Google: Changing Image URLs Will Affect Rankings in Image Search

Google’s John Mueller cautions web site homeowners {that a} change to picture URLs will have an effect on how they rank in picture search outcomes.

This is especially related to websites that get lots of site visitors from Google Images.

Changing a picture URL, regardless that it’s the identical picture showing on the identical web page, will consequence in Google treating it as a brand new picture.

So it must be recrawled, reprocessed, reindexed, and work its approach up the rankings once more.

That might take a very long time, as Mueller notes, as a result of pictures should not crawled as typically as net pages.

The subject of picture search rankings got here up throughout a latest Google Webmaster Central hangout the place the next query was submitted:

“We’ll have a technical change in our shop that will change all of our image URLs… Does Google know that this is the same picture? Or will we lose rankings? Should we set up redirects for image URLs?”

Mueller responded with an emphatic “yes.”

Changing picture URLs will completely have an effect on how these pictures rank.

However, the injury could be mitigated by establishing redirects.

Redirecting previous picture URLs to new URLs will ahead rating indicators from the previous pictures to the brand new ones.

Using redirects is a “fantastic” method to take care of the state of affairs, Mueller says.

Avoid altering picture URLs it in any respect doable. But, if it must be finished, make certain redirects are in place.

You can hear the total query and reply in the video under, beginning on the 17-minute mark.

“Yes, this will affect your website in Google Images in the image search. In particular, if we see changes in URLs with regards to embedded images then that’s something where we will have to go off and first recrawl those images, reprocess them, reindex them, and get them all ready for image search again.

So if you just change the URLs that are referenced within your pages then that will result in those images being seen as new images. And with regards to your ranking they will kind of have to work their way up again.

So setting up redirects, like you mentioned, that’s a fantastic way to do that. Because that way we know the old images are related to the new ones and we can forward any signals we have from the old ones to the new images. So that’s really what you should be aiming for there.

This is particularly relevant if a site gets a lot of traffic from image search. And it’s something where image search is a little bit different from web search, in that with images we find that images tend not to change as much so we don’t crawl them as frequently.

So if you make significant changes in the image URL structure that you’re using it’s going to take a lot longer for us to reprocess them.

So, in particular for images, you really need to make sure that those redirects are set up. And that’s something that often times you don’t see directly because you load the page, it refers to those new image URLs, and you don’t realize that actually those redirects between the old image URLs and the new image URLs is missing.

So, if you get a significant amount of traffic from Google Images, make sure to have those details covered.”

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