Author Topic: google is indexing thumbnail images instead of full-size  (Read 1069 times)

Offline Geoffrey

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google is indexing thumbnail images instead of full-size
« on: August 15, 2017, 01:22:38 AM »
AC has a lot of useful built-in image features: thumbnails, retina images, etc. 

I encountered an unexpected surprise related to these features: some of the images that google is indexing from my site are 250x250 thumbnail images.

What can I do to ensure that the images google indexes are full-size images instead of the smaller images that get created by AC code?

Thx.


Offline Basara

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Re: google is indexing thumbnail images instead of full-size
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2017, 09:48:41 AM »
Hello.

Google should index all images in your site: thumbnails in listing and large images on product page. But who know how Google choose what to show in search results.

I think google should support image map xml something like this https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/178636
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Offline Geoffrey

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Re: google is indexing thumbnail images instead of full-size
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2017, 05:19:39 PM »
Hi, thanks for the reply. 

This is an issue that you guys should probably take a closer look at.

Background:
According to Google, Image Search is used more often by online shoppers than any other Google search page. 
In Chrome, there are two methods to view a full-size product image on Image Search:
1 - One click to select an image, another click to "View Image", then a pageload in a new tab.  It's not slow, but it's not fast. 
2 - Hover Zoom extension: just hover over any image on the initial search page, see instantaneous full-size images.  Fast and clean.  It's no wonder the HZ extension went viral. 

AbanteCart Problem:
I compared my google-indexed images to my competitors.  My competitor's images are huge and beautiful full-page images. 
Most of mine are 250x250, because google indexed the AC Product List thumbnail instead of the main image. 
They did index a few of my 500x500 Product Image Thumbs that sit inside the Easy Zoom window, but these images are still very small compared to my competitors big beautiful Image Search results.
Important - when google indexes this Product Thumb image, they index the specified 500x500 image size (user settable under the Settings Appearance tab of Admin CP).  The max size displayed on Image Search will be 500x500, or whatever size you set in AC settings; so it will be much less than full-screen. 
Fortunately for me, google did not index the tiny Grid Image or Cart Image or Additional Product Image thumbs.

On google image search, I will lose all of the clicks to my competitors because my product images look small and stupid and amateur, whereas my competitor's image looks huge and fantastic and highly detailed because they are full-screen.  No where is this more obvious than when using Hover Zoom to browse google's Image Search results.  I consider it an invitation to business failure. 

The load-one-image-and-AC-automatically-resizes-it-as-needed feature of AbanteCart may actually be one of its greatest weaknesses.
At least until such time that additional automated features are developed to prevent unwanted image sizes from being indexed by search images. 

I have researched possible solutions:

1 - some developers purposefully do not give thumbnails an alt attribute, as a way of preventing google from indexing those images.  This won't work in AC because the main and thumb are the same image, at least at the resource file level.  So the alt tag for the main image is the alt tag for the thumb.  Withholding alt attributes from some images is a bad idea anyway because the more images you have on your site without an alt tag, the lower your "google seo score", and the lower your ranking.

2 - Tight controls over image sitemaps won't work because eventually google will crawl your entire site anyway, plus that's a huge job editing and maintaining image sitemaps to exclude all but the main product images.  Removing a url or image from a sitemap will not prevent google from crawling or indexing that item. 

3 - You can use robots.txt to 'disallow' an image directory, then follow that command with image-specific 'allow' commands that permit indexing only handpicked images from directory.  This practice is fairly common, but it can be labor-intensive, and again it doesn't do much good for Abantecart users because the main image is the same image as the thumbs, at least at the resource directory level. 

Analyzing possible solutions that may work for AbanteCart, either as a temporary bandaid or as direction for future development:

1 - Disable the Easy Zoom feature of the Product page.
1a - Abandon the Large Window Preview Width & Height, and Product Image Thumb Width & Height specifications.
1b - create a 1024px wide div to replace the Large Window Preview element.  My uploaded product images are all 1024 wide.
1c - make the new div responsive. 
1d - alternative approach - remove Easy Zoom code, style the mobile image code to be responsive: max-width: 1024px, width: 100%, height: auto.
Outcome - google will see one full-size product image on each product page, and never see the 500x500 Product Image Thumb because it never gets created.  However, Google will still see the Category Image (Product List thumb).  That is the 250x250 image most often indexed by google from my site.  So the existence of the Product List thumb remains a critical problem.
Additional Flaw - the google bot does not "activate" any user-actions.  The bot will not click add-to-cart or checkout buttons, and therefore will not crawl and index your cart or checkout pages.  Similarly, the bot will not click thumbnails to see the additional product images, and therefore may not index any of your additional large product images.  Therefore, the bot will only index one large product image for each product?  I'm pretty sure about this, but who knows really?
The current solution to these problems is to go old-style and vertically stack all of your full-size images on each product page, thereby abandoning the view-window with multiple thumbs concept that is inherent to Abantecart.  In other words, if a coded solution to these basic problems cannot be developed, it begs the question why anyone would run AbanteCart because the current image-handling processes of Abantecart kill your image SEO footprint on google. 

