Do Stock Images Hurt your Website Rankings?
Adding images to your website is a good thing. From the reader’s perspective, images help people connect to your words and add visual interest.
Meanwhile, the SEO industry and web developer community has been questioning whether Search Engines mark you down for using stock images rather than original images.
Matt Cutts, Head of the Webspam Team at Google, recently said that there is neither negative nor positive impact on your organic web rankings if you use stock images rather than original images. See Matt’s 59-second YouTube video.
How Search Engines Read Websites
When you see a picture of a woman laughing, you know she’s heard or seen something funny – because you are human and have eyes. You SEE it. Search Engines – and the screen readers used by the visually impaired – read the code.
There’s a huge difference.
You see images; the search engine sees programming. These are two very distinct and different languages.
It’s a big help to the search engines when you give your images names that relate to the page on which the image is placed. Regardless of whether you are using stock images or your own, naming the images with the keywords for that page will assist in improving your page rank.
If, for example, your web page is about the physical action of laughing, our laughing woman photo would add to Google’s impression of your site if it was laughing woman.jpg, because Google would read that the photo is about the same thing as the page content.
If you load the same image onto your site but it’s called Disc_068743.jpg, Google would scratch its head and say, “Hhmmm… this has nothing to do with laughing,” and consider your web page irrelevant to the reader, and that has a negative impact on your page rank.
The second half of the equation is the “alt” tag you give to the image. This is the text a site visitor sees if something is stopping them from seeing the actual image. Just make sure that whatever you call the photo, you also use for the “alt” tag.
Stock Image or Original, your website rankings will improve when you follow these simple steps.
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