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Redirecting inbound image links to pages for SEO... worth the effort?

     
10:18 pm on Apr 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I replaced my ten year old photo site last August and am still contending with redirects and inbound links to the old images. I originally went live with just page to page redirects in place and quickly realized that the thousands up thousands of links to my images were crucial to my business. I ended up redirecting the old image urls to the new image urls through various layers of redirect code.

My old website used an odd system of creating urls for each image uploaded from the page's name and stripping the .jpg. So I ended up with thousands of image urls like: mysite.com/d/page-title/. In other words, the urls resembled pages and not typical image files.

Now, seeing how Google has managed to basically screw image site owners over and over through various redesign tricks in the last few years, I am finding ranking well in Google Images a lot less important to my business these days. I recently started redirecting those links to the pages containing those images, and not to their respective images directly. The result was that my traffic almost doubled in a matter of days, although a lot of those links were from old hotlinked image files on my sites and are perhaps not the best quality links. I am wondering if this could strategy could possible come back to bite me as A) bounce rate rises on my site B) number of spammy links into pages skyrockets, or C) links get removed as the new page redirect breaks the images on whatever page they were hotlinked from.

I left a certain subset with the old image to image redirects in place before making the huge investment in time to change all of them. Any educated guesses on whether this might help boost my pages at the expense of image traffic, and might be better or worse for my overall traffic in the long run?
12:42 am on Apr 18, 2017 (gmt 0)

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The only negative effect I can think of is the number of redirects, which Google says they don't like.

Googlebot-image caches the images in their image search results, so redirecting inbound links to images doesn't affect Google Image Search at all. The increase in page loads you're seeing is likely due to other image directories and, as you said, hot-links (which may be more than you think.)
1:29 am on Apr 18, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Thanks @keyplyr...perhaps I wasn't clear in my post. The inbound links were linking to the images on my old site. I redirected the old image URLs to the new image URLs on the new site. But at this point Google Images isn't really providing the traffic that it used to, and redirecting to the page the image is found on might actually benefit me a lot more.
1:55 am on Apr 18, 2017 (gmt 0)

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You were clear :)

Google Image Search does provide a link to the page the image is found on, but the user has to click "Visit Page."

Googlebot-image caches the images in their image search results, so redirecting inbound image links to pages will not do anything since they no longer hot-link to your site.

Google Image Search has not provided much inbound traffic for several years.
12:39 pm on June 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Google Images isn't really providing the traffic that it used to, and redirecting to the page the image is found on might actually benefit me a lot more.


This works well with a number of benefits. However, beware that some webmasters have copped manual 'image mismatch' penalties for doing this.
1:22 pm on June 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Googlebot-image caches the images

No, Google caches a "small" thumbnail of the images. Then when Google displays the full resolution on its preview window, it loads the image from your server.

Google Image Search does provide a link to the page the image is found on, but the user has to click "Visit Page."

If you click on the image itself, it goes to the page which hosts the image too.