Amount of traffic from Images Search Engines, Analytics filter & custom segment

Update July 2011: Google changed how image search referrals are reported in Google Analytics so the custom segment described below is no valid any more for this particular search engine :(

Update September 2012: take a look at this new article How to measure traffic from Google Images

You may already know how to optimize images for search engines, there are hundreds of articles about. Always said that it is recommended to increase your traffic but how much? Is it worth the effort?

Here I come with some numbers, something you wont find around, a Google Analytics filter to reveal the keywords users generating this traffic searched for, and a custom segment to quantify this traffic.

Some previous notes:

  • These traffic numbers have been taken from a long time span to get less funky percentages. High and medium volume sites
  • Traffic from Google, Yahoo or Bing Images is added to the referral bucket due to the way the page showing the selected image from the results is displayed on those engines, inside a frame. I compare it to organic traffic as it seems more reasonable.
  • The quality of the SEO images optimization has not been checked in depth, it could take an eternity and I want to take a rest before
  • The amount of images indexed by site was obtained with the command at Google Images.
  • If you run an adults related site remember to turn SafeSearch off :)

Some conclusions from the data in the table:

  • The maximum amount of traffic is 12.28%, not bad.
    I have never seen more than these even comparing other sites not included here
  • Between 6% and 7% ranges in second place, close to 4% in third position and less than 1% in most of the cases
  • A nice percentage of visits from images is more related to high percentage of organic traffic (80% and above) than the total volume of it
  • The amount of images indexed seem not being so influent but the SEO optimization of them as I have checked a bit manually
  • The winner combination is a balance between high organic traffic + well optimized images + a nice amount of them

Something I observed getting the numbers is that most of the traffic comes from Google Images, a very ridiculous % or nothing at all from Yahoo Images and Bing Images traffic is not appearing anywhere.

How much traffic images search engines bring to your web?

I did no notice that recently, from May 5th visits from images disappeared from referral traffic stats. Lino Uruñuela, one of the best SEO consultants in Spain, warned me about and started to dig for a reason.
This article of Simon Erdem not only explains it really good, also offers a solution to convert Google images traffic from referral to organic.

The problem of the solution offered is you have to modify the Google Analytics tracking code and you know how much an IT department can take to have mercy on you and do it.

That is why I worked out this custom segment for images traffic including the mayor search engines.

Traffic from images, Google Analytics custom segment

The regular expression for the Referral Path is:
/imgres for Google Images
/images/view for Yahoo Images
/images/search for Bing Images

As custom segments can be shared via link, log into your Google Analytics account, click in this one -> 'Traffic from Images Search Engines', hit 'Create segment' button and here you have it.

How to get the keywords from this traffic?

Something important but not mentioned at Simon's article is that his solution also captures the original keywords of the search as Lino could test.

If you can not implement it there is another way to get them all creating a filter to apply in a profile.

create a new custom filter: 'Keywords for images search engines'

  • check 'advanced'
  • Field A -> Extract A : Referral : images%3F(q|p)%3D(.*?)%26
  • Field B -> Extract B : nothing
  • Output To -> Constructor : User defined : $A2
  • Field A Required : Yes
  • Field B Required : No
  • Override Output Field : Yes

Regular expression for both Google and Yahoo: images%3F(q|p)%3D(.*?)%26
Bing? Is that a dog's name or what?

You will get something like

keywords from images Search Engines

I tried to get rid of those horrible %2B with a second filter but couldn't find how yet, anyone knows? Export as CSV, search %2B, replace with white spaces to have a nice list of search engines by country and the keywords.

Keywords from Images Search Engines

Try all this stuff and come back to tell us your experience.

Jun 04, 2010
Written by:
Filed under: Analytics

Jun 10, 2010
Posted by:
Harmony #1


Hey, looking forward to seeing you at the next Meetup.
I have tried to check into your site regularly as you bring so much more depth to SEO and I can learn a lot for
my practice. I don't like RSS readers - any chance you have an email RSS that I just haven't found on the site?

Jun 10, 2010
Posted by:
Ani Lopez #2

Hi Harmony
I'm very glad you like my articles, you are very kind.
No, i have not an email RSS or similar but if you follow me on twitter you will be updated when I publish and tons of interesting info about SEO I like to search and share.

See you at next Meetup, Cheers.

Aug 11, 2010

Thanks for this, very helpful.
You'd think that whenever Google chanced the way their image search works, which totally stopped Analytics from showing search traffic, that they would have had a helpful guide on one of their official blogs straight away telling people how to fix this.
Maybe Google reckon they can save a few dollars by having helpful people like yourself do their job for them?
Keep up the good work.

Feb 02, 2011
Posted by:
Rachael Gerson #4

Ani, this post is hugely helpful. I'm just seeing it for the first time months later, but still finding great value in the post, especially the user defined value showing the keywords for image searches. Thank you!

Apr 02, 2011
Posted by:
Nitrik #5

Thanks. I have so many visitors from images search and so little time looking in log files. Now, from your helpful page, Analytics talks to me again.

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