One SEO professional asked John Mueller about updating image URLs in Google Search.
They have been really badly affected by constantly updating images in Google ImageSearch.
They run a recipe website, and they found that if they have lots of recipes indexed in the recipe gallery, and you change the format of your images, then as the metadata of the images is refreshed, you will get new metadata.
And this will screw up the display of your images. This can be a problem with around 50,000 recipes.
Additionally, it could be months before any of the new images could be picked up. And while these images are being harvested, you don’t see anything.
But, when you do a test on Google Search Console, it does this in real time and says “Yeah, everything’s correct, because the image is there.” And there is no warning about this.
What it means is, you better not make any changes or tweaks to improve the formatting of your image URL, because if you do, you disappear.
John explained that what is happening here is likely the general crawling and indexing of images.
Crawling and indexing of images, John said, is much slower than normal web pages. If you remove one image URL, and you add a new one on the page, then it takes a lot of time for the new image format to be picked up again.
This is probably what the SEO pro is seeing here. What John recommends in a case like this is to redirect their old image URl to the new ones for these images also.
If you do something like you have an image URL, which has the file size attached to the URL for example, then this URL should redirect to the new one.
And in this case, Google can keep the old one in their systems and follow the redirect to the new one without issue.
This happens at approximately the 50:48 mark in the video.
John Mueller Hangout Transcript