Discourage search engines from indexing images option
Google increasingly uses various unauthorised third-party images in its horizontal Web Search and its specialised services like Google Images. It increasingly uses on-line images without the rightholders' consent, sometimes even against their explicit will. The search engines present images in full-size and high resolution on their sites and enable anybody to download them without ever having to click through to the original website hosting the image.
Although on many occasions, users might want their images to appear in search results, according to CEPIC (Center of the Picture Industry), 85% of pictures found online by visual search systems are unlawful copies and 80% of those images have been spread through search engines.
Although photographers and website owners have full control over their images, through various plugins and using a robots.txt file, there is often a lack of awereness about it.
So within the Media Library, it might be a nice idea to have an additional option to "Discourage search engines from indexing this image", and then users can be aware of this straight away and decide whether or not they want any of their images included in image searches or web searches.
You can do that via plugins, or by making your own robots file. Keep in mind, you may also need to block google via .htaccess/nginx rules for true prevention.
Yes, I know, and I did say "...website owners have full control over their images, through various plugins and using a robots.txt file".
The way I see is that it could be similar to the already built-in Search Engine Visibility option allowing users to choose whether or not to tick "Discourage search engines from indexing this site". There are also plugins for that (and it can also be done through a robots file), but it is nice it is already built in.
So I was just thinking it could also be nice to have something similar built-in for images with a tick box next to each image "Discourage search engines from indexing this image" in the Media Library. This would make it more obvious and easier for people.
I'm having this exact use case right now.
Did you find an easy solution to selectively set the robots of individual images within the WordPress admin?
I can individually set images to noindex in the .htaccess file with this code:
Header append X-Robots-Tag "noindex"
But my web hosting provider told me to not modify the .htaccess file as they will overwrite it when running updates. Thus I need a different solution.
A webhost that doesn't allow you to edit your .htaccess is a webhost you need to leave. That's a basic need for a website.
However you have other, less drastic, options.
1) Put an .htaccess in the wp-content folder
2) Use a plugin that lets you edit your robots.txt
3) Write a manual robots.txt
4) Use a plugin that lets you edit the redirects :/
Mind, a webhost should provide you SOME way to customize your .htaccess safely.
I didn't want to write a manual robots.txt. Instead, I chose to use a plugin called SEO Ultimate which includes a very nice Meta Robot Tags section with a media-specific settings page. But be aware that SEO Ultimate might conflict with other SEO plugins you might already use, so disable your other SEO plugin(s) first to test this one out. After that, it's down to personal choice and requirements.
@Mika: I like option 1, I wasn't aware I could do this.
@moggyone: Thanks for the suggestion. Will give this plugin a try since I don't like the Yoast SEO plugin anymore.
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