Google Images sidebar is gone and how to benefit from the change

At the end of January 2013 Google unveiled its new Google Images interface redesign. Hongyi Li, Associate Product Manager at Google, explained, “Instead of sending you over to a whole new page to preview an image, you’ll see a preview of the image in your search results.”

New Google Images interface

The new Google Images interface.

Many webmasters were disappointed with the change citing a significant decrease in traffic from Google Images since the design update. When a searcher clicks to view an image, not only does Google display a larger image within the interface but there is no loading of the page that the image is hosted on as there was before with a sidebar.

To increase the odds that a searcher will click through to your site from Google Images, watermark all your uploaded images to encourage them to do so.

Google Images watermark

Demotivational Posters watermarks their images shown on Google Images

DemotivationalPosters.net only watermarks images that get crawled by Google Imagebot. Here are the server header details:


1. REQUESTING: http://cdn.motinetwork.net/demotivationalposters.net/image/demotivational-poster/1002/early-concept-bat-signal-demotivational-poster-1265044541.gif#Report
GET /demotivationalposters.net/image/demotivational-poster/1002/early-concept-bat-signal-demotivational-poster-1265044541.gif HTTP/1.1
Accept: */*
Accept-Encoding: gzip
Accept-Charset: ISO-8859-1,utf-8;q=0.7,*;q=0.7
Accept-Language: en-us,en;q=0.5
User-Agent: Googlebot-Image/1.0
Host: cdn.motinetwork.net
Connection: Keep-Alive

SERVER RESPONSE: 302 Found
Server: nginx/1.0.15
Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2013 17:26:53 GMT
Content-Type: text/html
Content-Length: 161
Connection: keep-alive
Keep-Alive: timeout=10
Location: http://www.motinetwork.net/moticache.php?site=demotivationalposters.net&f=image/demotivational-poster/1002/early-concept-bat-signal-demotivational-poster-1265044541.gif
Redirecting to http://www.motinetwork.net/moticache.php?site=demotivationalposters.net&f=image/demotivational-poster/1002/early-concept-bat-signal-demotivational-poster-1265044541.gif ...

2. REQUESTING: http://www.motinetwork.net/moticache.php?site=demotivationalposters.net&f=image/demotivational-poster/1002/early-concept-bat-signal-demotivational-poster-1265044541.gif
GET /moticache.php?site=demotivationalposters.net&f=image/demotivational-poster/1002/early-concept-bat-signal-demotivational-poster-1265044541.gif HTTP/1.1
Accept: */*
Accept-Encoding: gzip
Accept-Charset: ISO-8859-1,utf-8;q=0.7,*;q=0.7
Accept-Language: en-us,en;q=0.5
User-Agent: Googlebot-Image/1.0
Host: www.motinetwork.net
Connection: Keep-Alive

SERVER RESPONSE: 200 OK
Server: nginx/1.0.15
Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2013 17:26:54 GMT
Content-Type: image/jpeg
Transfer-Encoding: chunked
Connection: keep-alive
Keep-Alive: timeout=10

DESTINATION URI: http://www.motinetwork.net/moticache.php?site=demotivationalposters.net&f=image/demotivational-poster/1002/early-concept-bat-signal-demotivational-poster-1265044541.gif

Google Imagebot indexes the watermarked image and once the searcher clicks to the site they see the regular image.

For those who worry about how this may effect your image rankings, Peter Lindsay, Product Manager for Image Search, said in an interview from 2009, “The presence of a watermark doesn’t itself cause an image to be ranked higher or lower.”