Google is beta testing a way for sites to highlight licensing information about content that appears in image search results.
The changes to image search results include a small badge indicating a particular image is “licensable.” After clicking on the image to expand it, Google will show where the image can be licensed from.
- A URL to a page that describes the license governing an image’s use.
- A URL to a page that describes where the user can find information on how to license that image.
These changes aren’t live yet, but sites can begin preparing their content for it ahead of time and ensure their images are eligible to display licensing information.
In order for content to display licensing information in Google Images, the site must be utilizing image license metadata. Metadata should be added to each licensable image on a site.
Site owners can add the required metadata either with structured data or IPTC photo metadata. Further instructions, and exact code snippets, can be found in Google’s official developer document.
No Impact on Search Rankings
Google’s John Mueller immediately had to clarify that these changes have no impact on search rankings.
No, this is not about SEO / ranking. The linked developer documentation has more information.
— 🍌 John 🍌 (@JohnMu) February 20, 2020
Google’s Danny Sullivan denied that this change has anything to do with a deceitful form of link building where people try to gain links by falsely claiming ownership of an image.
It's about letting site owners highlight licensing information.
— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) February 20, 2020
Use of image license metadata is strictly optional. There was no date provided for when Google will start displaying licensing information in image search results.