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Best SEO practice on deleting old images



2:29 pm on Feb 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hi all,

Advise needed here, I have an online business with product images.
Recently I have change my labels on all my products. So I had to take
new pictures of all my products with the new labels. How to go about the old images on my server, should I delete them all from my server file manager or leave it there?

Thanks for any suggestions.

Mac Guy.


7:06 pm on Feb 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

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

If all that changed was the label, can you possibly just switch out the new images with the old ones?


7:10 pm on Feb 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

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

Are there any links or traffic going directly to the old images?


9:42 pm on Feb 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hi ergophobe &goodroi,

Thanks for the reply, hard to tell if some traffic
is going to the old images. When I make a google search for my products,(with key words) i rarely see my old images of my products with the old labels.

The only thing is that those old images are still sitting on my server file manager. Perhaps I should wait a few more weeks and just delete them.

Any thoughts?

Thanks guys.

Mac Guy


6:44 am on Feb 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

That will end up to lots of error in your webmaster tool. De index them and after few days you can delete them from the file manager.
Also update your site map so that any linked part to that pic won't give you any errors.



11:58 am on Feb 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month

These are images, not pages. Even google doesn't seem to be all that maniacal about images that pack up and leave. One or two 404s and they'll forget the whole thing unless there was something really special about them. And, ahem, we're just talking about different sizes and colors of widgets, right?

If you are getting direct hits to the images, so much the better. Make a clean sweep and all the hotlinkers will have to start over again from scratch ;)

If the images have been replaced by new images on the same pages, it's got to be better to delete the files right away. (Or throw them into a different directory, where the search engines won't find them, if you think you might need them again.) Otherwise you'll get search engines crawling both the old images-- which they now know as independent URLs-- and the new ones-- which they'll find right away as they re-crawl your pages. But only one set will really belong to pages.


1:40 pm on Feb 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the input. Lucy24, yes the images has been replaced by new images on the same pages, 1 page for 1 product image and description of the product.
All the description on the product remain the same on the page, only the picture of the product was replace showing now the new label on the bottle.

I do update the website on a regular basis (full publish), and the site map is also up dated every time.

I will never use those old pictures again, so I think I feel more confident after reading all the suggestions here to just clean up and delete those old images from my file manager.

Thanks all.

Olinda Luksen

7:20 pm on Feb 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

Question: Is it wrong to advice my client a 301 redirect on old images to new images? They are planning on 3 website migrations: 2 of the migrated sites will stay at the same domains and 1 wil go from http://www.example.be to http://example.be. For all 3 I wanted to suggest for images as well the 301 redirects as the image URLs will change.


10:46 pm on Feb 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month

Are the images important in their own right? That is, do they come up often in image search? I assume you are not concerned about hotlinkers ;)

Remember that image redirects, unlike page redirects, are only for search engines. People don't bookmark images. (Well, sometimes they do, but you probably didn't want them to.) So the images themselves are only worth redirecting if Image Search-- in, ahem, its new* improved form --is an important part of your traffic.

Personally I wouldn't bother. The search engine will ask for the old images and pick up a 404. But at the same time they will be crawling the redirected pages which contain references to the new images.

from http://www.example.be to http://example.be

That's not really a redirect. On one hand the search engines will consider it Duplicate Content if you enable both forms-- but on the other hand they know perfectly well that it's all the same site. If the images on your pages are correctly linked, the domain part of their URL will automatically change when the page URL changes.

This last part is an academic question, because you (or your clients) already have a catch-all redirect that intercepts all requests for wrong-form-of-domain-name and redirects to correct-form-of-domain-name. If you don't, you should. Go add one right now.

* I detoured to check. google dot be does the new-style image search. At least if you are coming in from a US IP.

Olinda Luksen

11:15 pm on Feb 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thanks so much for your quick reply Lucy. This really helps a lot.


9:47 am on Feb 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

Leave them, if you want old images where will you go, you have hope unlimited space don't delete them.

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