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I have a site with several thousand of images. All those images included into the sitemap submitted to Google Webmaster Tools. The amount of 'submitted' images is OK, but the amount of 'indexed' is significantly lower than the amount of 'submitted' and it is going DOWN!

I'd understand if not all of my images got indexed (however it is also not clear and very frustrating for me) but I can not understand how the indexing can go in the negative direction?!

All the images stays on their places. And pages containing them stays unchanged. At least they intended to be.

Any thoughts?

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If Google has been aggressively spidering your site lately and the number of pages (I am assuming images in your case) drop significantly in the index, this can be an indication of a refresh for a lack of a better term. Google has several triggers that can cause a refresh of your site which includes rapid spidering then a refresh in the index. I went through this a while ago with over 500,000 pages. It was only a few weeks and I ended up better off with my pages performing much better in the SERPs without changing them. It may be something similar in your case. –  closetnoc Mar 11 at 13:28
Are any of the images duplicates? –  nathangiesbrecht Mar 11 at 14:42
@closetnoc, Thank you for sharing this... Could you make more clear: the indexing become much better as well after those several weeks? –  Roman Matveev Mar 11 at 14:43
[In my case...] Google did an algorithm update that caused my site to be not only be re-indexed (at least in part) and update the SERPs. I saw a dramatic increase in traffic after my pages reappeared in full. It took about 2-3 weeks. The decline in the index was severe but not complete (maybe %50). You never know what updates Google will do or what triggers they may make. It maybe that internal changes or changes on your site (even a small one) triggered a re-index to better understand your site which will be reflected in a refresh at some point. Just a thought. It does happen sometimes. –  closetnoc Mar 11 at 14:52
@nathangiesbrecht - There CAN be some duplacates. But the most of images are unique. –  Roman Matveev Mar 11 at 15:21

1 Answer 1

One reason for the decline could be that Google cannot find enough information about these pages in the surrounding text or in the alt attribute. The more specific and descriptive the text is, the easier Google can match these with queries.

Another possible factor is that Google has detected that your pictures are not that interesting enough to users.

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