Google has recently updated the look and feel of Google Image Search, but they’ve also made some substantial changes behind the scenes.
You can read more about these changes in this post from Search Engine Roundtable.
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Last week, Google announced that they’ve updated their image search algorithm in a few important ways. For one, the authority of a web page is now a bigger factor. If you have a more authoritative site, your images are more likely to rank better.
Along with just pure authority, largely due to more incoming links, they also look at the type of site you have; for example, if someone searches for “DIY shelving”, they’ll be more likely to show images from a DIY-related site.
In addition, they’re now also prioritizing fresher content, such as from recent blog posts, as well as images that are higher up on the page.
The basic tenets still hold true — name your image filenames accurately, use proper alt text, etc, but you may see some traffic shifts from these changes if images are an important part of your search traffic.