Google is launching a new feature that will make photographers really happy. When you specify license information for your photos, they will have the “Licensable” badge on the thumbnails in Google Images. This way, people will know that the image is available for licensing (and no, it’s not free just because it’s on Google). There will also be a link to license details in the Image Viewer, so people can learn how they can buy and use your photo.
The feature is still being developed, and it is going to be launched on Google Images when it’s done. Google notes that you can provide structured data or metadata in advance “to ensure your images are eligible when the feature becomes available.”
In a blog post, Google shares the guide for preparing your images for the new feature:
- Make sure people can access and view your pages that contain images without needing an account or logging in.
- Make sure Googlebot can access your pages that contain images (meaning, your pages aren’t disallowed by a robots.txt file or robots meta tag). You can see all pages blocked on your site in the Index Coverage report, or test a specific page using the URL Inspection tool.To learn more about how to use the URL Inspection tool, watch the Search Console training video.
- Follow the Webmaster Guidelinesto make sure Google can discover your content.
- Follow the Google Images best practices.
- To keep Google informed of changes, we recommend that you submit a sitemap. You can automate this with the Search Console Sitemap API.
I believe that most of us have found our photos here and there without giving people permission to use them. You would be surprised how many folks think that images are free to use just because they can be found on Google! So, I think that the “Licensable” tag is terrific. First of all, it could help educate people that they can’t just download and use a photo if they find it on Google. And second, it could help photographers to sell more images, and now is probably the best time for all the help they can get.
There’s no word on when exactly the new feature will be rolled out. But if you want to prepare the images on your website for it, Google gives you a detailed guide here, so make sure to check it out and get to work. We’ll update the article when we know the release date.