On Wednesday 23 January 2013 Google announced a global update to its image search functionality, announcing that the changes were made to make image searching “faster, more beautiful, and more reliable”. No one can deny that Google has met these criteria with flying colours. The real question, though, is whether the changes are better for webmasters or for Google?
Search forums are awash with claims of traffic from image search falling by anything up to 50% following the update, causing webmasters even more sleepless nights after a year of fingernail-biting Penguin and Panda updates.
Affected webmasters are complaining that because high resolution images are displayed directly within image search there is no need for searchers to click through to visit the image in situ on the originating site, thus causing the reported drop in search referrals. Unfortunately for webmasters selling display advertising, the loss in page impressions means a reduction in impression inventory and a direct reduction in advertising revenue.
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