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

How to Increase Your Referral Traffic from the New Google Images

    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.”

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    One thought on “How to Increase Your Referral Traffic from the New Google Images”

    1. Interesting strategy to adapt to the changes in Google Image search, and I can see how this would work to get some more click-thrus to their site. But I have to think at least some users will likely move on to another search result once prompted, or at least at first blush think the photo has a big watermark before they look for more results.

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