Watermarking images is a very popular way of thwarting image thefts. In the past, we have covered several freeware image tools and services which allow you to watermark images for free. However, if you are a webmaster, a recent post on the official Google webmaster blog might change your thoughts on watermarking your blog or website images.
Peter Linsley the product manager of Google Image search talks about some pros and cons of watermarking images.
Pros of watermarked images
- Photographers can claim credit/be recognized for their art.
- Unknown usage of the image is deterred.
Findings relevant to watermarked images (Cons)
- Users prefer large, high-quality images (high-resolution, in-focus).
- Users are more likely to click on quality thumbnails in search results. Quality pictures (again, high-res and in-focus) often look better at thumbnail size.
- Distracting features such as loud watermarks, text over the image, and borders are likely to make the image look cluttered when reduced to thumbnail size.
Google Image Search like the regular Google Search is a huge traffic puller. The findings above or the cons of using watermarked images are definitely worth noting. The reasoning is also quite appropriate as images with watermarks are not that enticing when you actually view it in thumbnail format. However, these findings do not say that you should not watermark your images. Although, it is definitely worth knowing how users react to watermarked images.
Would you as a webmaster stop watermarking your images to get better search engine clicks in image search? It would be interesting to debate on this topic as image theft is rampant, however on the other hand every bit of search engine juice is always welcomed by a webmaster.