How to tell Google to index images that are not discovered by crawlers

Use Image Sitemaps to get Google and other search engines to index your images quickly.

If images on your website are only discoverable via Javascript code or behind signup pages, the images may not be discovered by crawlers.

This is not optimal in most cases because, you want all your images to be accessible to search engine crawlers, as images are a great way for users to visually discover information on search.

As an example, let's imagine that you have a developer portfolio website (www.MyPortfolio.com), and on the home page you are listing 75 images from 75 past projects.  And each of these 75 inner project pages (e.g. MyPortfolio.com/Project1) has 10 different images specific to that project. 

The easiest way to get Google to crawl all the images, and to correctly co-relate each image to it's specific page is to include all this information in the sitemap using the URL tag. 

You can list upto 1000 images for each page using the URL tag.  So, for your home page (which displays 75 images) you would add this. 


And for your inner pages, which each contains 10 images you could do the following:


Similarly, for each of your inner pages, you would create different URL tags for each of them. 

You can create a new image sitemap and list all these URLs in them, or you could add these to your main sitemap. Either way works, but make sure that you include all your sitemaps in your Robots.txt file and that it does not disallow any pages you want to crawl. 

Unlike regular sitemaps, image sitemaps allow you to include URLs from other domains. So, if you are hosting your images on an external content delivery network, you can directly add these external content delivery URLs to your image sitemap. 

If you have images of different sizes, and you want to make sure that a specific size is indexed, add them to the image sitemap. You could also use the <img srcset> attribute for responsive images. But some browsers and crawlers do not support this, and so it's always good to specify the fallback URL using the img src attribute. 

Apart from the <image:loc> definition, you can provide additional information regarding the image. 
This is recommended as adding more context around images will result in a better experience for users.

Here is an example with more image tag definitions. I'd recommend that you do this for all your important images.

This is the preferred way to show search engine crawlers which images to index on your website. Following these tips will help you add more visual information for your websites on Google. And this can lead to more traffic to your website.


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