The new Google Images has finally been rolled out to the UK and it’s causing a mild buzz.
The general consensus seems to be that it’s a big improvement on the old one and not too disimilar from Bing.
One key difference is that you can’t actually tell which site you’re about to visit before you click an image. This doesn’t seem to be a problem for users but some publishers have expressed concerns that they might get less traffic as a result.
It’s also possible to view vastly more images on a single page than previously so it could drive more visits to sites that previously ranked lower.
It’s quite likely that the vast majority of site owners don’t have a clue how much traffic is driven to their site from Google Images or if the traffic is good quality or not. The reason is because most analytics packages are just not set up to track Google Images – and that includes Google Analytics.
Some people might believe it as simple as finding images.google.com in the list of referring sources but the one thing this doesn’t tell about is Google Images. That’s because all Google Images are opened in a frameset, the URL of which doesn’t always contain the sub-domain images.google.com. In fact it’s possible to conduct a web search on images.google.com just by changing the search type in the left hand menu.
Google has been increasingly redirecting users away from images.google.com and .co.uk subdomains so if you trend this data over time you’ll probably see a big decline.
The only way to track traffic from Google Images is to look at the referring URL which is hidden in most analytics packages. Any referring URLs to your site from Google containing the string ‘imgres’ or ‘imglanding’ are Google Image referrals.
You can set up a custom Google Analytics profile to detect this parameter and relabel the source to Google Images using the filter settings below. We’ll be covering this in more detail in a later post where we show you a fully customised profile just to track all the facets of Google search.
The profile will start collecting the data from the moment it is set up so it’s too late to do this to analyse the impact of the new Google Images but worth doing as you may be a little bit suprised.
Once you’re tracking Google Images properly, you might be surprised by the contribution and quality of traffic. It’s probably too late to tell if you’ve benefited or lost out from this update but it seems like this should have been a positive effect for most people.