Categories: Crawling, indexing & ranking :

high ranking image completely disappears from image SERP for one keyword, what could cause this?

Showing 1-26 of 26 messages
high ranking image completely disappears from image SERP for one keyword, what could cause this? loupiote 12/4/12 12:24 AM
the image in question is the photo of the pregnant belly of a woman: http://goo.gl/51oYb

for years, this image appeared on a image SERP for the word "pregnant", usually on the first or second page. of course, its position was fluctuating due to change in the site ranking, the ranking signals for the image relative to the keyword "pregnant", and other relevant images being indexed. but it was always pretty high in the results.

suddenly, about a week ago, it just completely disappeared from the SERP for "pregnant" (while it is a very relevant image of a pregnant belly! - much more relevant than photos of babies or portraits of women that are still high in the SERP).

could this happen because this image was somehow "penalized" with regard with this search term? the image itself does not seem to have been flagged as "innapropriate", since that same image appears in image SERP for other searches, like "navel" or "pregnant piercing" (#1 in the SERP).

any idea about why this image that is relevant to "pregnant" and was ranked very high before would completely disappear all of a sudden from the image SERP on this term (rather than just move lower in the results)?

i am baffled...
Re: high ranking image completely disappears from image SERP for one keyword, what could cause this? Free2Write 12/4/12 12:33 AM
http://goo.gl/aO6oJ
loupiote 12/4/12 12:38 AM <This message has been deleted.>
Re: high ranking image completely disappears from image SERP for one keyword, what could cause this? loupiote 12/4/12 12:39 AM
exactly my point.  this image still pops in the image SERP for other search terms. just "navel" will bring it.

but for several years, it was (rightfully, in my opinion) appearing in the image SERP for "pregnant", usually on the first or second page. i could understand the image going down in the ranking for the "pregnant" search (while i don't think photos of babies are more relevant results here), but my question is:

why did it completely disappear from the image search SERP for "pregnant"? (while it was, for years on the first 2 pages).
Re: high ranking image completely disappears from image SERP for one keyword, what could cause this? loupiote 12/4/12 12:43 AM
and of course, long tail search like the one Free2Write mentioned ("pregnant woman with pregnancy belly ring") have extremely little traffic, compared to search on simple keywords. so this image, which i think is much more relevant to "pregnant" than a baby face or a woman's face, is now removed from those SERP.  strange...
Re: high ranking image completely disappears from image SERP for one keyword, what could cause this? Free2Write 12/4/12 1:32 AM
That image has not "completely disappeared from the SERP for "pregnant". The image, for that search term, is on about page 785. You need to scroll down through Google's auto complete for awhile to get there. There's no guarantee that any image will remain in any particular ranking forever. The image has not been removed for that search term only moved lower in the rankings.



Re: high ranking image completely disappears from image SERP for one keyword, what could cause this? Barry Schwartz 12/4/12 3:15 AM
There were reports of an image search algo update the other day.  They probably updated their index / algo.
Re: high ranking image completely disappears from image SERP for one keyword, what could cause this? loupiote 12/4/12 1:30 PM
i didn't see the report, but i saw that image search returns lots of images that are less relevant to the search (in addition to the issue i pointed in this thread). so hopefully google will correct their new algorithm soon.
Re: high ranking image completely disappears from image SERP for one keyword, what could cause this? loupiote 12/4/12 1:33 PM
the only report i saw was:

http://insidesearch.blogspot.com/2012/11/spiffing-up-your-search-results-page.html

and this mentions only an update in the layout of image search results, not a change in the algorithm.
loupiote 12/4/12 1:46 PM <This message has been deleted.>
Re: high ranking image completely disappears from image SERP for one keyword, what could cause this? loupiote 12/4/12 1:48 PM
> That image has not "completely disappeared from the SERP for "pregnant". The image, for that search term, is on about page 785. 

oh, great.but any result past page 3 or 4 is never seen by the user, so that does not make me feel better

and what i see is a number of images that are not appropriate or directly related to "pregnant" on the first result page.  that includes:
- photo of a guy with a grey shirt (image #4)
- faces / portrait of women (about a dozen of the first page)
- a baby

presumably those photos appears in some articles about pregnancy, but the photos themselves are completely unrelated, as they are not photo of anyone clearly "pregnant". so they are inappropriate in image results on a "pregnant" search.
Re: high ranking image completely disappears from image SERP for one keyword, what could cause this? loupiote 12/4/12 1:50 PM
@Free2Write

> That image has not "completely disappeared from the SERP for "pregnant". The image, for that search term, is on about page 785

i can only see 21 pages of image results (using Chrome on Windows XP).  there is no option to see more or scroll down after page 21.
Re: high ranking image completely disappears from image SERP for one keyword, what could cause this? Free2Write 12/4/12 4:15 PM
See attached.


