joined:Nov 13, 2016
Millions (exaggerated) of sites are hot linking images from my sites, and for some reason, Google picks these sites with my images, at the Google Image Search, instead of my sites.
I am blocking hot linking, so these images are not showing to humans, but, since GoogleBot is indexing my images, with these sites, this is still driving traffic to them, and not me.
So I thought of something. What if, I change the URL of all my images, and instead of setting a 301 redirect from the old URL to the new one, I set a canonical tag in the HTTP header, and then an empty content.
So a hit to an old URL would just have the HTTP header :
Link: <new_image_url >; rel="canonical"
And no content.
My theory is that, images will stop showing (like when blocking hot links) , but GoogleBot will also stop indexing the old URL and instead will index the new ones, therefore removing hot linkers from the image SERP.
Of course, this would be only temporarily since hot linkers will, at some point start hot linking my new URL.
I don't know if my explanations are clear.