Google has announced a new update for referral traffic from Google Images, which will help website managers better track their visitor sources.
As explained by Google:
“For webmasters, it hasn’t always been easy to understand the role Google Images plays in driving site traffic. To address this, we will roll out a new referrer URL specific to Google Images over the next few months. The referrer URL is part of the HTTP header, and indicates the last page the user was on and clicked to visit the destination webpage.”
Google says that hundreds of millions of people use Google Images every day to discover and explore web content, and this new measure will make it easier to more accurately track such referrals, helping to better optimize website content. Understanding which of your images are driving traffic – and why – could give you another way to boost your SEO process, and maximize traffic opportunities.
Image SEO is often overlooked, or misunderstood, so it’s good to see Google making an effort to provide more transparency, and clarity, on the process.
The new referrer URL will have the same country level domain as the URL used for searching on Google Images. Most visitors, regardless of region, will come from images.google.com, but some will still come via a country-specific service, such as google.co.uk for the UK. In those cases, the referrer will uses that country’s TLD – so you’d see ‘images.google.co.uk’ as the referrer, as opposed to the generic site.
It may not be a game-changer, but you might also be surprised to find out just how much traffic Google Images is providing your site.
The new changes will go into effect this week.
If you're interested in learning how to optimize your pages for Google Images, please refer to the Google Image Publishing Guidelines.