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Google dropping many previously indexed images

     
9:47 pm on Jul 26, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Anyone else noticing any big drops in indexed images?

My site map includes and Google WMT indicates 400 images submitted. A few weeks ago they had about half of those indexed, this week it's down to 26. Scratching head...thinking that many of these images were stolen and re-posted to other sites, now, rather than deciding which is the original, Google is just dropping any that show up on more than one site.
Thoughts?
9:57 am on July 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Come on Google lost track of the original years ago!

Amyway, yes, loads of images have been dropped plus their image SERPs is a shambles, the worst I've ever seen them, in fact they're so bad that I have actually stopped attempting to rank for them since they send so little traffic these days that it's pointless ... and Bing is just as bad BTW.
5:22 pm on July 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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It's been noted in our July Updates and SERPs thread [webmasterworld.com...] that SEM Post has published an article on this topic, referring to a Search Engine Roundtable post [seroundtable.com...] which refers to this discussion. SEM Post's analysis....

Google Manual Actions Issued for Image Mismatch Including Hotlink Prevention
July 27, 2015 by Jennifer Slegg
[thesempost.com...]

If you have suddenly noticed many of your images suddenly being dropped from the Google Image Search results, Google has been issuing manual action penalties for the little known “image mismatch” manual action.

While the manual action targets those who are displaying different images on the site to users when compared to the images shown in Google Image Search, it is also targeting images who use hotlink protection methods as well, as those will often substitute a different image when the script or program believes the image is being hotlinked, or not serve the image at all.

I remember that many of our members have discussed using hotlink protection, among other techniques, to protect their images.

If you've been hit, it would be helpful to get feedback here about whether "Image Mismatch" applies to you.
6:37 pm on July 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Am I understanding this correctly? I cannot have hotlink protection, I must allow hotlinking or is this purely for those serving-up a different image?

I've read the article twice and it's not abundantly clear to me what's going on other than I have lots of hotlink protected unique images that have disappeared from their SERPs.
7:23 pm on July 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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RedBar... the article suggests that the issue may hinge on what kind of hotlink protection you use. Substituting a different image, and/or using .htaccess to prevent hotlinking, are two techniques specifically mentioned... and those are the only two blocking techniques I've ever used. So this does seem to be kind of a double-bind situation.

The phrase describing the transgression here is "image mismatch". I assume that Google does want to be linking to what it's displaying. The article describes where to check for notices of manual action, to see if you've been hit.
7:34 pm on July 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Where is this Search Console? WMT? If so I do not use that.
7:55 pm on July 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Preliminary investigations would seem to show that Google has principally been deleting duplicated images across my sites, at the moment my hotlink protection does not seem to be a problem since I do serve up both thumbnail and enlargement correctly.

The duplication of some images is going to be a right royal PITA, I can understand why Google would want do this however having to replace images is going to create a lot of work and effort, if they'd given us some warning it could have been done however dropping it on us like this at this time of year is ... inconsiderate to put it politely.
9:41 pm on July 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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We used to get a ton of traffic from eye candy on our site. I don';t knowingly use hotlink protection, but I do watermark a few images (after being stolen a million times) and maybe that's the problem. I did notice that Google refuses to index watermarked images...but this sounds like a penalty for protecting our content. Google must assume that THEY THEMSELVES are a thief. LOL
4:44 am on July 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I have experienced this as well. But it correlates with the bug in indexed numbers in Search Console. It doesn't seem to be fixed yet. [searchengineland.com...]
5:08 am on July 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Thanks, nikhilrajir.... That's good news. From Barry's SEL post, which you've cited...
Gary Illyes from Google told me on Twitter “it’s confirmed” as a bug and the Google team is “working on it.”

As Barry noted during the last Google reporting bug, a Sitemaps issue, about 10 days ago. [seroundtable.com...]
This is not uncommon for the Google Search Console, formerly Google Webmaster Tools, reporting interfaces to have glitches. But this one is one of the more serious ones.

I'm wondering where this puts the SEMpost observations, and whether there is still a potential problem for some sites that do use hotlink protection.
5:46 am on July 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I think if you made any recent changes in images, how they are coded, added watermarks etc. / have prevented hotlinking then the drop in numbers needs to be investigated. If no such changes were made, I won't be bothered with that single graph. All my other graphs such as Google image traffic to the website have not shown any drops.
10:23 am on July 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Google fixed the sitemaps indexing numbers bug (Google confirmed it), so if you are seeing issues with dropped images now, it is not related to that bug. [thesempost.com...]

It is easy to just check in GSC to see if you have a manual action for image mismatch or do a fetch as Google to see if it returns errors for your images... then you will know if you need to fix something or if there is another reason for the drop in images.

RedBar, yes, you need to use GSC (formerly known as GWT) in order to see the manual action and it will also give you any other manual actions or errors Google has with your site.
12:18 pm on July 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Thought so Jenstar, I stopped using all Google products where possible a few years ago, I'll struggle on :-)
 

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