Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Google / Online Image Search ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Google / Online Image Search
Category: Computers > Internet
Asked by: jasonhawkes-ga
List Price: $30.00
Posted: 05 Nov 2002 02:15 PST
Expires: 05 Dec 2002 02:15 PST
Question ID: 99140
I run a small online photographic library. I would like to know how I
might get Google Image Search to Index the images online at my site

At the moment only one image, that of a maze is indexed although many
of gifs that make up the buttons of the site are indexed. I have
looked at this by typing in jasonhawkes in the image search engine.

Subject: Re: Google / Online Image Search
Answered By: josh_g-ga on 05 Nov 2002 14:05 PST
Hi Jason,

Google Images is powered by a database of images, which is generated
automatically through "web spider" software.  As such, there is no
simple way to submit your images to be indexed.  But by understanding
how web spiders work to collect information and images, you can
greatly increase the chance of your images being properly collected in
the future.

"Spider" software, in the context of internet search engines,
describes the software used to gather information from the Internet. 
A spider starts at a page and collects the information there into an
index.  It then finds all pages linked to by the current page, and
views them for indexing.  Using this method repeatedly allows the
spider to eventually "crawl" through any web page which is linked to
by another.

As a Google Researcher, I have no special knowledge of how the Google
Image search engine collects data.  However, the Google Images FAQ
tells us this:

"An image I know is online wasn't found when I did my search. Why?

You can search more than 390 million images on the Web with Google's
Image Search. However, there are many more images on the Internet that
Google has not yet added to its index. Google is working to crawl more
images to increase the quality and quantity of images returned when
you search, so it's likely we will add the image you're looking for in
the near future."

Also from the FAQ,

"How does image search work?

Google analyzes the text on the page adjacent to the image, the image
caption and dozens of other factors to determine the image content.
Google also uses sophisticated algorithms to remove duplicates and
ensure that the highest quality images are presented first in your

So what does this mean for your site?  Given that some images from
your site are already showing up when you search for your site's name,
the Google Image spider has already "crawled" over your site once. 
But looking at the images it has, it appears to only have indexed
images seen on your site's front page on one viewing.  This would
explain why it has all of the buttons and only one thumbnail image

The Google Image spider will likely crawl over your site again in the
future (although I have no way of knowing how soon).  The best thing
you can do now is to see why the spider didn't go deeper into your
site and index all of the images, and make changes to help the spider
software better navigate your site.

Looking at your site, there are three ways to access the images from
the front page: the search bar, clicking the random central image, and
the pull-down menu.  These appear to be the only methods to view your
images.  All three of these could have been obstacles to an automated
spider traversing your site.  The search bar is clearly not going to
be used by a spider, as it will not be able to enter text for a
search.  The central image is part of a Flash animation - the spider
software may not be capable of decoding Flash to discover URLs within

The pull-down menu seems more straightforward, but again the spider
may not be able to traverse it.  Since the spider has the entire
internet to traverse for information, it may be coded to avoid trying
to view pages that are dynamically generated from user input.  The
problem, from the spider's point of view, is that there may be massive
amounts of input combinations which would take more time to view than
is worth.  Also, it may be pointless to try and index them because of
their dynamic nature.  In other words, dynamically-generated pages are
less likely to be around later when someone uses the index for a

So what can you do to get your images indexed?  The best solution I
can think of would be to add a "lo-fi" list of your images, to make it
easier for the spider to find and index them all.  Perhaps you could
add a small link on the front page to a static page, which lists all
the image categories.  Then a static page would contain all the
thumbnails in each category.  Unfortunately, this isn't nearly as
convenient as your current dynamic site, and would have to be updated
as you add new images.  You could choose to update it less frequently,
and then make the link to it on the front page invisible to human
users (a 1x1 sized black image link on the black background, or
something similar).  The spider software will simply see the URL
reference tag, not the visual layout.  In the meantime, human users
would continue to use your current navigation method.

Alternately, it's important to remember that how Google Images works
now is not necessarily how it will work in the future.  Google's
software designers are constantly refining their methods of indexing
the internet, as mentioned in the FAQ item above.  It's possible that
the next time the Images spider looks at your site, it will traverse
the pull-down menu and dynamic pages of thumbnails, and index things
on its own.

It may help you to know that you can restrict your Images search to a
specific domain, rather than searching for the name of your website. 
For example, you can search for "aerial" instead
of "jasonhawkes".  However, when I tried it, I still didn't see any
sign that any other images of yours were indexed.


Search Engine Watch - How Search Engines Work

Google Frequently Asked Questions: Image Search

Search strategy used:

Google Images: aerial

Google: web search engine spider

If any of my explanation is unclear, let me know.  I hope this helps


Request for Answer Clarification by jasonhawkes-ga on 06 Nov 2002 04:06 PST

Clarification of Answer by josh_g-ga on 06 Nov 2002 06:09 PST
(clearing request, no clarification needed)
There are no comments at this time.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy