The new look Google Image Search has results in the average website receiving less than half as much referral traffic from that source.
According to research by Define Media Group, websites have suffered an average decline in referral traffic of 63%. The worst affected industries were fashion and lifestyle, entertainment and news, which suffered a decline of around 78% in Google Image Search traffic.
Some commentators are attributing this fall into a fall in 'phantom visits' in which publishers counted impressions from the old design, when internet users did not actually click through to the site. But the organisation behind the research claims to have never found an instance of the supposed phantom visit phenomenon, explaining that none of the publishers included in the research and data revealed evidence of this phenomenon.
They claim that the 78% and 63% average fall in referral traffic is likely to be hold true across even more publishers.
Google recently upgraded its image search service. The old Google Image Search loaded the host page of the website in the background when an image is selected. This is no longer the case. Presently, the interface does not load the original site in the background, only a hi res version of the image, with an invitation to click visit page. Many website have seen a decline in traffic as a result, though they have not changed their image SEO.