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What the New Google Image Search Means for SEO

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Let’s face it: Google controls the internet. You have to play by their rules if you want to attract traffic, gain exposure, and target leads.

But what happens when Google makes fundamental changes to one of their longstanding search features? We’re about to find out.

Google recently removed the “View Image” button on their search by image feature. This means that users now have to access a website first in order to see an image.

This small change could make a big difference when it comes to image SEO. Here’s what the industry really thinks of the change and how you can keep optimizing your images.

The Change

It seems like an odd move for Google to change their image search. But there’s a method to their madness.

Google endorsed this move as something that helps connect users with useful websites. But many believe Google changed their image search in response to a complaint from Getty Images.

Getty Images filed the complaint in 2016. They claimed that this search feature made it easier for people to pirate copyrighted images.

What does that mean for you?

Let’s say you’re searching for a generic picture of a businesswoman. The picture you like from VPS hosting would appear in search. You could previously click on the image to view without clicking through to their site.

Now? You must visit the VPS site in order to view and download the picture.

Users can still find and download the image without going to a website. But they have to right-click the image and open it in a new tab. This small step might be enough to cause users to visit websites directly to view images.

SEO Impact

How does Google’s change impact image SEO?

It’s too early to tell the full impact. However, this might give businesses better tools to optimize their websites through images.

Google’s new image search will translate into more direct traffic to pages with pictures. Images were already an important element of SEO. But this change will further emphasize the importance of image optimization for overall rank.

SEO experts can take advantage of this change by optimizing the image text and alt text. This will make images as searchable as other site content.

The image title and alt-text should be descriptive and include keywords based on research. The images should also be mobile-friendly and easy to access across multiple platforms.

Image size, schema markup, and structured data will also be important to SEO rank. For now, the standard image SEO rules will continue to apply.

Some SEO experts believe that the image search change will be harmful to SEO. They believe that users would rather not view an image than click through to a new website.

This may be true. But focusing on image optimization can help mitigate the damage and encourage more traffic to click through.

Your Image SEO

The recent changes to Google’s image search showcase the volatile nature of SEO. Stay up to date on more Google updates to dominate SEO for years to come.

Did you find this blog useful? For more blogs on optimizing images, check out our other blog posts on SEO tools.