I re-built a Flash website into an AJAX-based website, which generates all its content from JSON data using AJAX.

It's a photography website and Google's Image Search is important for this site. But since the website content is generated dynamically, I thought I should also add fallback static content. I did hide that static content if JavaScript is enabled, otherwise that static content is served.

But since then the site started losing all image search results in Google. And after a while, not a single result comes from the main site (it has a blog site and Google return images only from that blog). The site does work fine within main web result.

So my question is: does Google penalize websites in Google Images? And If yes, how do I confirm whether my site is penalized or not?

2 Answers 2


First, are you aware that your website's robots.txt has the following in it?

User-agent: Googlebot-Image
Disallow: /

This will prevent all images from being indexed in Google's Image Search. See this for more on that: prevent images from appearing in Image Search.

Secondly, although Google can crawl some AJAX, it depends on how it's presented. I would suggest reviewing these Google Webmasters Tools help documents:

  • Damn it!! I'm a stupid. I don't know how it came from! Definitely this is causing all these trouble. Thank you very much #dan .You are a live saver.
    – Aajahid
    Jul 6, 2013 at 7:27
  • You're welcome :-) It's an easy mistake with just one "/" causing the problem. Glad I had a look at your site (now in the edits), it's a nice site - good luck with it!
    – dan
    Jul 7, 2013 at 20:05

Your first question, "Does Google penalize websites in Google Images" doesn't make much sense. Google ranks sites for different use cases (e.g. image similarity vs. query string context likelihood). Googlebot can execute JavaScript for exactly this reason, so that it can crawl and index AJAX-driven websites, so you don't need to do a static version, although for accessibility reasons you should try to do so, and it sounds like you already have so please keep it. Make sure you serve the same content to Googlebot that you serve to other UAs, static or otherwise.

Did you move the images (change their URLs) when you removed Flash, and are returning 404s for the old URLs? That would cause them to fall out of the results. Google Webmaster Tools has a facility for reactivating a de-listed site, if that is what has happened to you. It will say if you have violated some terms there. Google will not tell you what parameters it is using to determine the rank of your images in it's algorithm, however, including penalties.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.