I have many webpages which Google has been indexing since 2019. These are product pages which have an image that is displayed prominently and also set as the image in the
<meta name="thumbnail"> tag. Here is an example of one of my pages, and here is the thumbnail image.
Since June 2022, my search rankings have been significantly impacted as Google has started thinking that the aforementioned image on this page is actually a video. Because my webpage ranks for a lot of shopping queries, Google pushes the video search results lower in their rankings. Additionally, they stopped showing the image in the search result, which makes a significant impact on the likelihood that it is clicked. Not to mention that telling the user there is a video when there is not is obviously bad.
There are a few reasons why I could think that Google believed the image to be a video:
- Originally, the image was lacking an extension (
.jpg, etc). While Google can still know it is an image by looking at the metadata (and again, this worked fine previously), I thought perhaps there was a change which now required an extension. I set up a 301 redirect for the old images, to the image with the extension. You can test this redirect here (notice the same URL, but lack of extension).
- Something else is wrong with the image metadata. The image is being generated using AWS Lambda (specifically to handle the dynamic image resizing using the
d=300x300URL parameter), and maybe there is a wrong header there or something. As far as I could tell looking at the image metadata myself, I could find nothing wrong though (and again, the image worked fine before June 2022).
In the ~2 weeks since implementing the redirect, I've noticed that Google has stopped putting my search result in their video results section, but it seems they still think that the page contains a video, as seen by inspecting the URL in Google Search Console. The error is
No thumbnail URL provided or
Video not processed. So it seems that Google has gone from thinking that my page contains a valid video, to my page contains an invalid video.
I have been unable to find any other mention of this problem on the internet. How can I get Google to recognize the image properly again? Is there anything else that I can try?