Webmasters report more problems with Google’s image search

As mentioned yesterday, Google introduced a new manual action penalty for websites that do not show the same images to Google and website visitors.

Google Images cache tricks

In an online discussion, Craig Miller, Vice President of Marketing at Shopify.com, said that many of Shopify.com’s users had problems with their image SEO:

“Our merchants seem to be have issues with their image SEO. It’s a common complaint in our discussion forums and I have confirmed that indeed have issues being indexed and showing up on images.google.com.”

It turned out that the “cache busting” feature that is used by Shopify is the reason for the problem. The Shopify pages delivered a different image URL every time a page was requested. Google’s Eric Kuan explained:

“The cache busting feature is causing Google to recognize your images as different every time it crawls your page. Because of this, it’s causing problems indexing a lot of images on your sites.”

If the image URLs change every time a page is requested, Google cannot assign an image to a particular page or a particular product.

How to avoid these problems

Do not change the URL of your images (or your web pages) to avoid cached versions of your images on Google. This might send mixed signals to Google which eventually lead to ranking problems.

Image search is only one way to promote your website. The vast majority of searchers uses Google’s regular search box. If you want to get your website in Google’s regular results, try the tools in SEOprofiler. SEOprofiler offers a complete suite of search engine optimization tools that help you to get your web pages on the first result page:

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