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Google Images not showing original source

alek [PersonRank 10]

Wednesday, December 3, 2008
15 years ago4,135 views

My has historically gotten quite a bit of traffic from Google Images ... but a few months ago, I saw an unexplainable noticeable drop. I thought that is strange – I haven't changed anything ... but stuff happens. And there was no signficant changes for "regular" Google traffic.

So I was poking around today and did a Google Image Search for "christmas lights komar" ... and while almost all of the results are from my site (and images I took!), the underlying domains that Google is showing them from is not, but other sites that have hot-linked to the images.

It's a bit annoying to take a bunch of pictures, put 'em up on my website, and then have Google link to other sites that use 'em – usually they are decent about trying to credit the original source, but that isn't happening here.

It almost appears my domain has been somehow "penalized" (only) by Google Images. Any idea why this is happening ... and better yet, what I can do to fix it?

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

This happens a lot with Google Images since a long time (ever?). Maybe it's because Google can't differentiate between the owner of an image simply utilizing an image storage domain (say, outsourcing images to, as they do), or someone else hotlinking your stuff. But if your site also embeds the image it would be fair and make sense if your site was preferred right? Or did your own page which embeds the pic drop out of the Google (web search) index?

alek [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

I may not have been clear above, but there has been no change in the "regular" Google rankings beside the nornal ups and downs. It is just the Google Images that the domain no longer appears to get credit for, even though they are my images.

And yes, this happens all the time, but I *had* been getting a decent amount of image traffic until this Summer ... when BAM, I just got dropped. Ironically, many of the sites that hot-link the image also have links to my text pages. For instance, the #1 result in Google Images for "christmas lights komar" is

And yes, I embed the images in my own HTML which is on the same domain – heck, that's why I take the pictures! ;-) is a total "white hat" site, so nothing "nefarious" being done ... so I'm almost inclined to think that somehow a bug in Google Index'ing code for Images is inadvertently getting tickled – maybe someone at Google will read this and look into it since I suspect this could be affecting other legit sites.

Ionut Alex. Chitu [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

Not all the sites hot-link your images. The top result for the query you've mentioned is:
which is connected to the page

The trouble with your site is that the images are less discoverable (they're included in an iframe) and they have dynamic URLs that include the current date. Maybe you should create a page that highlights some of your best pics, so that they have static URLs and people could link to that "best of" page.

alek [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

Ooops ... yea, you are correct IAC ... my apologies ... although that *IS* my image – original is here:

An example of hot-linking is result #6 – here's #18 (see near the bottom) –

Of the 18 images listed on the first page of Image Results (for me with, all but three are images of mine. The source pages for those HTML mostly all link back to HTML on my site ... so one would think that would add credence to being the source.

I guess the real underlying question is why doesn't the domain rank better for that query – there are plenty of images in the index as seen when you do a site search –

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