Tag Archives: Google Image Search

Google Image Search Adds Captions To Search Results From Your Page Titles

Google announced yesterday they have added captions to the image search results in Google Image search. They get the captions by using the title attribute from the web page the image is on…

Google Image Search Product Schema Shows New Product Filter

Back in December 2016, Google introduced product schema for image search and announced it in April 2017. Now…

Google Chrome extensions bringing back ‘View Image’ & ‘Search by Image’ buttons in Google Image Search

Google killed off some much-loved features in image search. Now here are some Chrome extensions that bring back that functionality.

The post Google Chrome extensions bringing back ‘View Image’ & ‘Search by Image’ buttons in Google Image Search appeared first on Search…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Google Image Search Removes Features Over Getty Images Legal Spat

Remember a few days ago I told you Google was going to make changes to Google Image Search because of the Getty Images legal spat and deal they closed recently…

Google Image Search removes View Image button and Search by Image feature

After making a deal with Getty Images, Google has revamped some of their image search features and user experience.

The post Google Image Search removes View Image button and Search by Image feature appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


Google Image Search to Make Copyright Disclaimers More Visible by @MattGSouthern

Google will be updating its image search results to make copyright disclaimers more prominent.

The post Google Image Search to Make Copyright Disclaimers More Visible by @MattGSouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal.


Google Image Search to Make Copyright Disclaimers More Visible by @MattGSouthern

Google will be updating its image search results to make copyright disclaimers more prominent.

The post Google Image Search to Make Copyright Disclaimers More Visible by @MattGSouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

Google Image Search Does Not Index Images From CSS

Google’s John Mueller said this morning in a webmaster hangout at the 20:55 mark that Google Image search does not index and rank images from CSS background code…

Which is the best search engine for finding images?

Images make the web beat. And human beings process visuals faster than they do text. In the last decade, the number of images uploaded on the internet has exploded.

Finding the perfect image to feature on your website, blog post or marketing email can be crucial to grabbing the audience’s attention, livening up a page, or illustrating a point. (And if you optimize it properly, it can also be beneficial to your SEO). To do that, you of course need a good search engine.

The web has plenty of different options for image search, from general search engines with an image search function to dedicated search engines for browsing and indexing images. But which offer the best experience?

In this post, we’re going to compare the best search engines for conducting three categories of image search on the web.

Category 1: General image search

Ever searched for [word + image] on the web? This is the basic type of image search people do on the internet and it comes in handy for day-to-day searches.

The top search engines for performing general searches are as follows:

Google Images

Google remains the go-to source for information, not only because of its large database but simply because its interface is one of the best.  You can use several filters for your searches and also search for images by voice.

Using its advanced search options, you can filter images by size, color, type of image (photo, clip art, etc) and you can also search for images on a specific site. For example, you could search for images of a PC solely from makeuseof.com or pcmag.com.

Google Images advanced search result for the term PC, from www.makeuseof.com or www.pcmag.com

Unfortunately, the advanced search option isn’t visible on the landing page, so to reach it, searchers will need to select ‘Settings’ and then ‘Advanced search’. This will navigate you to a separate page where you can input your desired parameters before being taken to image search results.

Images also appear as thumbnails and don’t enlarge on hover, so you have to click through to get a full view of the images. If you’re wary of Google’s all-seeing eye, then you may be interested in some alternative search engines, which will be discussed below.

Bing Images

Bing is Google’s top contender when it comes to search, and image search is no different. Whereas Google’s interface can appear bland to some people, Bing’s interface is rich and colorful. As Jessie Moore wrote in her recent article, image search may be one of those things that Bing does better than Google.

Similar to Google, searchers can filter photos by color, type, layout, image size, and – crucially to people looking for Creative Commons licensed images – license. Unlike Google, Bing’s filter options are available on the search results pages so you don’t have to navigate away from the page. The only real drawback to Bing’s image search is that you can’t search for images by voice.

Yahoo image search

Though Yahoo might seem a bit passé to many of our readers, for image search, Yahoo is genuinely one of the best options. Its ownership of image-sharing site Flickr comes in really handy here, as photos from Flickr are integrated in image search results, making it a go-to source for custom, user-generated images. Flickr users also have the option to simply save images from their searches to their Flickr account.

