Stock Photos And Search Engines


stock pictures and search engines

Stock Images

Blogs, including this one and multiple websites use stock photos found online. Soon, using these types of pics may possibly have a negative effect on your search engine ranking, according to Matt Cutts of Google.

I understand the merit of creating an enjoyable, witty, useful and original infograph. Putting one together has become a vital goal of anyone interested in becoming a professional in the field of SEO. This also proves invaluable for attracting followers or links if it makes a splash and gets shared and discussed.

I also understand that a blog or webpage can seem dull and static with copy alone and no photos or video to compliment the content. To date there is no aspect in the Google algorithm which penalizes the use of stock photos or other people’s infographs. Nor does it commend creating you own. Makes no difference either way. Except for the fact that you can pat yourself on the shoulder since it is more creative and share worthy.


What if Google Penalizes Use of Stock Photos?


Original content is necessary in order for the internet to continue its maturation into an all out information tool, cutting wasted spam and low quality sites which hinders this growth. Considering the amount of photos and various images shared on social networks, a negative effect on search engines with regards to stock pics may shake many foundations of various sites and turn the web on its head.

This won’t really affect that certain Facebook personality (Everyone knows of at least one) who spends the entire day posting funny or deep pictures and philosophies they find in search. Then they continue and repeat this step 10 or 12 times each and every day in order to grab comments and likes as if they formulated the content themselves. Web ranking probably doesn’t affect their goals. Businesses or webmasters seeking increased page ranking with photo oriented social networks, most especially Pinterest and Instagram like sites would have to spend a lot more time or money making sure all their photography and videos are self created.

Penalizing stock photos on sites and social media as a signal to improve search quality may prove detrimental to so many sites across the board. The true question is will this affect newly added photos as of a starting date or all those stock images used prior to an implementation? If this is the latter approach, then many sites will need some serious housekeeping to appease the search giant. Reusing stock photos more than once on a site or related site can be seen as low quality and may deserve tumbled rank results. Having to use original photography may be time consuming, yet it will improve the over all quality of web information and creativity.

Here is a snippet video of of the ever useful site called which culls together brisk snippets of video where people ask Matt Cutts SEO related questions and his responses average less than 3 minutes. On this site, there is a search bar where you can narrow the 500 plus posed questions. The most useful is that the video snippet has a textual overview briefly describing the Q & A since the queries are basically yes and no responses.



4 thoughts on “Stock Photos And Search Engines

  1. That’s interesting but one thing I’ve already noticed is that doesn’t show a bunch of the same image in its results even though it may be used on tens of thousands of sites. Having a unique image may help pull in traffic from people searching images directly (like I find myself doing more and more). Your page or site may not rank very well compared to the other many thousands with the same image but if you’re the only one with an image, it may get bumped in the image SERP.


    • You’re right about the search. That slipped under the radar for me. Any idea when that began? It makes sense for image linking and google displaying unique url’s. I like your supposition on the future of site ranking for images. That makes a lot of sense.


      • I just started noticing it a couple weeks ago but it could have been that way for quite a while. I’m considering switching to just homemade images to see how well they rank compared to stock images. I really need to filter out my GA to show me which come from images vs regular searches somehow so I can track the difference.


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