2 - Find or develop additional differentiation criteria distinguishing thumbs from large images.
2a - deeper within the code (deeper than the resource directory), there may be additional differentiation criteria that enable segregating main images from thumbnails in a manner that could be exploited in the robots.txt file. 
Perhaps it is the long filename extension that AC is coding onto each search-engine friendly image url (ex: filename-space jpg-100194-340x340.jpg).
Maybe there is a way to write a disallow + wildcard allow command for robots.text for all files like /resources/images/* jpg-*-1024x1024.jpg that would restrict google to only indexing 1024x1024 images from the resource folder.   
Flaw - this approach does not address the "bot doesn't activate thumbs" problem mentioned above, so you still only get one large product image indexed for each Product because crawl bots won't click thumbs to see and then crawl and then index other large product images that should be associated with the content on each product page.  If the bot cannot associate an image with content, it won't index the image.  Therefore the bot will be fully inclined to associate all your little product thumbs with product content, but not your fullsize product images that are only revealed by clicking a thumb, something which the bot does not do. 


3 - Large image file replication in a new resources/folder.
3a - it seems possible to code the AC image handling program to copy a same-name 1024x1024 image into a new separate folder each time that the software creates a 1024x1024 image.  (Replace 1024 spec with whatever size is preferred by user for Product Image Thumb size.)
3b - the user could then disallow resources and allow "new-folder". 
3c - Google would then only index images from the new folder. 
Flaw - this approach also still does not address the "bot doesn't activate thumbs" problem mentioned above...


4 - googleoff / googleon tags in the html
4a - these tags surrounding html elements tell google to not index certain page elements.
4b - implementing them in php is beyond my skill level, but I could probably do it if a tutorial was available.
4c - https://www.google.com/support/enterprise/static/gsa/docs/admin/70/gsa_doc_set/admin_crawl/preparing.html
Flaw - only works for google search engine.  I did not reserach to find out if similar tags are available to implemented for Bing, etc.


5 - no_crawl directories
5a - The Google Search Appliance does not crawl any directories named “no_crawl.”   So if you place all of your images in a no_crawl directory, the bot won't crawl any of them, so they don't get indexed.   
5b - If you combine this approach with the replicate approach suggested above, then you could have one image folder outside the no-crawl directory to which Abantecart copies a same-name copy of only large product images, each time that it creates a large product imagefrom your default uploaded image. 
5c - If the AC team can tell me how to accomplish this replication step (using noob language), I'll try it and see if it works. 
Flaws:
i - it probably only works for google search engine.  It probably doesn't work for bing, etc.
ii - It is still not certain whether the bot will have any reason to index more than one product image for each product, as described above. 

This is a long post.  I put a lot of time into it. 

Maybe I'm missing something simple, but if I'm not, then AbanteCart has a serious image SEO problem. 

I would be grateful for detailed responses to help me address this problem, rather than quickie one-liners that don't provide enough help.

Lastly - it takes a lot of work to do SEO correctly.  AbanteCart needs an image SEO solution that does not add another huge body of work just to obtain common SEO objectives.  I think solutions that involve heavy editing and maintenance requirements for sitemaps, or line-by-line inclusions for robots.txt are not acceptable.  This cart should not be accompanied by excessive incremental SEO obligations compared to other carts.

Two-thirds of e-commerce business comes from paid linking (paid ads, groups, co-ops, paid social media, etc).
Only a 3rd comes from search engines. 

Who wants to give up that third?

Thanks. 

Offline Geoffrey

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Re: google is indexing thumbnail images instead of full-size
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2017, 05:27:42 PM »
Oh, one more:

robots.txt: noimageindex = do not index images on this page.

If you abandon thumbnails and preview pane with easy zoom, and replace all that with vertically stacked full-size images on each product page, then you can use the above command to block indexing of your category page and whatever other pages you have with small product images, and I guess remove the cart thumbs,  and then the only images google will index are the large images on the product pages. 

I'm not sure how Bing and other engines look at noimageindex. 


Offline Basara

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Re: google is indexing thumbnail images instead of full-size
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2017, 01:09:14 AM »
Thanks for your opinion.

Why you think image sitemap will not work? It can be generated automatically for all product with some extension in one click you dont need to maintain it.

Good idea about noidex for some pages  ;)
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Offline Geoffrey

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Re: google is indexing thumbnail images instead of full-size
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2017, 12:32:29 PM »
Image sitemap won't work as a management tool for improving the image SEO flaw of AbanteCart because a sitemap has no influence over whether a page or image gets indexed. 

The bots will eventually crawl your entire site regardless of whether certain elements are present in a sitemap. 

Google will index the parts of your site that it thinks are worth indexing.  The sitemap has no bearing on what gets indexed. 




 

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