Using Stock Images?

SEO Company

Do you currently use any stock photos or imagery on any of your sites? For most companies, it’s a hard thing to avoid. The reality is that you’re going to need images, and you’re not always going to have the time or the money to hire a professional photographer or designer to create them for you. We get a lot of questions asking if stock images are okay to use, or if everything should be completely unique to the site, so here are the answers to help your SEO company get the most bang for the buck.

The short answer:

Stock images do not result in a negative effect on your site. You will never be penalized for using the same images as thousands of other people as long as that image is relevant to your page and is providing some value to the user. Matt Cutts recently released a video that confirmed this, saying Google’s algorithm doesn’t take stock images into account in any way, positive or negative.

The longer answer:

Using stock images won’t hurt your site, but not using them CAN help it. As you may have noticed when you use Google’s image search function, you very rarely see duplicate images in the results. What this means is that if you use stock images, your version of the image likely won’t show up in search results no matter how well you optimize it, because you are competing with thousands of other sites. If you use original images and optimize them well, you are more likely to show up in search results because you’re brining something new (and therefore valuable) to the table.

To sum it up:

You’re going to have to use stock images a lot of the time, especially if you are blogging daily and using the photos that go along with the story, it’s just reality. The best thing you can do is keep your eyes open for opportunities to use original imagery whenever they arise.

Original post can be found on Wikimotive’s blog.

Tim Martell

Timothy Martell is a digital marketing and SEO expert regularly sought out by both media and industry leaders for his opinion on social media marketing campaigns that really work. Timothy has been seen on MSNBC and Dateline, has been interviewed twice by Facebook for his successful dealership advertising campaigns, has been a featured speaker at automotive conferences such as, DMSC, AMBC, and the Driving Sales Executive Summit and has been featured on the cover of AutoSuccess magazine. Timothy is known for pushing the boundaries of conventional automotive thinking and producing social media campaigns that generate massive numbers of followers leading to record ROI.

4 thoughts on “Using Stock Images?

  1. Using original images can be a great way to attract unexpected traffic to your site. I have included several diagrams on my blog that rank first in the image search results.

    At the same time, I used a generic map of Melbourne and added my own tags to it and it gets several hundred hits every week- more than all of the other images put together. It also ranks well in the ‘map of Melbourne’ search results even though it is exactly the same image that is used by the local government website. It is more important to have the right meta tags than an original image.

  2. You’re right about the importance of meta tags. We wrote a blog about that earlier this year:

    Funny that you’re ranking for Melbourne map! Is that helping your business at all?

  3. Search engines read the meta tags on images to determine what they are about and so it can be alright to use a stock image if you tag it well. In the end it is always better to create your own pictures but failing that, taking the time to make sure that it is tagged to match your content is still the most important part of using any pictures for good SEO.

  4. Excellent blog! Do you have any recommendations for aspiring writers?
    I’m planning to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you propose starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option?
    There are so many options out there that I’m totally overwhelmed ..
    Any recommendations? Kudos!

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