Recently Google made changes to its image search or, to be precise, it made changes to how images are displayed in its search results.
Before this change if a visitor clicked on your image in Google’s search results the entire screen faded and the image floated over it. However, your website was still loading behind that black (or grey) overlay. I always thought it was pointless, but this type of views would register as visits in your stats. After the latest changes, your website doesn’t load anymore while all your images are available for download right form Google search results. Of course, nobody says you allowed to download your images, but we all know that’s exactly what happens.
I’ve seen many webmasters cry in various forums. If a significant portion of your traffic was coming from image search, these days must be tough for you.
On the other hand, all these webmasters were reporting that their income didn’t change. It’s because although your website was loading behind that dark overlay, your visitors weren’t really visitors and never went to your website. For most of you with image-based traffic, it feels that you lost but you really didn’t. This wasn’t real traffic anyway. The only thing you could do with this traffic is to show nice page view numbers to advertisers and now your numbers decreased.
I personally always felt like clicking on image should result in being redirected to the original page without any kind of overlay, but who cares how I feel about it anyway.