Re: high ranking image completely disappears from image SERP for one keyword, what could cause this? Free2Write 12/4/12 4:44 PM
There was no attempt to elicit a feeling. An image that is completely removed from index and an image that has moved in rank are different, was the only clarification being made. The image seems to be in the index but also seems to have moved in rank. How often do you check? When did you see the move in rankings? Is this the only image that has moved in rank in the same way? What changes have been made to the website or images?

Why wouldn't Google be allowed to show images that have the same content as an image search term, along with images that are "clearly" a photo of the search term?



loupiote 12/4/12 6:01 PM <This message has been deleted.>
Re: high ranking image completely disappears from image SERP for one keyword, what could cause this? loupiote 12/4/12 6:28 PM
@Free2Write

> An image that is completely removed from index and an image that has moved in rank are different, was the only clarification being made.

yeah, as i said, this image is still in the index, but it has disappeared from the SERP for a keyword on which it was previously, consistently (for years) popping on the first 2 pages. and the keyword in question is obviously very related to the photo, and appears in the title of the main referring page and in the alt for the image.

> The image seems to be in the index but also seems to have moved in rank.

it has only moved in rank for a search on this particular keyword ("pregnant").  that's what i find weird.

> How often do you check?

since this image is one of my highest ranking images in my 11,000 images portfolio, i have been checking it every couple of days on this search, as a barometer of the ranking health of my site.

> When did you see the move in rankings?

as i said in the first post, about 1 week ago. it went from second page to completely disappeared from the "pregnant" SERP, and at the same time, i noticed many images less related to "pregnant" in the SERP, i.e. for this particular search term, quality / relevance of image search went down.

> Is this the only image that has moved in rank in the same way?

it's the only one that i noticed (and it involved only one search term, as other search terms don't show any change with the ranking of this image), but i have 11,000 images... 

honestly i am not sure it has something with the image itself. it might be some change in the ranking algo for SERP on a search term, and for some reason, there is something related to this image (could be links from other sites, or anything really) that caused the algo to decide that this image is not appropriate for a "pregnant" search anymore.

> What changes have been made to the website or images?

none.

> Why wouldn't Google be allowed to show images that have the same content as an image search term, along with images that are "clearly" a photo of the search term?

well, when doing an image search, you are searching images, not specific webpages, right? so it would seem that google should return preferably images matching the search, rather than photos appearing in articles about the searched term.

e.g. if i search for "pregnant" photo, i am not looking for a photo of a man who's wife is pregnant.  and i'm not searching for photos a random or celebrity women (who may be one-week pregnant), or head shots. and i'm not searching for photos of babies. 
Re: high ranking image completely disappears from image SERP for one keyword, what could cause this? Free2Write 12/4/12 7:03 PM
"it has disappeared from the SERP for a keyword:"

The attachment is of a Google Image Search using the word "pregnant". That image is in the results. Far down but in the results.

Re: high ranking image completely disappears from image SERP for one keyword, what could cause this? Free2Write 12/4/12 7:14 PM
"google should return" ... Maybe Google has other ideas.

"other search terms don't show any change" ... You're expecting image results to remain fairly static?

'links from other sites" ... What links have you seen?

"disappeared " ... Moved significantly lower in rank or almost useless as a result perhaps?
https://webmasters-a-googleproductforums-com.googlegroups.com/attach/216eea0b7d7d28e/pregnant.png?gda=baryk0UAAADxacE8SZ9cyJEs9f4I6A9FH5Ybye7ueA7QBI42okFgYeYA1NThGG5r8YK8ytueWLmO3f1cykW9hbJ1ju6H3kglGu1iLHeqhw4ZZRj3RjJ_-A&view=1&part=4



Re: high ranking image completely disappears from image SERP for one keyword, what could cause this? loupiote 12/4/12 7:31 PM
@Free2Write

> "google should return" ... Maybe Google has other ideas.

well, returning lower search quality results is not such a good idea.