The Yahoo search interface is also sleek and straight to the point. Like the Bing interface, all image filters are available on the search results page, so users can set their preferences easily to fine-tune the results.

Category 2: Reverse image search

Ever found a picture of a strange animal or building and wanted to learn more about it? That’s where reverse image search comes in. Although this search method is relatively new, it has increasingly become popular.  And it comes in really handy for webmasters and content creators.

Here are some of the benefits of reverse image search:

  1. Verifying the source of an image. With reverse image search, you can trace the original source of an image and how the image has changed over time. It is particularly effective for authenticating people profiles, news stories, and images of events.
  1. Tracking copyrighted images. Photographers and content creators (e.g. of infographics) can use reverse image search to learn how their content is used on the internet. If you create your own images, this can help you keep track of who is using your images without attribution.
  1. Finding similar images. Reverse searching images can help you find better shots or options for an image.

Now that you know the benefits of reverse image search, here are three of the best search engines for getting the job done:

TinEye Reverse Image Search

Tineye is the pioneer when it comes to reverse image search engine. The service was launched in 2008, three years before Google included an option for reverse search.

Users can either upload an image to the site or provide the image’s URL and the site finds similar images from its over 24 billion image repository. File sizes are limited to 20MB, and the image has to be in JPG, PNG or GIF formats. Users can sort their results by best match, most changed, biggest image, and so on.

TinEye comes in a free and premium version. With the free version, users can perform a maximum of 150 searches per month. For more advanced features, you have to pay for the premium version at $200/year.

Google reverse image search

Unsurprisingly, Google is another leader in reverse image search, which was launched as a feature in June 2011. Unlike Tineye, there is no limit to the size of images that can be uploaded to Google.

Chrome users can simply right click on an image anywhere within Chrome and select “search the web for this image”. The search returns a “best guess for this image” description, as well as pages that include matching images.

Pinterest visual search tool

This tool is best for Pinterest users because you need a Pinterest account to use it. With this tool, users can crop a specific area of an image to search for instead of searching for the entire image. The feature was announced in November 2015 and is perfect for heavy Pinterest users.

Once a user clicks on the image search button, results of similar images are shown almost immediately.

Category 3: Free-to-use images

As you must have noticed, most of the images from the first two categories are normally subject to copyright, and you can’t simply pluck the image and use it on your own blog or website.

So what if you run a blog and are looking for free images for your website?

There’s a third category of image search engines that only search for free photos on the web. These photos are licensed under creative commons and are pulled in from several stock photo sites.

It is important to note that the big search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo also allow users to search for free images via their “license” filter. By setting the license to Creative Commons, you can find free images on all three search sites.

Here are some other useful search engines for finding Creative Commons licensed images:


EveryPixel indexes 51 paid and free stock image sites including Shutterstock, Pixabay, Unsplash and lots of others. Searchers can filter images by source, orientation, color and image type.


Librestock allows you to “search the best 47 free stock photo websites in one place”. Unlike the first two sites, Librestock indexes only images licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0), i.e. public domain images, which means you can use the photos freely without attribution for any legal purpose.

The downside is that there aren’t many pictures available, and there are no filters.

Creative Commons (CC) Search

CC Search is not a search engine in its own right, as is clearly stated on the site, but rather an interface that allows users to search several free photo sites without leaving the CC search page. Image sources include Flickr, Pixabay, Google Images and Wikimedia Commons. The site also includes options for finding media such as sound and video.

Conclusion: Which is the best search engine for images?

Search engines make life easier and come in handy for image search. So which is the best search engine for running image searches?

There’s really no single “best” search engine; each search engine has its perks and downsides depending on which type of search you’re carrying out. Google is a versatile option, combining a powerful general and reverse image search in one.

However, with its attractive visual interface and easy-to-find filtering options, Bing is a strong contender for general image searches, while TinEye offers more fine-tuning and often better suggestions than Google’s reverse image search.

Google, Bing and Yahoo all have options for searching by Creative Commons-licensed images, with Yahoo having the advantage of integration with Flickr, but a dedicated stock image search engine like EveryPixel will give you a wider choice of suitable images.

Ultimately, there are a lot of great tools out there for finding images depending on your needs, and by using them in combination, you can track down the perfect image.

Which image search engines do you use?


Image optimization 101: How to rank higher in image search

SEO is not only about optimizing written content.

The increasing dominance of visual content online has brought with it new opportunities for increasing a site’s search traffic by optimizing videos and images.

Optimizing your images gives your website an additional chance to be found via image search, and a good logo or some eye-catching graphics can be just as effective at attracting visitors to your website as your written content.

But even if you’re highly familiar with optimizing written content for search, you may not know where to begin with optimizing images. What factors do you need to bear in mind? Does keyword usage still apply?

In this guide, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about optimizing for image search.

N.B.: This is an updated version of a guide by Dave Davies that we originally published in 2013: Image Optimization: How to Rank on Image Search

Image size

The size of your images can have a big impact on your overall site speed (which is an important search ranking factor), and big, heavy images are one of the biggest culprits for slowing down websites – particularly on mobile.

However, because you also want your images to look good and be eye-catching, especially if they’re the first part of your website that people see in image search, you also don’t want to sacrifice quality. Thus, finding a balance is necessary.

Matt Owen’s article on how to optimize your page images to increase site speed gives some useful pointers here, particularly with regard to not uploading images which are larger than the user will ever see, as this will just slow down your site with no benefit to you or the user.

Which file types are going to be most helpful here? GIF, JPEG and PNG are the three main image file types, which make up 96% of the Internet’s image traffic.

PNG offers a good combination of compression ratio and image quality, and as such is usually your best bet. JPEG can have a compression rate of up to 10x more than the other two formats, but is a lossy format – meaning that it reduces the quality of your images as it compresses them, so consider whether this is a sacrifice you need to make.

Saving your image as a GIF won’t result in a loss of image quality, but it can sometimes reduce color detail, making GIFs most suited to animated images, logos and any other small, simple images.

Google’s PageSpeed Insights offer some more guidelines on how to optimize your images for maximum site speed. 

Image name

The name of your image file can help search engines discover your content in context. This is where keywords enter the picture (as well as in the alt attributes, which we’ll cover below).

If you’re uploading a photo of nature photography, a relevant filename like nature_photography.png has a better chance of ranking well in search than than DSC_1977.png. If it’s possible to be even more specific, such as Hong-Kong-botanical-gardens.png, then that’s even better for SEO.

If you don’t enter a separate title for your image upon upload, the filename will also serve as the image title, which makes it all the more important to be clear and accurate with your filename.

For more on how to optimize your image title text and alt text, read on to the next section.

Alt attributes

Alt attributes are the text alternatives to your image which will appear if your image fails to load, or if the user is accessing your site with an assistive device such as a screenreader. Because web crawlers don’t have eyes, they’re also what search engines “see” instead of an image, making them important for both accessibility and SEO.

As such, the alt text and title text tag fields are the best place to put any keywords relevant to your image, BUT: do not keyword-stuff! This is a poor practice in image SEO just as in text-based SEO, and will do the screenreader users accessing your website no favors.

Title text

The title text is effectively the name of your image, and as such serves a very similar purpose to your image filename. The main difference is that it needs to be human readable as well as machine readable – so use spaces to separate the words in your image, not underscores or dashes (or nothing at all).

There are certain circumstances in which title text is all you need to substitute for your image – if the title text alone describes the image, you don’t always need alt text.

For example, if the image is a headshot of a person, their name alone is sufficient for title text – as it tells both people and search engines what the image is of – and no additional details are necessary in the alt text. Alt attributes are important, but you don’t need to go overboard!

Alt text

This is the field that describes what your image depicts. Alt text can help search engines work out not just the content of an image but the topic of the surrounding text – so it’s important to get it right.

If possible, at least one image on your page should contain your focus keyword, but it’s important not to shoehorn it in. Image alt text should be clear, descriptive, and written in natural language. Imagine it as if you were telling someone who couldn’t see the image what it was about. Which key details would you highlight?

Some guides will place a recommended length on alt text, such as 80 or 150 characters, but in truth the alt text should be as long as it needs to be in order to get the image content across. Try to be succinct, but don’t sacrifice necessary details for the sake of length.

Here is an example of an article graphic (courtesy of Shutterstock) that we uploaded for a recent article, ‘Beyond Google Analytics: 10 SEO analytics and reporting tools‘. The WordPress backend clearly indicates where to input title and alt text:

The alt text we input for this image is as follows: Image of a person typing on a laptop with paper and pens by the side, and a variety of different analytics icons sketched above it, such as graphs, charts and a clipboard.

Page URL and domain authority

The URL of the page that the images are hosted on can affect the image search traffic. If an image is hosted on an optimized page URL on a page which contains quality and relevant content, your chances of image SEO success will be much higher.

Along with the page URL, the page’s domain authority that also can affect an image’s performance in Google Image Search. If a domain already has a reputation for offering quality and relevant content, your image will do better in search. Image SEO is no different to text-based SEO in this regard.

Surrounding content around images

Image optimization doesn’t happen in a vacuum. As such, the copy that surrounds an image on your page is also important for SEO. The relevance of the content, its quality, and the keywords that are used can all affect how the image ranks in search.

The most important copy is the text that immediately surrounds the image. This might be an introductory sentence which precedes the image (for example, “Below is a graph showing the results of a survey carried out among 500 marketers…”) and/or a caption below it which gives some additional context.

Search engines like Google will use this copy to determine how well the image matches the topic of the page. For example, if the focus of the content is on plumbing, an image of a tree has decreased chances of ranking high for the keyword “plumbing examples” (and is likely to confuse your users to boot).

In addition to this, Google’s image recognition AI has become much more sophisticated in recent years, to the point where it can often identify whether the image subject matches up with the rest of your content.

Stock photography

There has been a long discussion over the years on whether using stock photography has a negative effect on your ranking. Google’s Matt Cutts went on the record back in 2013 to state that stock photos do not harm your search rankings, and therefore there is no difference in using them instead of original photos, SEO-wise.

However, there are a couple of caveats to this. One is that stock images are by their nature generic, and so the visual experience of your website will be a lot more generic as a result, particularly if you use a lot of them. This will also not help your image stand out in search results, and a stock image is unlikely to grab the user’s attention – unless of course you’re a stock photography vendor.

The second thing to bear in mind is that there will be countless other copies of the same image as yours out there on other people’s websites. As Dave Davies pointed out in the 2013 version of this guide, “Google doesn’t want to rank multiple copies of the same image any more than they want to rank multiple copies of the same content. If you’re using the same image that’s been found on a hundred other sites before you, why should yours rank?”

For example, if you’re writing about your company’s business culture, you can either pick a stock photo of happy people in an office environment, or simply upload a high-quality photo of your own office with your team members during a meeting. The latter is personal, relevant and interesting, and gives users a sense of what your company is really like.

Content quality is also important in images as it is in text. Matt Cutts pondered in 2013 whether original images might be used as a future quality signal to indicate a trustworthy website, leading to a higher search ranking:

“Who knows – maybe original image sites might be higher quality, whereas a site that just repeats the same stock photos over and over again might not be nearly as high quality.”

While we don’t have concrete confirmation as to whether Google went on to use this as a quality signal in image search, the impression on the user is worth taking into account.

Image engagement and popularity

Search engines value content with high engagement. This means that if you have a high-quality, relevant and original image that starts becoming popular among users, you have more chances of seeing it higher on search results. As with any text post, the popularity of your content can help it reach higher on the SERPs.

The principles of link-building also apply to image search: the more people link to your image, the higher the chances of increased search traffic coming from it. This can also be facilitated by the use of sharing buttons alongside your images. Once your image gets shared on many sites, its popularity will contribute to its success in search.

The popularity of an image can derive from clicks to your site, embeds and shares on other pages, or even social shares. All of them make the image more popular, while also indicating its relevance to the topic it describes. This ultimately makes search engines pay more attention to it.


In summary, here’s how you can optimize your images to rank higher in search results:

  • Try to reduce the weight of your images, but not to the detriment of quality
  • Pick a relevant filename
  • Use alt attributes to describe your content as accurately as possible
  • Pay attention to the content that’s surrounding your images
  • Try to use original graphics or photography
  • Aim for engaging images that will encourage sharing