1. We want to increase the value of some of our important images by means of SEO, and
  2. we want to start serving them from a different, i.e. cookieless, domain.

We want to go from www.example.com/images/1234.jpg to www.example.com/germany/bavaria/landscape.jpg which can easily be done via URL rewriting. Then on the other hand, we would like to serve the image from a completely different domain, let's say www.examplestatic.com/germany/bavaria/landscape.jpg, to save the overhead of sending the cookie from www.example.com.

Somehow I feel that this is not a good idea because I move the image away from the content by putting it on a different domain. Can anyone shed some light on this problem? Naturally, I would just use a different subdomain, e.g. img.example.com, but we already use subdomains for languages and our cookies are valid for all subdomains of example.com, so this won't help.


We are not so much worried about the search-ability of the images themselves, it's rather all about optimizing the pages they appear on. So a telling name/url for an image including a telling alt attribute is probably a must have - but my question is about the domain part, if it's a bad idea to use a different domain.

But then again, the big players also have dedicated static content domains, e.g. images-amazon.com, ebaystatic.com, ... so there can't be anything wrong with it, can there?


I'd really appreciate any hints.



1 Answer 1


I am assuming you are talking about SEO for image search.

It's not the domain that matters, per sé, although as with web document SEO (e.g. web pages, PDFs, etc) the domain is most likely a ranking factor. The image can be on any domain you want. It's relevance for any given search term will be determined by multiple factors which includes, domain name, surrounding text, hyperlinks, etc. So, basically, the image is still on the same page as before surrounded by the same content as before, etc, so placing it on a cookieless/subdomain really shouldn't affect how an image is ranked.


Using a cookiesless subdomain for your images won't affect the rankings ranking in any way. So definitely use them for all of the benefits they offer.

  • Thanks for the explanation, John. Actually, we're not really trying to optimize the images for search but the pages they live on. See my update.
    – Oliver
    Commented Dec 29, 2010 at 9:45

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