Google Image search updates referrer URL to help publishers track image search traffic

Google has announced a change to the referrer URL sent by Google Image search. The referrer URL is the way web analytics software tracks the source of a click to your website originates from. Previously, it was hard for webmasters and marketers to understand and segment out Google Image search referrers over other Google Search traffic. To make it easier, Google has changed the referrer URL to

“The referrer URL is part of the HTTP header, and indicates the last page the user was on and clicked to visit the destination webpage,” Google explained. By changing it to, web analytics packages and those that build custom analytics can better understand what traffic is coming to their site from Google Image search. Google Analytics already is prepared for this change, so you don’t need to do anything on your end if you are using Google Analytics. In addition, Google Search Console reports are unaffected by this.

Google said, “We want you to be prepared for this change,” but Google did not specify an exact cutover date for this change. Google said this is rolling out “over the next few months.”

About The Author

Barry Schwartz is Search Engine Land’s News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on SEM topics.

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