.

But when you then click on the cross to close the image or on the "Site Web pour cette image" link in the side bar, hence if you really go to the site hosting the image, the source information is replaced by "images.google / organic".

So it seems quite logical that
a) the bounce rate for the source "images.google.fr / referral" is close to 100% and that
b) the source "images.google / organic" appeares at the same time

This raises three questions for me
1. How was the behaviour before Dec 12th?
2. Wouldn't it be appropriate now to exclude entirely trafic provided by the source "images.google.fr / referral" (as well as images.google.de etc.), as this is only an enlargement in Google's search results and not a visit of the site?
3. How is it possible that the bounce rate of "images.google.fr / referral" is not 100%? Why do certain sessions still get multiple page views?

How do you think, we should deal with these new settings now?
11:08 am on Feb 6, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member andy_langton is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Jan 27, 2003
posts: 3332
votes: 140


It looks like you're right. In the UK, when clicking on a preview image, the actual image is loaded in the background, but not a webpage. So, this hits logfiles, but not on-page trackers like Google Analytics. On Google.fr, the entire page is displayed behind the image, triggering GA.

Wouldn't it be appropriate now to exclude entirely trafic provided by the source "images.google.fr / referral" (as well as images.google.de etc.), as this is only an enlargement in Google's search results and not a visit of the site?


I wouldn't say so - iot is genuine traffic after all, but you should account for this. I would take it more as an "impression" that a "pageview", however. I would also say that it might be worth separating this out from text-based organic search.

How is it possible that the bounce rate of "images.google.fr / referral" is not 100%? Why do certain sessions still get multiple page views?


You can click the cross in the top right of an image or click on the background page to "close" the image, landing on the page itself.

I can see that this is an annoyance if Google lumps all these visits in with organic, because you'll see both an increase in organic traffic, and an increase in bounce rate, despite their being no real change in traffic.