Recent changes to the Google Image Search mean improvement for sites owners

Will 2018 be a turning point in the Google Image Search for photo sites owners?

Some positive developments in the Google Image Search have taken place since February 2018.

  • In February 2018, the “View Image” button of the Image Search was removed. The “View Image” was the button which allowed to open the image alone in its full blown high res. version.

- The first positive effect of this removal for image owners is on image piracy.

Ironically, this deterrent effect on piracy is shown by the immediate reactions to the removal.

The removal of the Button is “better for websites and photographers but worse for users” titles innocently The Verge.

The article goes on commenting:

The intention seems to be either stopping people from taking an image altogether or driving them through to the website where the image is found, so that the website can serve ads and get revenue and so people are more likely to see any associated copyright information. That’s great news for publishers, but it’s an annoying additional step for someone trying to find a picture. Now you’ll have to wait for a website to load and then scroll through it to find the image. Websites sometimes disable the ability to right click, too, which would make it even harder for someone to grab a photo they’re looking for.

- As assumed in this excerpt, the second positive effect is on website traffic.

Image SEO is back from the Dead” writes SEO expert Anthony Mueller is this blog article published in Search Engine Land in May 2018. He compiled data from 58 sites with large catalogues of images and found a increase in click through rates from the image result page averaging 37%. Dreamstime also reports an increase of 10% in conversions to sales. “Since they purchased a commercial license afterwards, we can safely assume their past downloads were copyright infringements” he says.

At the meeting between representatives of Google and the CEPIC Board on 31.05.2018 during the CEPIC Congress, a number of additional changes were announced. They have now been (partially?) implemented.

Along with the withdrawal of the Getty Images complaint at the European Commission, Google Images made copyright disclaimers for photos more prominent and mover it from the bottom right of the page to right beneath the photo.

However, these changes were not enough for CEPIC and other representatives of image providers still negotiating with Google on the Image Search features.

  • In June 2018, the German copyright notice on german domain .de was strengthened. Copyright is the rule, public domain the exception.

If you are located in Germany, the copyright will say:

InDerRegelImages are usually protected by copyright

If you are outside of Germany, it will read instead:

Eventuell“The images could possibly be protected by copyright”



In other countries and languages the wording has not changed.



  • As one last change introduced early June, a link next to the copyight notice is now linking to a page (in English only) providing information on “Fair use”


sf, 13.06.2018