Google announced an update of the ranking algorithm for image search in their official blog. To determine the position of an image in image search, Google now uses page authority and the placement of an image on a page.
Images that are higher up on a page get higher rankings. The same applies to images that seem to be the main image on a page. Images on fresh pages might also have an advantage.
“We’ve overhauled the Google Images algorithm to rank results that have both great images and great content on the page.
For starters, the authority of a web page is now a more important signal in the ranking. If you’re doing a search for DIY shelving, the site behind the image is now more likely to be a site related to DIY projects.
We also prioritize fresher content, so you’re more likely to visit a site that has been updated recently.
Also, it wasn’t long ago that if you visited an image’s web page, it might be hard to find the specific image you were looking for when you got there. We now prioritize sites where the image is central to the page, and higher up on the page.
So if you’re looking to buy a specific pair of shoes, a product page dedicated to that pair of shoes will be prioritized above, say, a category page showing a range of shoe styles.”
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