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I currently host my website and all its images in Bluehost with Wordpress. When I right click and image and select 'open image in new tab' I am sent to where my image is stored, something like https://www.example.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/my-image.jpg.

Now, if I want to host my images elsewhere, say if I want to use Contentful instead of Wordpress, will these links break or will Google automatically rebuild the links when they crawl my site again? If they do break, what should I do to get Google to link to the new location where these images are stored?

3 Answers 3

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Google is pretty slow to index new image URLs (can take months, dataset is skewed based on my experience)and one needs to avoid changing image URLs, if possible. If you are getting traffic through image searches, I wouldn't recommend changing it.

EDIT : Found a thread from last year where John Mueller from Google is discussing how much they invest in crawling image URLs - link to twitter thread

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Any time you change a URL (even for an image) you should use a 301 permanent redirect from the old URL to the new URL.

I would also recommend that you try to find an image host or CDN that allows you to use a sub-domain from your site. That way Google knows that the images are still part of your site.

So if your URL was:

https://www.example.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/my-image.jpg

That URL should issue a 301 permanent redirect to a URL like:

https://media.example.com/abc123/my-image.jpg

Which would be powered by your new image hosting service.

With that in place, your image rankings may be temporarily effected but should recover within a few weeks. If you don't redirect or you don't host the images on your own URL, image rankings could take months or years to recover.

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If you have small number of images then you can create 301 redirect, otherwise if you have large number of images this process should be automated and it would be even easy if you are storing image name in database.

If you think it is worth investing time then you can do it. otherwise it will take time before google craws them as mentioned by other users.

Also see what Google Webmaster has to say about CND images link https://twitter.com/JohnMu/status/920234339912339456

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