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My images are not being loaded in my Google product feed - what can I do?

It is unlikely that there is anything wrong with the images in your feed. The GooglebaseXML product feed takes the image links directly from the product information in the database so if they are showing on your site then they should be included correctly in the feed. If you view the feed in your web browser you will not see them because it is not a web page, it is an xml feed, and they are not normal image tags, so the fact that you cannot see them as images does not mean that there is a problem, it is normal.

However if you right click on the page and view the xml source you will almost certainly see that it contains the correct image tags as it should, for example

[code]<g:image_link>http://www.mysite.com/images/stories/virtuemart/product/j0976.jpg</g:image_link>[/code]

If you check the image url displayed in the tag, by copying it and pasting it in the address bar of your browser, you should see will see that the image loads as normal. If it does, then you do not have a problem with your images loading, it is not an issue with the feed. If you are still having problems, it is either a problem with your robots.txt file, or your images conflict in some way with Google's policies.

 

Robots.txt

Your Joomla distribution comes with a special file called robots.txt will tells robots such as the Googlebot which folders on your site it is allowed to crawl, and which ones are barred. The default robots.txt file looks like this:-

 


User-agent: *
Disallow: /administrator/
Disallow: /cache/
Disallow: /cli/
Disallow: /components/
Disallow: /images/
Disallow: /includes/
Disallow: /installation/
Disallow: /language/
Disallow: /libraries/
Disallow: /logs/
Disallow: /media/
Disallow: /modules/
Disallow: /plugins/
Disallow: /templates/
Disallow: /tmp/

 

 

It is pretty easy to understand what this does, it tells all robots that they are barred from crawling the listed folders. (It is not actually possible this way to prevent them from doing so if they really want to, but a well-behaved robot such as Googlebot will obey the restrictions in your robots.txt file). Note that this includes the images folder, the effect is that Google cannot access your product images while this restriction is in place.

 

What can I do about this?

Simple, just delete the offending line:-

 

Disallow: /images/

 

You can then re-submit your feed to Google, so that they can make another attempt to crawl your images folder. You need to be aware that it takes them some time to do this, it can take up to a week, there is no alternative but to wait unfortunately.

 

Other Image Problems

Google do have some minimum requirements for images. They should be full size images rather than thumbnails, and Google do specify a minimum size, also that they should show the product clearly and not include promotional content, animations, or watermarks or logos that obstruct the product.

If you are still having problems with your images then you should check the product feed specification in detail at https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/188494?hl=en-GB&ref_topic=3404778  - if you click on the item labelled 'image link' it gives you a list of Google's policies regarding images.