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Sudden Big Drop in Google Image Search Traffic

     
7:05 pm on Jun 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I have noticed this month that my Google Image search traffic has taken a sudden precipitous drop. Google Analystics shows that on May 6th my image search hits dropped from 150-200 a day to 0-4 hits a day and has stayed there ever since.

My images are all still indexed when I check Google for my domain, and if I check certain keywords that I used to rank well on I still come up. I'm not sure if I have dropped in relative positioning or just fewer images are coming in in the results. Has anyone else seen a major change in image searches?
12:00 am on June 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Have you checked image search with safesearch set to medium, the default?
12:23 am on June 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Yes, with safe search set to moderate, strict and off the same set of images is returned. I can't imagine what would cause me to lose all of my image search traffic all at once. No changes were made to the site at all. Have Google's recent algo changes affected image search as well?
12:42 am on June 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

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The mystery deepens because of the other details you gave us - still ranking for historically good traffic terms for you, still indexed, etc.

I'm at a loss - unless the traffic is still there but there a problem with Google Analytics, either your page tagging or a horrible bug on Google's end.
1:01 am on June 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Well at first I thought awstats wasn't recording the traffic anymore due to some change on Google's part...but the drop is also recorded in Google analytics. GA shows the drop on May 6th, and it's never returned again. I've made no changes on my end to the GA code on my pages and it;s still reporting Google Search traffic as holding steady. As I said the number of images indexed hasn;t changed at all, but they must be ranking a lot worse now. Since I only checked the terms that I used to rank best on, it might be that I've lost a lot of individual searches for lesser ranking images? I would really have to drill in depth to compare to previous months
10:14 pm on June 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I am having the same problem with google image search

I made a post on it, which I will put below. Google images are really screwy!

In Google analytics my stats say for the period 5 May to 9 June ....

Under search engine traffic sources ...
images.google sent 24 total visits via 24 keywords

Yet using webmaster tools and under google image I get
Queries.... Impressions ....Clicks
3,156 .... 673,000 ........ 60,500

Yet for Awstats
May Google (Images)14163
April Google (Images)56607

and using site: in google images gives
About 2,420 results (0.07 seconds)

Everything seems totally screwed up!
10:44 pm on June 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I checked in Google Analystics and found that referrals from images.google.com dropped 95% in one day. I suspect they are just serving the referrals from another url now or re-indexing the sites for images. I have also seen a big overall drop in text search traffic as well since the beginning of May.
2:20 am on June 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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@ichthyous, netchicken1: I have had my hands full lately examining the text SERPs, but I just took a look at some familiar Images searches in response to your post.

Searches for which both our clients and relevant competitors used to come-up, nearly all of the relevant sites are now GONE.

Seeing a lot of partial keyword matching (just like with text), resulting in less relevant results.

Seeing spammy web sites like -

www.how-many-spammy-keywords-can-I-stuff-in-this-domain-name.com/...

now coming-up on the first page.

Also seeing multiple yellow page sites now coming-up on the first page.

This even included a picture of the front of the yellow page book on the first page! In other words, if you took the AT&T Real Yellow Pages out of your closet, and took a picture of the front cover, that is what is showing up on the first page of a competitive commercial search!

But amazingly, the AdWords at the top were all spot-on! ;)

It appears these problems have now spread to Image Search as well. :(

"I have also seen a big overall drop in text search traffic as well since the beginning of May."

Join the club. You might want to read at least the first post in this thread regarding that topic -

Is History Repeating Itself at Google? [webmasterworld.com]

And perhaps join the conversation, either there, or here -

Google Updates and SERP Changes - June 2010 [webmasterworld.com]

Be interested in hearing more about your text search problems.
3:07 pm on June 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I also found a massive drop in Google image search in Analytics around May 6th.

After some investigation, I found that I hadn't dropped at all, it was just that Google had changed the referrer for image search from 'images dot google....' to 'google dot com / imgres?imgurl=...'

So now your image search visits will be grouped with your standard google visits