Image Mismatch: The Latest Google Webmaster Tools Manual Action Penalty
Image mismatch is when the images on your website do not match what is shown in the Google search results. Google words it as “your site’s images may be displaying differently on Google’s search results pages than they are when viewed on your site.” It is when you are serving Google one image and the user another image, also known as a form of cloaking – but Google doesn’t call it cloaking in their document.
This morning, I covered the first manual action publicly received for this image mismatch notification at the Search Engine Roundtable. I posted this screen shot of the notification of the action:
What do you do if you receive such a notification?
(1) Make sure that your site displays exactly the same images to users whether viewed directly on your site on within Google image search results. This behavior may be caused by “anti-hotlinking” tools. This may require looking through your site’s code on the server.
(2) Once you’re sure your site’s images are exactly the same when viewed directly on your site and in Google’s search results, request reconsideration of your site.
Of course, those using anti-hotlinking techniques might be upset by this but Google wants the best search experience for users. If the image shown in Google Image search does not match that which is on the site, that would lead to a poor search experience.
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(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)
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