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Major changes in Google image search results

Most radical changes I've seen for some time



10:44 am on Oct 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I've seen some dramatic changes in Google's image search results in my field today - indeed, after months or years of comparative stability, the results have changed out of all recognition. Is this something seen by others, and if so, does anyone have any ideas about the new criteria being applied for appearing high up the image search results?
I've done some cursory investigation which has so far shown me nothing of significance to explain how these results are derived (at least by comparison with the previous ones), but the detective work continues.


3:52 pm on Oct 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Last Monday Google image search was giving me 32% of all referrals. Today it's 16%. So definitely a big change.

I also saw today a new option in the webmastertools that gives you the option to opt-in for "Enhanced image search". I think they are now adding in the results of the silly "name the picture" game.


4:35 pm on Oct 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I have yet to look for changes, but it could be due to the following:



12:09 pm on Oct 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Well, I don't know if the bizarre "name the image" game (see above) has anything to do with this change, but some other cursory observations include:
- possible downgrading of value of image alt tags in favour of page title and description tags
- possible upgrading of importance of incoming links to site in general with extra weight on incoming link text
- errr...that's it. Not very insightful? No, so other suggestions welcome.


3:41 pm on Oct 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

If any of your interior url's have been downgraded to supplemental, then the next image update/refresh they will disappear from the image index. I have had a site go entirely supplemental except for the index page and used to I would get about 20% referrals from them. No more. Last update they all disappeared.


3:44 pm on Oct 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


If you took any time to read more........ it's not a game.

Yes it's a fun way to get the public to help google. Google wants to improve it's image results,.

"Search that allows you to label random images to help improve the quality of Google's image search results"

Maybe its nothing to do with your changes, but it could be. To google its more than a "game" its a way to improve their image search results.


10:02 am on Oct 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

yes, on one of my sites the supplemental change is indeed what has caused the images to disappear from the search results.
However, on other sites this is not the case, and the change in the image search results remains unexplained.


5:04 pm on Oct 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I never noticed the "game" feature before. I wonder what they do with the ones people label PORN?

Curious if the labels will show up near the images later on or just work behind the scenes? Might not be good if people label an "interesting" looking baby ugly.



5:45 pm on Oct 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I used to get non-stop traffic from image search, but now I have no more than 20 images listed.. down from hundreds.

Just noticed it recently, trying to figure out what happened. I optimized by image file name and alt tags. Now i read they will go by page names and text below each image? Also, the images from suppl. pages will not count? (I have a lot of these).

I guess back to the drawing board....


7:11 pm on Oct 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

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

Im down from 6600 images to 274, but he is one thing you should try, try a search without filter, I think the filter has gone a little to secure, so normal pictures also gets filtered.

When I make a search now without filter i get 8000 images, hmm and I have no adult images.

I went down 75% in unique visits, be cause of this change, since friday


5:25 pm on Oct 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The one thing that still freaks me out is the inclusion of hotlinkers in a site:mysite search.

Why would Google choose them for the photo's source when a perfectly good page is available on my site? :-(

The other confusing part, as I've mentioned before, is that I have hotlink protection, so those other pages can't even show my photos...

This whole fiasco since July has been stressful. Over 5000 original photos lost, revenue impacted quite heavily, traffic down.

I've made sure to make changes to deal with duplicate issues. Photo pages in alternate galleries now have noindex meta tags.

If we have multiple photos of, for example, Jude Law at the Oscars, we've added the slide numbers to the title tags to make them so they're not all "Jude Law at the 78th Academy Awards".

That hopefully will deal with the supplemental/duplicate issues and maybe we'll see a bounceback at the next image crawl.

One other question has to do with navigation. We have a "start previous next last" navbar above and below each photo (in case people have to scroll). Is that a duplicate flagging issue? Should there only be one navbar?

Here's what a single image page looks like:

Title: "Photo 12 Ian Evans Webmasterworld Conference"
H1: "Ian Evans at the Webmasterworld Conference"

"Start Previous Next End Photo: 12 of 112
Send to a friend"

[the image]
Caption: "Ian Evans at the Webmasterworld Conference. (c)2006 mycompany All rights reserved. Photographer: John Doe"

A repeat of the navbar.

Any comments on that format? Suggestions?

whats up skip

2:52 am on Oct 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

To me the results now look more consistant with standard text search. For a keyphrase we are position two or three in the standard SER, but we were way down for image search for the same phrase. Now we are closer to the top of the results for image search.

One of the big problems I think that has occurred is that Google did not update the image index results for so long and only now are we seeing the changes come through.


10:24 pm on Oct 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

In June, my daily unique visitors dropped from 60,000 per day to 15,000 almost overnight. My site is almost completely imaged based and most of my referrals came from Google Image Search.

I also noticed during this time period that my images that used to come up on page one now where coming up on page three or more or not at all anymore. I did not change anything on my site and these images were consistently in their high positions for specific search terms for at least two years.

So, yes I am bumped out and am not sure where to go from here. Does anyone know what Google implemented that caused this shake up? Also, would anyone recommend opting in to Google's new Enhanced Image Search?

whats up skip

10:40 pm on Oct 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I don't think it is just that Google implimented something new. I think one of the major factors was that Google had not updated the image results for so long that you have not seen the competition coming. If Google had updated the changes more progressively then you would have seen your results drop slowly as more "important" images were picked up. As this all happened suddenly you are unable to see this change.

I have spend the last six months being very frustrated with the results not changing. Now I am one that has finally benefited from this update.


11:43 pm on Oct 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Odd, but my number of images increased three-fold or more. I opted in for the Enhanced Image Search and just did that within the past month. I don't know if this is a coincidence or not.

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