Google’s New Licensable Images Features Are Officially Out!

Google’s New Licensable Images Features Are Officially Out!

Have you heard the news? Google Images released their new licensable images features earlier today, which will help photographers looking to improve the discovery of their content and potentially earn more.

Here at PhotoShelter, we’ve recently talked a lot about devoting extra time to SEO, but photographers have long been seeking the reward for all that hard — and let’s face it, not super exciting — SEO work. The great news is that it’s now easier than ever for potential buyers to find your work in Google Images.

Now, Google will display a “Licensable” badge on image thumbnails in Google Images search results if that image has a usage license associated with it, and includes the appropriate metadata. Not only does that reinforce the value of photos, but it also links directly to your website where a license can be obtained for its use.

This release is huge for independent photographers looking to sell images from their own websites. Google Images has the potential to be a main traffic source for photographers, assuming they are set up to take advantage of it.

“Google Images’ new licensable images features will drive a paradigm shift in how professional creative teams discover unique content,” Andrew Fingerman, PhotoShelter CEO, told Google. “By establishing Google Images as a reliable way to identify licensable content, Google will drive discovery opportunities for all agencies and independent photographers, creating an efficient process to quickly find and acquire the most relevant, licensable content.”  

The chatter in the photo community has already taken off.

“It’s heartwarming to see Google take such a crucial step towards protecting the rights of artists like me,” Nikon Ambassador Ami Vitale told us. “With their new licensable images features and the support of tools like PhotoShelter, my work will be safer from theft and can be more easily sold to those who wish to use it.”

For months now, we’ve been working behind the scenes with Google to ensure that PhotoShelter members are able to take advantage of the new features right away. Check out our step-by-step guide from General Manager Grover Sanschagrin to make sure you’re set up for success. Our Technical Support team can also walk you through the setup process, or apply your Web Statement and Licensor URL to all images in your account on your behalf.

Google has also provided more information on the program on their blog.

All images by Google.

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This article was written by

Caitlyn Edwards is the Senior Customer Marketing Manager at PhotoShelter. Passionate about visual storytelling and ethics, she covers photo news, events and offers educational tips.

There are 13 comments for this article
  1. Ian Murray at 4:04 am

    The difficulty is getting Google Images to include my images. It finds them but decides not to index them. This is after submitting my site map. Apparently GI finds the format of my images on Photoshelter to be ‘duplicates’ possibly because many share the same basic metadata – who knows?

    Unfortunately Google Images only lists a very small proportion of images that are available.

    This development does call out for some sort off aggregated system for opt-in images so that buyers are not dealing with thousands of individuals all setting different prices and conditions.

      • Ian Murray at 9:15 am

        My problem right now is much more basic than that. Only a tiny proportion of my images have been indexed by Google, even ones that have the correct preparation for this initiative.

        I just tried s fairly specific search for ‘cardiff fish indoor market ashtons’ and can’t see mine anywhere at all. Much the same on any search I do.

        Photoshelter used to be much better so something has changed at Photoshelter’s end. My hunch is that moving to the templates – away from the old Classic design – has made matters much worse.

        I would very much like to hear from others who are doing well in SEO through Photoshelter and also have a large collection submitted to Google.

  2. Jaak Nilson at 10:23 am

    Big stock photo agencies spending money for marketing in Google. All the time in Google, so they has advantage comparing to Photoshlter solo photographer. Seems as pointless race to bottom, as usually:)

  3. Paul Mozell at 11:02 am

    I don’t see any reference to Google within the IPTC group on my Photoshelter. I hope there is some way to automate the process, because I don’t want to apply the settings to thousands of individual files.

  4. George Ward at 7:12 pm

    I’ve long been a Photoshelter member and have brought my share of users over to the platform.

    Two issues: The larger stock image agencies (who take 60 to 90 percent of image profits, and whose greed has driven the entire industry to pitiable depths) are crushing Photoshelter members in a Google licensable image search; and I, along with others on this blog, have only a tiny portion of my archive showing at all. I understand and appreciate that Photoshelter is doing the best it can currently. Still, these facts make a mockery of all our individual work regarding SEO.

    I believe Photoshelter has the power to affect this unfair situation to a significant extent and have its member’s images closer to the top with the big stock agencies. Photoshelter is not some small, obscure company. I fear it all comes down to money, but I, for one, would gladly pay more to see Photoshelter be more effective here. Nothing could increase their membership more than seeing a positive change with these issues. And members are paying close attention.

  5. Ian Murray at 1:44 pm

    Unfortunately Photoshelter SEO is hopeless especially since they moved to templates without text. Google just doesn’t find our images. But when this is pointed out it will invariably be the paying customer who is told that they are doing something wrong.

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