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I've been wondering. Do people really search a lot on google images? I mean, do they use it to search for content past the image itself?

I could imagine for example that someone would search for his friend in google image search in order to filter out the results better so that he doesn't have to click on every image in order to verify that it's really his friend.

On the other hand, I've rarely done that and I cannot think of many other usecases aside from just looking for the images itself and using them somewhere (legally or illegally, doesn't matter for now).

In my specific case, G is allowed to crawl all images on the site. And I've noticed (as described in another question) that my image search queries and subsequent impressions / clicks are much higher than from the web search (about double). This is especially surprising to me because my site sells electronic devices (which I would never look for via G images). The motivation of my post is the question whether I should just accept that as valid traffic or be really concerned that my web search queries aren't higher than the image search queries.

TL;DR: Are there statistics on how many search requests there are on images.google.com vs the standard web search?

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A significant number of users do use Google Images. I've optimized sites for it to get large amounts of traffic.

Google Webmaster Tools has separate stats for image search and web search under the "Search Traffic" -> "Search Queries" section. By default there is a filter for "web" but you can remove that and replace it with filter for image search.

For one of my sites that has some images (but is not an image site by any means):

  • The top web search terms have about three times as much impressions as the top image search terms.
  • Many more users click through to the site from web search. Web search click through rates (CTRs) are often 50% or more. My top CTRs from image search are around 10%.
  • Even when users do click to the site, image search users are much less likely to interact with your site in any meaningful way. Sites that I have worked with get conversion rates that are several times better from web search compared to image search users.

I wouldn't worry if you are getting more image search traffic than web search traffic. It is usually easier to rank in image search than it is in web search. It is much less competitive because the traffic is so much less valuable. If you are ranking for a couple of highly searched for terms, then you will get lots of impressions. Take a look at your Google Webmaster Tools data and see for yourself.

  • The answer to the question about image search vs regular search is "they don't release the figures". Google Trends gives normalised figures, but not absolute numbers of searches. – paulmorriss Apr 28 '15 at 15:01
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I do not have stats, however, I can give you my specific experience.

I have one site that is image based. Image search is used more to find my content than traditional search. That makes sense of course. They are photos of regional historical places and relics such as historic mills, bridges, etc.; steel mills, factories, fire trucks, churches, houses, and so on.

I have used image search looking for mind-maps, illustrations, and so on to weed out content by looking for quality illustrations first. Yes. Sometimes I find using image search for non-image content useful in helping to find quality sites and content. I am not sure how many people do this, but I suspect it is a larger number than people realize.

Even if only a few image searches result in finding your site, I rather suspect that this is still valuable in attracting users.

  • thanks for the insights. Do you have another site live which you could compare to the one you mentioned? True, I should want every user. But I want to avoid thinking everything is cool when in fact, there are no users from the web search because I've done poor SEO – Yorrd Apr 27 '15 at 16:58
  • I am not sure I am following. For image search to work well, you need to pay attention to SEO signals as much as the image alt tag. This is because the content and HTML tags surrounding the image are used as signals. For example, an header tag followed by the image followed by a paragraph give excellent clues. As well, if the image is outstanding, it will be shared. I have mind maps that have been Tweeted and posted on Facebook. My site is not exactly on fire- mostly because it is experimental. But traditional SEO should be your first tactic even for image sites. – closetnoc Apr 27 '15 at 17:04
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    @Yorrd pinterest, tumblr and other image-related sites regularly share images found via google images, pinterest automatically gives people viewing those images a 'Visit website' button, giving a huge number of incoming referals even for non-image based websites – Mousey Sep 2 '15 at 1:00

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