Google’s Image Search is Back!
Since the addition of Google’s “view image” button back in January 2013, massive drops in image traffic was experienced by large enterprises. Majority of the affected sites are those who put in considerably large amount of time and effort to optimize their site for image catalogues, content management system, and XML sitemaps for the search engines. This drop was due mainly to the redirection of users who search for images but instead are forced to go to the main site; clicking the “view image” button was provided by Google so that a page which contains the images appears for the user’s consumption.
Getty Images Issue
Affected parties did not agree with this and eventually started putting up a fight. Three years after the addition of the view images button, one of the badly affected sites, Getty Images, filed an anti-trust complaint against Google in the European Commission. The company said that Google had been scraping photos from its publisher’s sites and the new format allowed users to view their high resolution images without visiting the site thus affecting the website’s revenues and traffic as well.
Two years after the complaint, on February 14, 2016, Google returned to the old format of Google Images by removing the view image button, confirming on February 15, 2016 that this was due to the settlement case between them and Getty Images:
Search Engine Land’s Research
According to a post from Search Engine Land, an average of 37% increase in clicks from a total of 58 sites surveyed was achieved after the reversion; majority of these sites have a tremendous amount of catalog images reaching to 100,000 images. Also, from the research, officers from Stocksy.com and Dreamstime have reported increases of 50% in clicks and 10% in conversions respectively.
Question: Is there a Need to Optimize for Images?
With these developments, there is definitely a need to put your efforts in optimizing for Image Search. But one thing that you should always be sure of is to follow all Google’s guidelines and you’re good to go.