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How to Hide Full-Sized Images in Google Search

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Want to hide your full-sized images in Google search?

If you want to hide your full-sized images in Google Search, you can out out of inline linking. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Examine the HTTP referrer header when your image is requested.
  2. If the request originates from Google, reply with HTTP 200 or 204 and no content.
  3. Google will still crawl the post/page and see your image(s), but the crawler will generate a thumbnail-sized image for search results instead of pulling the full-sized version.

You can opt-out at any point and you images don’t need to be re-processed in order to start showing a thumbnail instead of the full-sized image in search.

Prevent Full-Sized Images from showing in Google Image search results
The selected image uses this method to prevent the full-sized version from displaying.

Will this impact my SEO?

Ultimately, Google has said countless times before that everything you do on your website should be focused on improving your readers’ experience. Trying to cater to the algorithm and harming your readers’ experience in the process is a surefire way to harm your SEO.

With that said, it’s obvious that you should check Google’s best practices before making changes like this one. Luckily, you’re in the clear! Hiding your full-sized images in Google Image search is no big deal. In fact…

  • Google recommends this method if you don’t want the full-sized version to display in Image search.
  • This is not considered image cloaking.
  • Manual actions won’t be taken against you.

In other words: Opting out of inline linking won’t harm your SEO! So, if you don’t want to stop Google from displaying full-sized images, this is the method to use.

Want more help with SEO? Read 7 Quick Tips for Optimizing Images for Search Engines

This is part of our mini-series: Climb The SERPs. In this series, we strive to offer bite-sized tips and tactics that you can easily digest and implement so that you can start getting better SEO results.

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