Image License Metadata in Google Images (BETA)

When you specify license information for the images on your website, the image can display with a Licensable badge on image thumbnails in Google Images. This tells people that license information is available for the image, and provides a link to the license in the Image Viewer, which offers more detail on how someone can use the image.

The Licensable badge in Google Images

Feature availability

This feature isn't available in Google Images yet. You can provide metadata in advance, to ensure your images are eligible when the feature becomes available.

Prepare your web pages and images

To make sure Google can discover and index your images:

Add metadata

To tell Google which images are licensable, add metadata to each licensable image on your site. If you have the same image on multiple pages, add metadata for each image on each page that it appears.

There are two ways that you can add metadata. You only need to provide Google with one form of metadata to be eligible for the Licensable badge, and any of the following methods is sufficient:

  • Structured data: Structured data is an association between the image and the page where it appears with the mark up. You need to add structured data for every instance an image is used, even if it's the same image.
  • IPTC photo metadata: IPTC photo metadata is embedded into the image itself, and the image and metadata can move from page to page while still staying intact. You only need to embed IPTC photo metadata once per image.

The following diagram shows how license information may show up in Google Images:

Callouts showing what parts of the license metadata may be shown in Google Images
  1. A URL to a page that describes the license governing an image’s use. Specify this information with the Schema.org license property or the IPTC Web Statement of Rights field.
  2. A URL to a page that describes where the user can find information on how to license that image. Specify this information with the Schema.org acquireLicensePage property or the IPTC Licensor URL (of a Licensor) field.

Structured data

One way to tell Google that an image is licensable is to add structured data fields. Structured data is a standardized format for providing information about a page and classifying the page content. If you’re new to structured data, you can learn more about how structured data works.

Here's an overview of how to build, test, and release structured data. For a step-by-step guide on how to add structured data to a web page, check out the structured data codelab.

  1. Add the required properties. For information about where to put structured data on the page, watch JSON-LD structured data: Where to insert on the page.
  2. Follow the General structured data guidelines.
  3. Validate your code using the Structured Data Testing Tool.
  4. Deploy a few pages that include your structured data and use the URL Inspection tool to test how Google sees the page. Be sure that your page is accessible to Google and not blocked by a robots.txt file, the noindex tag, or login requirements. If the page looks okay, you can ask Google to recrawl your URLs.
  5. To keep Google informed of future changes, we recommend that you submit a sitemap. You can automate this with the Search Console Sitemap API.

Examples

Single image

Here's an example of a page with a single licensable image.

JSON-LD


<html>
  <head>
    <title>Black labrador puppy</title>
    <script type="application/ld+json">
    {
      "@context": "https://schema.org/",
      "@type": "ImageObject",
      "url": "https://example.com/photos/1x1/black-labrador-puppy.jpg",
      "license": "https://example.com/license",
      "acquireLicensePage": "https://example.com/how-to-use-my-images"
    }
    </script>
  </head>
  <body>
    <img alt="Black labrador puppy" src="https://example.com/photos/1x1/black-labrador-puppy.jpg">
    <p><a href="https://example.com/license">License</a></p>
    <p><a href="https://example.com/how-to-use-my-images">How to use my images</a></p>
  </body>
</html>

RDFa


<html>
  <head>
    <title>Black labrador puppy</title>
  </head>
  <body>
  <div vocab="http://schema.org/" typeof="ImageObject">
    <img alt="Black labrador puppy" itemprop="url" src="https://example.com/photos/1x1/black-labrador-puppy.jpg" /><br />
    <span property="license"> https://example.com/license</span><br />
    <span property="acquireLicensePage">https://example.com/how-to-use-my-images</span>
  </div>
  </body>
</html>

Microdata


<html>
  <head>
    <title>Black labrador puppy</title>
  </head>
  <body>
    <div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject">
    <img alt="Black labrador puppy" itemprop="url" src="https://example.com/photos/1x1/black-labrador-puppy.jpg" /><br />
    <span itemprop="license"> https://example.com/license</span><br />
    <span itemprop="acquireLicensePage">https://example.com/how-to-use-my-images</span>
    </div>
  </body>
</html>
Multiple image on a page

Here's an example of a page with multiple licensable images.

JSON-LD

RDFa

Microdata

Structured data type definitions

The full definition of ImageObject is provided on schema.org/ImageObject.

If you're using structured data to specify a licensable image, you must include the license property for your image to be eligible to be shown with the Licensable badge. We recommend that you also add the acquireLicensePage property if you have that information.

Required properties
license URL

A URL to a page that describes the license governing an image’s use. For example, it could be the terms and conditions that you have on your website. Where applicable, it could also be a Creative Commons License (for example, BY-NC 4.0).

Recommended properties
acquireLicensePage URL

A URL to a page where the user can find information on how to license that image. Here are some examples:

  • A check-out page for that image where the user can select specific resolutions or usage rights
  • A general page that explains how to contact you

IPTC photo metadata

Alternatively, you can embed IPTC photo metadata directly inside an image. You must include the Web Statement of Rights field for your image to be eligible to be shown with the licensable badge. We recommend that you also add the Licensor URL field if you have that information.

Required properties
Web Statement of Rights

A URL to a page that describes the license governing an image’s use, and optionally other rights information. For example, it could be the terms and conditions that you have on your website. Where applicable, it could also be a Creative Commons License (for example, BY-NC 4.0).

Recommended properties
Licensor URL (of a Licensor)

A URL to a page where the user can find information on how to license that image. Here are some examples:

  • A check-out page for that image where the user can select specific resolutions
  • A general page that explains how to contact you

Troubleshooting

If you're having trouble implementing license metadata, here are some resources that may help you.