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Google Images redesign (Jan. 2013), traffic drop and workaround (22 posts)

  1. Parneix
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    [Moved to Miscellaneous Forum - this isn't really a WordPress issue]

    Hi,

    It’s being documented by numerous webmasters on various forum (see links below): Google Images redesign –implemented around Jan. 25, 2013– allows user to get hi-res version of any image without visiting the website where the image is hosted, resulting in significant loss in traffic from /imgres referral (which can be monitored from Google Analytics>Traffic Sources>Referrals>click on “google.com”)

    This post is not about throwing stones or calling names, nor panicking, but simply documenting possible workaround. Solutions exist: see for example http://goo.gl/owaa4
    And try to get hi-res version of those images: you’ll be redirected to the actual page of the original website where the image is hosted (NOT simply redirected to the home page of said website).

    I believe it’s a kind of hotlinking protection, but I’m not sure how it works. Furthermore, hotlinking protection is a delicate tool to use:
    1) You don’t want your image NOT to be indexed by Google Images
    2) You need some bot to be able to access them: Facebook, Twitter (for their OpenGraph protocol), etc.

    So I was wondering if anyone has some experience about this issue. Relevant links follow:

    http://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/websearch/l8HrtHF_dzs
    http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4537063.htm
    http://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/websearch/l8HrtHF_dzs

    Thanks,

    P.

  2. jordanmcclements
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    I second, third, and fourth that sentiment.

    If anyone can tell us how to do this on WordPress, they will be my new best friend (admittedly that's not a very good prize).

  3. Danielle
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    I have also searching for this solution, Trying to hover a layer on the pic with jquery and redirect that one too your post using php like hust attachment to post, a combo of that .. or something

    Till I find that one, I block google image bot.

  4. daveszt
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Jordan, I think being your best friend would be great! Anyone who can get this working on WordPress would also be my best friend as we've seen a 50% drop in Google traffic since this change was implemented.

    Yet again another Google update which penalises the little guy. So frustrating!

  5. jordanmcclements
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    :-).

    It's so frustrating because this update is not in any way about improving the relevance of results, it is only about improving Google's bottom line at the expense of publishers!

  6. altfgcom
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Traffic has dropped by about 30% in the last week, thanks to Google Images' scraping tactics. I've already vented my disgust elsewhere, so I won't do it here...

    A few days ago, we began blocking blank referrers via .htaccess -- that's the only way we've found to block Google Images from displaying our high-res. images and using up our bandwidth. However, that means we've inadvertently blocked every bot's indexing of our images (not only Google's bot, but also Yahoo's and Bing's). In the last five or six days, none of our images have been indexed by the three major search engines.

    If anyone figures out a way to prevent Google Images from hotlinking to your images -- without actually blocking their bot from crawling your site, that would be phenomenal.

    I'm sure there's a *technical* solution somewhere (see Parneix's link above) -- in other words, one that doesn't involve a petition or a lawsuit.

  7. jordanmcclements
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    A proper 'redirect' solution would be a fantastic start, though I think you'll still find that traffic will be decreased as the lower res image that Google shows people now (as if they own it) will be good enough for a lot of people.

  8. altfgcom
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    But Google only shows lower res. images *if* their hotlinking is blocked. Else, they show high-res. images. At least, that has been our experience.

    We've noticed an increase in traffic -- about 15%-20% -- since we began implementing the hotlinking block. However, we're still about 30% below our pre-late Jan. levels.

    The fact that our new images haven't gotten indexed anywhere is surely part of the problem.

    But yes, a redirect to the page where the image is located would be great...

    Ah, and something else worth remembering, and this is actually a good thing: It's not just the "little guy" that has been affected. Huge sites that rely on images for a good chunk of their traffic have been *badly* affected as well.

    Only one website has come out on top in this mess: Google.

  9. Parneix
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    For what it’s worth: there’s now an online solution over at Change.org

  10. beggers
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    I'm glad to see this post! Yes, we need an emergency fix for this.

    My traffic from Google Images dropped at least 30% when they switched to the new format. Prior to this, you could use a simple plugin to break out of the frame at Google so that when someone clicked on a thumbnail they'd get redirected to your site page automatically. None of this works anymore.

    The "solution" in the previous post is just a petition.

    There is a plugin and some code called "Break Google Dance". Has anyone tried it?

    I'm not a great programmer but it seems as though some code could check to see if the referrer is Google and if so, redirect to the full page instead of just showing the photo.

  11. beggers
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Parneix, the site you mention in your first post has figured out the solution. If you know them, could you please ask them for the code?

    As a side note, I've installed the "Break Google Dance" plugin and code and I can say that it mostly works, but it breaks if you hit View Page first and come back to view the original image. I posted that issue for the author.

    One thing I'll say is that when I installed the code I went from 30 users online to 180 online, most of which are coming in through Google again. That should give you an idea of the impact of this problem. Thanks.

