New Google Image Search Layout Screws Publishers

If you’ve used Google Images lately, you probably noticed the new layout they recently rolled out. As someone who uses this site on a daily basis, I never had any complaints with the old setup, so I was surprised by the complete overhaul of the system.

Google Images

Unfortunately, while the new system has slick new features, it also has it’s fair share of shortcomings, for both end-users and publishers.

On the end-user side, it’s much more work to search for similar images. You have to select a photo, click on “Image details”, and then go to the Visually similar images section.

On the publisher side, they’re now losing traffic and revenue, since Google allows the searcher to “View original image”, which bypasses the site altogether (and the ads that would get displayed with it), and instead links directly to the image itself. So they’re still chewing up your bandwidth, but there’s no upside for the publisher.

In the past, savvy webmasters would optimize their images and descriptions specifically to drive traffic to their site. With this recent change, that’s no longer really possible. Google claims that by offering a “Visit page” option for the visitor, they still can come to the publisher’s site if they want to. But the traffic logs tell the real story, showing a MASSIVE drop since these changes rolled out.

Some webmasters are actually talking about blocking Google via robots.txt, since they don’t see any upside. I think that might be a little premature, but it’s definitely something to think about, especially if lots of your bandwidth is being eaten up by Google Image searchers who don’t visit your site.

Unfortunately, unnecessary changes like this seems to be a popular trend with Google, just like when they overhauled Google Analytics and took away of the features that we came to rely on.. Here’s hoping that they reconsider some of the changes they’ve made.


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6 Responses to “New Google Image Search Layout Screws Publishers”

  1. Aron says:

    Revenue drop is 60% for me.
    We will see how this will finish .. if thy don’t change anything than Im going to block the image bot.

  2. Mike says:

    Yep…this is very bad for webmasters…they cut your traffic..not ok from goolg…we made google and our content..now they wanna keep all gold for they

  3. Sean says:

    Yeah, this pretty much sucks! Of course, Google will say they’re doing this to improve the end-user experience. Frustrating, to say the least!

  4. cantueso says:

    I am at WordPress, and my stats are down about 50% on one blog and more like 70% on the other blog.

    The question is: why did Google do this? In whose interest? Where is the advertising income now? There must be a purpose to this change, but what could it be?

    And I saw only 1 blogger who had an idea of how to fight back: by disabling hotlinking to his blog.

  5. As far as I am concerned it goes beyond fair use and is outright copyright violation.

    However, it looks like at least one site has worked out how to get round it (i.e. redirect people to the page the original image came from) which would be a really big step in the right direction for any site that gets Google image search traffic.

    Further info here :-

    http://money-from-photos.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/google-decide-that-making-people-visit.html

    And I’ll be updating that post when I work out how to do it myself.

  6. Kari Christensen says:

    I am very unhappy with the new design. It is bad news for websites and searchers. I hate not being able to see a website immediately. I don’t know why there isn’t an option to use the old UI.

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