Google: Changing Image URLs Will Affect Rankings in Image Search
Matt Southern | January 14, 2019
Google’s John Mueller cautions site owners that a change to image URLs will affect how they rank in image search results. This is particularly relevant to sites that get a lot of traffic from Google Images.
Changing an image URL, even though it’s the same image appearing on the same page, will result in Google treating it as a new image. So it will have to be recrawled, reprocessed, reindexed, and work its way up the rankings again. That could take a long time, as Mueller notes because images are not crawled as often as web pages. However, the damage can be mitigated by setting up redirects. Redirecting old image URLs to new URLs will forward ranking signals from the old images to the new ones.