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Google Images SEO: 7 Reasons Google Isn’t Indexing Your Website’s Images

Is Google reluctant to index your website’s images? Google has an image-based search engine that reveals indexed images. Known as Google Images, it accounts for up to 60 percent of a typical website’s search traffic, according to Moz. Users can search for keywords on Google Images to find relevant images. They’ll only encounter your website’s images, however, if Google has indexed them.

Embedding From an External Source

If you embed an image from an external source, Google may choose not to index it. Embedded images are those that are uploaded to one website but published on a different site. When a visitor visits a page on your website with an embedded image, his or her browser will retrieve it from the external source. The embedded image will simply come from the external source rather than your own website.

Embedded images can still show up on Google Images, but they’ll typically link to the source. Google won’t index them for your website, so visitors won’t be able to follow them to your website. Rather, Google will index embedded images for the source or sources from which you acquired them.

Using Duplicate Images

Google may not index duplicate images. Publishing an image on your website that’s already been published on several other websites, for instance, may prevent it from showing up on Google Images. Alternatively, reusing the same custom image on two or more pages of your website can restrict its visibility.

You can often convert duplicate images into unique images by making subtle design changes to them. Adding overlay text or shadow effects to an image can make it unique. You can also change the orientation, dimensions or colors of an image to make it unique.

Of course, duplicate images aren’t necessarily bad as long you have copyrights to them. Most websites have some duplicate images in the form of template elements like the header and footer. Just don’t expect Google to index the same image multiple times. Like with duplicate text content, Google will usually index the original version of an image while ignoring subsequent and duplicate versions.

Irrelevant Metadata

You should check the metadata of your website’s images. Google may not index images if they feature irrelevant metadata. Metadata is supplementary information about a file. You can create it for Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) files, video files and image files.

When uploading an image to your website, you can create an alt text description for it. Alt text descriptions are a form of metadata. They allow you to tell visitors and Google what an image depicts in plain text. Screen reading software can read alt text descriptions aloud for visitors who have a visual impairment.

Irrelevant alt text descriptions are deceiving. They don’t provide an accurate representation of images. Instead, they deceive visitors. Visitors who use screen reading software will think an image depicts something other than what it really depicts. If Google discovers an image with an irrelevant alt text description, it may not index it.

Using the noImageIndex Directive

Using the noImageIndex directive will prevent Google from indexing your website’s images. It’s a robots protocol directive that’s designed to stop search engines from indexing images. If you use the noImageIndex directive on a page, Google won’t index any of the page’s images.

The noImageIndex is available as a meta tag, X-Robots-Tag and a robots.txt directive. Unless you want Google to ignore the images on a page, you should avoid using it. Regardless of which of the three supported formats you use, the noImageIndex will prevent Google from indexing the page’s images.

Deploying Images on a CDN

Deploying your website’s images on a content delivery network (CDN) can lead to indexing issues. CDNs are server node clusters that upload content to visitors when requested. Without a CDN, visitors will only be able to download content from your website’s main server. A CDN will allow you to use multiple servers to distribute content, resulting in faster page load times.

Using a CDN may change the URLs of your website’s images. Rather than featuring branded URLs with your website’s domain, they’ll feature third-party URLs with the CDN’s domain. You’ll need to ensure that Google can crawl these third-party URLs and, thus, access the deployed images. Even if it can crawl your website’s domain-branded URLs, Google may not be able to crawl third-party URLs with the CDN’s domain.

Formatting as CSS Backgrounds

Images formatted as Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) backgrounds won’t appear on Google Images. CSS supports the background property, which you can use to specify the background image for an element. Images formatted as CSS backgrounds will show up on your website, but Google won’t index them.

Google says it only parses HTML images. It doesn’t parse CSS background images, nor does it index them. Web browsers will process CSS background images, but Google will essentially ignore them.

Not Waiting Long Enough

It can take a while for Google to index images after publishing them. When you publish a new image, you’ll have to wait for Google’s spider, Googlebot, to crawl the page on which it’s featured. Even then, Google will have to process the image’s metadata and other signals to determine what keywords the image should rank for

To speed up the process, you can generate an image sitemap. Image sitemaps are directory files that contain image URLs and, in some cases, metadata. After generating an image sitemap, go ahead and upload it to your website. You can then submit to Google using Search Console. There’s a sitemap submission tool in Search Console. Entering the URL of the image sitemap will submit it to Google. It will force Google to crawl the image sitemap and, thus, find all new images on your website.

To generate search traffic from Google Images, you must compel Google to index your website’s images. Only indexed images will show up on Google Images. Maybe you’re embedding images from an external source, or perhaps you’re using irrelevant metadata. If Google isn’t indexing your website’s images, you’ll need to identify and resolve the problem.

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Google Not Indexing Images

Last Updated in 2022-06-06T10:03:00+00:00 by Lukasz Zelezny