Best practice (SEO) for dynamically served images? RRS feed

  • Question

  • We provide the application for the NGA's Prints and Printmaking website in Australia:


    The site has an amazing database content (200,000+ records) and some 23,000 images. In December we rebuilt the site to take advantage of URL rewriting and help serve the dynamic content in a SEO manner.

    For example a particlar work can be found at:



    For the images we built a httphandler that can render out whatever size image we require to be shown on demand. This also allows us to abstract the very ID based filenames so we get something like:



    Unfortunately to date none of these images have been index by live.com or google.com.


    Any ideas of information? this is what we have done:


    1) ensured the file extension was the correct type = .jpg

    2) set the following in our .net code:
                        context.Response.ContentType = "image/jpeg";

    3) images are <img> tags with content eg:
    <img title="Artist: BRACK, John
    Title: Head of a woman.
    Date: 1954
    Technique: etching and foul biting, printed in warm black ink with plate-tone, from one copper plate
    Copyright: © Helen Brack
    " src="/images/small/138945/brack-john-head-of-a-woman.jpg" style="border-width:0px;" />


    I'm at a lose to understand why this isn't working.


    Do the image URLS need to be the full path no relative?

    Would a sitemap help? can we list images?

    How do we check if an image is being overlooked for some reason?



    Friday, March 7, 2008 1:50 AM


All replies

  • Ok, so no-one reads these?

    Well the update from me is I changed all the images to absolute paths, that is for the example above it now reads:


    Some distant memory reminded me this is good for caching also as it is absolute.


    I also plumbed up some code to produce a site map index file and a site map for each letter of each catalogue - 135 sitemaps in total, some 78,000 pages as it turns out. (I havn't included images or impressions or prints as it is very duplicate information and I suspect it may hurt rankings). This wasn't actually that hard to do, hopefully it makes a difference.


    I sent an email off to the Live webmaster, if I can confirm what I have done is actually correct and works I'll write up exactly what I did and post some code.





    Tuesday, March 11, 2008 1:04 PM
  • Wow nothing still?

    So the update is my email never got a reply, live.com has only indexed some 2,000 pages and only the static images as before.


    Google on the other hand has told me that it successfully navigated my sitemap has processed about 20,000 urls of the 78,000 sumitted. Still nothing on images though.


    No search engines seem to be able to see my images Sad


    So my tip that I will pass on to the live search team is to make your search better then the competition is:

    Why not do a better job at communication with webmasters? Why not index the sites submitted faster? If someone bothers to produce a site map and submit it to your engine why not process it within a few minutes or hours?




    Sunday, March 23, 2008 5:16 AM
  • At least you're getting indexed.  I can't get a reply from a real person regarding my problem, it's the most recent topic in this forum under this one. 

    Considering how dead this forum is (only people posting with problems and no official answers from anyone), it's quite a shame that the people behind this search engine aren't taking people's problems seriously.  
    Monday, March 24, 2008 5:15 AM
  • Its not like there are very many posts here to answer either...

    I watched a nice video from Mix presented by the live search team. They recommended this forum as a place that is well looked after by the team. Maybe people are away?

    I'm taking my first trip to Seattle in a few weeks (I'm from Australia) and will certianly try to find out what is going on.


    Monday, March 24, 2008 7:30 AM
  • Hi John,


    Sorry for the delay. Microsoft recognizes the lack of communication and is taking steps to ensure a more timely response in the future. Though I don't have an answer for you currently, we are reviewing the issue and will respond back with an answer as soon as possible. Thank you for your continued patience.





    Tuesday, March 25, 2008 11:10 PM
  • Hey John, I'm pretty sure that images (as well as any other content) in sitemaps needs to have absolute paths listed (see http://www.sitemaps.org/faq.php)


    I also found two links with tips that might help the search engines get your images outside of the embedded-in-a-page context: http://www.searchengineguide.com/liana-evans/5-tips-for-optimizing-images-for-search.php & http://www.bruceclay.com/blog/archives/2007/08/images_search_e.html


     SoulSolutions wrote:

    ...<quote compressed>

    So the update is my email never got a reply, live.com has only indexed some 2,000 pages and only the static images as before.


    Google on the other hand has told me that it successfully navigated my sitemap has processed about 20,000 urls of the 78,000 sumitted. Still nothing on images though.


    No search engines seem to be able to see my images

    Wednesday, March 26, 2008 2:34 AM
  • Hmmm, after some deeper digging on Google's Webmaster support site, it seems that direct URLs to images in Sitemaps won't get indexed, only the page that contains the image.  I wonder if you can't create a "page" for each unique image.  My guess is that the Live Search crawler behaves similarly to Google's.



    Wednesday, March 26, 2008 2:57 AM
  • Thanks Brett I look forward to hearing from you. If you need any more information please let me know.


    Great links Sunnysideandy. The articles talk about making sure your image filenames are descriptive, using a good descriptive alt tag, words surrounding your images (maybe a caption is a good idea) and importantly putting each image on a seperate page. This is of course because search engines can't index images but instead the text around them.


    We do most of this, as the sites images are related to works of art they each have a page.


    I understand now why you wouldn't submit just the image filenames, it gives no context. We have however submitted each of the pages of the site that contain the images.




    Thursday, March 27, 2008 11:52 PM
  • So the next update is that Live Search has found 61 of the collection's images, only 23,000 to go. To date Google has still not found any. This has given me hope that the images will be indexed at some stage.

    Live Search still only claims to have found 1,480 pages on the site compared to 235,000 over at Google.


    The Prints site took out Best of the Web - Research site at the Museums and Web conference in Montreal last week. Now if we can only get this live search index working then we can do some cool stuff with the Live Search API....



    Monday, April 14, 2008 3:07 PM
  • Still not good news in the waiting game that is SEO.

    Google now has found 1,550 images vs Live's 92, this is out of some 18,000 images (we had to drop some copyright images until they are cleared for use). There are 3 sizes of each image presented so it could be possible to have 55,000 indexed.


    Webpage wise, Live claims only 1,980 webpages versus Google's 6,300,000 for the site!


    So it looks like the images work, just not much luck getting them crawled and added to the index.



    Friday, May 9, 2008 5:58 AM
  • Hi John,


    As a thought, your issue could boil down to reaching the limitations of the size of our index.


    Friday, May 9, 2008 6:08 PM
  • Brett,

    The ideal scenario is to have the 78,660 pages explicitly specified in the sitemap files and the 18,000 medium sized images indexed.

    I understand the issue with dynamic sites is there are an infinate number of possible page combinations. Should I set a NOINDEX, FOLLOW metatag on other pages? Browse lists, related records list etc (I'm guessing this is why Google reports 6 million pages. Would this solve the problem?


    I'm happy to talk offline Brett - John at soulsolutions.com.au


    I'm really keen to use the Live Search API for the collection but until the site is indexed I'm stuck.


    I'd obviously like to get to the bottom of this and write an article that others can follow to get great results.





    Saturday, May 10, 2008 11:30 PM
  • Taking offline.


    Tuesday, May 13, 2008 5:27 PM