Search Engine Image Traffic Recovering

In January 2006, I posted about Chuck Norris and the amazing “Chuck Norris Facts” that were blazing around the internet in emails. A short period of time after that post was indexed, it started showing up within the search engine result pages for most things revolving around Chuck Norris and his amazing facts.

Traffic to your web site is generally a good thing, no matter how it gets to your site. Unfortunately, the cost of being prominently placed within the search engine results had a downside and my site exceeded its monthly bandwidth allocation. I contacted my web host and they graciously re-enabled my account for the rest of the month.

The table below shows the monthly image search referrals. As you can see, the search engine image referrals double between December 2005 and the following month. The referrals continued to increase steadily, until half way through April it started to jump again and by May it was completely out of control, saturating my monthly bandwidth allocation. In case you’re wondering what or who was the culprit, it was a whole swag of particularly lazy MySpace folk.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2005 1 258 199 76 72 507 988 1823
2006 4409 4447 5392 23733 53573 43600 22374 19730 27561 13362 57 40
2007 55 38 56 2141*
* Incomplete months worth of data

To make sure the bandwidth theft didn’t happen again, I took some pretty drastic measures by blocking all search engines from indexing my /images/ folder using the robots.txt file and implemented hot link protection via the .htaccess file. By half way through October 2006, the change had fully kicked in, dropping my monthly image search referrals from over 50000 to under 100 per month.

Since the mania surrounding Chuck Norris faqs has subsided, I decided that it was time to remove the heavy handed restriction placed over my /images/ folder. I’m currently allowing everyone to index everything once more and am even participating in the Google Image search beta, which can be enabled through the Google Webmasters Console.

The restrictions were removed at the end of March 2007 and half way through April, the search referrals are already on the increase again. Once this month is finished, I would expect to have approximately 4400 search referrals, which is back inline with where the site was in February/March 2006.

Onward and upward I say.