> "other search terms don't show any change" ... You're expecting image results to remain fairly static?

if you had read my previous posting, you would know that's not what i expect.  i always expect ranking to fluctuate.


> 'links from other sites" ... What links have you seen?

there are hundreds of blogs and other sites linking this image, or copies of it (and google is able to match copies, as you know). i have no control on thos links, and there are new one every day or week. i know that external links can affect ranking, and i have no control on those.

> "disappeared " ... Moved significantly lower in rank or almost useless as a result perhaps?

well, i cannot see it in the results, going down as far as google allows me to go.

in any case, thanks for all your comments, but you have not been very helpful in finding why this sudden change happened.  i already knew all the points you mentioned.

does anyone have some idea on what could cause the situation (described in the first posting) to happen?
Re: high ranking image completely disappears from image SERP for one keyword, what could cause this? Barry Schwartz 12/5/12 4:49 AM
It wasn't an official report, it was webmasters noticing changes like you.  I wrote about it at http://www.seroundtable.com/google-image-update-16025.html
loupiote 12/13/12 1:05 AM <This message has been deleted.>
Re: high ranking image completely disappears from image SERP for one keyword, what could cause this? loupiote 12/13/12 1:06 AM
i believe i have identified the issue, but i don't know how to "fix" it.

it seems that for some reason, this image is not anymore considered "safe" by google.  here is why:

1) do an image search for "pregnant navel piercing" with the default safesearch: my photo (on loupiote.com) is #1 of the results.

2) Change SafeSearch to "Filter Explicit Results".  my photo disappears for the results, but you can see now the Getty-Images copy of my photo, in position #4.

clearly the image is not offensive or unsafe (since it's on Getty-Images!), and the getty copy is in the search results with "Filter Explicit Results".  but that seems to indicate that, for some reason, the image indexed from my website (loupiote.com) is flagged as "unsafe" by google.

what should i do to cause google to change the classification of this image (i.e. set it to SAFE)?
Re: high ranking image completely disappears from image SERP for one keyword, what could cause this? loupiote 12/14/12 1:55 AM
well, i contacted google via http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/request.py?&contact_type=safe_search

crossing fingers!...
Re: high ranking image completely disappears from image SERP for one keyword, what could cause this? jeff hall 12/14/12 4:24 AM

It’s funny but about 8 years ago I asked exactly the same question concerning an image we had for a belly bar. That image was for all intents and purposes de-indexed or killed for the term "banana bar". At the same time that image became a disputed one with Getty Images (who eventually conceded it was our image and not theirs) however to this day that image has never been indexed. I have always assumed that somehow Google wants to stay way clear of any copyright disputes, particularly with legally contentious companies, so to err on the side of caution the image is pulled from the serps (gradually - first its demoted then only safe search and then gone completely). The other aspect is if somebody complains to Google about safety issues for an image. e.g. that only bars made from PTFE and not metal should be used for pregnancy. Will that complaint result in human intervention of the serps ?

loupiote 12/14/12 12:53 PM <This message has been deleted.>
Re: high ranking image completely disappears from image SERP for one keyword, what could cause this? loupiote 12/14/12 12:55 PM
well, in that case there is no dispute: i am the copyright holder of the image on getty-images, and getty is my representative for licensing purposes.

the fact that this image is on getty-images clearly says that the image is safe (since getty only hosts safe images). there is nothing unsafe about the photo of a pregnant belly!

regarding pregnancy rings, some are made of very thin and soft metal and they are perfectly safe, bit this is certainly not the problem there. i am pretty sure that my image was categorized as unsafe by the google algorithm, based on some inbound links or on the text content of the (moderated) user comments under the image.

i have been going though great length to segregate all my unsafe images on separate domains, and all the images on the loupiote.com domain are safe (with many of them represented by getty-images, by the way).  so it is very disheartening to see this happening.

More topics »