  12. Parneix
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Hi,

    I did write to them and they kindly answered: all the coding was handled by a web development company whom they paid. They could not provide me with any technical information.

    I don’t know them personally, I simply used the contact form on their page to get in touch with the webmaster.

    P.

  13. beggers
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    I tried the "Break Google Dance" but eventually removed it. Here's why. I installed it early this morning and instantly noticed about 8x more traffic from Google Images. At first I thought this was great but after monitoring it throughout the morning I realized that I was getting a lot of traffic but not getting any additional revenue from AdSense. Then, as it got later in the morning and the East Coast kicked in, I watched my server load gradually skyrocket to the point where my server was about to crash, so I removed the code. I'm not really sure what to make of all this. Maybe there are just too many hits to the htaccess code and plugin code.

    It also breaks my Pinterest Widget (Pinterest keeps saying the image link is invalid).

    As far as Google Image itself, I was posting new images during the time I was running the plugin but none were added to Google's database. After deactivating the plugin, a couple of new thumbnails appeared but none of the full-size images have appeared even as of tonight. I hope I haven't been blocked for using this code. I'll find out in a while when I start posting again.

  14. Jonathan
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Using the Google Breakdance plugin. Actually I just took the code and added it to functions.php and htacess. Seems to be working out fine. Don't know about any server load issues yet.

    Something is going to have to be done about Google. The ammount of power they have is just dangerous.

  15. Parneix
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    For those curious, the plugin is called “Google Break Dance”. The instructions and comment are in Indonesian (I think) but can be translated with the help of Google Translate).

    My question would be:

    1) How those the plugin affect the installation exactly? Hotlinking protection can be tricky. For example, is using those services, Facebook and Twitter must be allow to link to images. Those the plugin target specifically Google Images bot?

    2) How does the plugin impact the indexation of images. One way to study that would be to monitor Google Webmaster Tools. Images can be submitted to index manually (code in WordPress installation) or with the use of a plugin.

    I understand the plugin is a workaround. Just trying to improve the documentation.

    P.

  16. I added this to my robots.txt:

    User-agent: Googlebot-Image
    Disallow: /

    Then I put in my usual anti-hotlink code: http://perishablepress.com/creating-the-ultimate-htaccess-anti-hotlinking-strategy/

  17. Nina Papaioannou
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Hi,
    I can't find my blog images in google image search. What does this mean? Help!

    http://trendsurvivor.com

  18. Parneix
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    @Nina: It would be better for you to open another thread about this issue and, if possible, to provide more details about the nature of your problem. It would allow you to get more useful suggestions and comments.

    P.

  19. jordanmcclements
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    This plugin works pretty well for me.:-

    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/imaguard/

    A big thanks to the writers from me!

    (It would be perfect in my eyes if it allowed redirection to original post, but it's still brilliant).

  20. Parneix
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    @jordanmcclements That looks really promising. It has option to let Googlebot crawl the site and also whitelist friendly referers.

    As for allowing redirection to the original post, they talked about it here, provided some code to hack the plugin accordingly and wrote that it may be included in the upcoming versions. Which is great news.

    Thanks for sharing!

    P.

  21. Emilian Robert Vicol
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    As an alternative, try WP-PICShield, perhaps fits your needs :
    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/byrev-wp-picshield-hotlink-defence/

    • Caching Support - Save resources & speed-up your website.
    • Pass-Through Request with "HTTP/1.1 200 OK" response; without redirection to new images; results in search engines is not affected!
    • Anti-IFRAME Protection, make sure that your site content is not displayed embed in another website (a.k.a bing search images result)
    • Redirect direct-link images from google images to: attachment template page, single/gallery or home page (optional, enabled by default)
    • Protection against unauthorized requests
    • For a quick execution, configuration is applied directly from customized script file. (works even if the plugin is uninstalled and the settings are manually added)
    • Allow Online Translators (will be served directly)
    • Allow share button for socials sites. Facebook, Pinterest, Thumblr, Twitter, Google Plus - will be served directly; without this, share button will not work! (optional, enabled by default)
    • Allow self server - Share images to: WordPress via RPC and Twitter via RPC, will not work without this update !
    • Source host over image in QR-BarCode Format. Bottom right position; Offers the opportunity to visit the site with smartphones using "barcode scanner" software (optional: disabled by default)
    • Allow self server - Share images to: WordPress via RPC and Twitter via OAuth, will not work without this update !

    +

    • Custom Watermark image/opacity,
    • Write source host over images
    • Custom image transparency value
    • Custom PNG watermark filename
    • defines a list of search engines or bots that are allowed to access/crawl the real images
    • defines a list of other sites (referrer) that are allowed to display images from your site.

    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/byrev-wp-picshield-hotlink-defence/

  22. Jonathan
    Member
    Posted 8 months ago #

    It took me a long time to figure it out, but I finally was able to defeat Google and their sneaky tactics. I have written a comprehensive guide so that you can stop Google image search from stealing your photos.

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