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Google Implements New Manual Penalty for “Image Mismatch”

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Google’s efforts to keep spam out of users’ search results include taking manual action against websites that violate their quality guidelines. The most recent addition to their guidelines is the Image Mismatch manual penalty.

An example of a Image Mismatch manual spam penalty message
Screenshot from Search Engine Roundtable.

What is Image Mismatch?

According to Google, receiving this alert means “some of your site’s images may be displaying differently on Google’s search results pages than they are when viewed on your site.” This happens when the image your website displays for users appears differently in Google’s search results pages.

The alert will specify if the mismatch problem affects the whole site (listed under Site-wide matches), or only part of the site (listed under Partial matches).

Google mentioned that problem may be caused by “anti-hotlinking” tools. Many website owners use these to prevent other people from hotlinking to their images and “stealing bandwidth” from their servers. This often involves redirecting the links to a different image.

What to Do When You Get a Mismatch Penalty

What should you do when you receive an Image Mismatch manual action penalty?

1. Check your site to make sure it displays exactly the same images to users whether they’re viewing them on your site or within Google image search results.

2. Submit a reconsideration request after you’ve made sure the problem has been resolved.

Keep following our blog to read the latest Google updates that may affect today’s search engine optimization services and best practices. If you’ve received an Image Mismatch penalty or are experiencing any other manual action problems, contact us and we’d be happy to help you out.

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