Matt Cutts Answer To : Does using stock photos on your pages have a negative effect on rankings?

June 18th, 2013

Images are a very important aspect of any website. Images speak louder than words but to select the right images for a website is always a time consuming task. Many opt for the stock photos available on the web. But, does the use of stock photos have a negative impact on search engine rankings.

This is what Matt Cutts – the head of the spam team at Google has to say.

In August 2010 we wrote a blog Post which shared the following thought regarding this question.

A picture speaks louder than words. Images on a website have got their own importance from the search engine’s bot perspective as well as from a visitor’s perspective. Hence the images that we add on each every page should be well thought of and of related to the content.

The images add the color coefficient to the web page and also offer text content to the search engine robots in the form of ALT TEXT which is one of the on-page optimization factors for SEO.

Stock Images And Search Rankings
handshake isolated on business background (Photo credit: SalFalko)

Usually, we see most of the sites buy ready images from the numerous websites available for the same. We see board room images, people shaking hands denoting partnerships and finalizing deals. These images have perfect models modeling for the pictures and having perfect smiles which may be a dentist’s delight.

But, the questions asked in this context are:

• Do these images project the right impression of your company?

• Is your team so well-groomed (look-wise) as depicted in the website images?

• Don’t you think that such images are an insult to the hard working team that you have?

I am sure you have the answer for the above questions.

No company has a perfect looking team and the atmosphere at work is constantly not all grins and smiles and achievements. To reflect the true image of your company the images put for the product page,’ the team ‘or ‘about us’ page should be the actual pictures of your team members and the actual shop floor pictures of the product being manufactured or the of the office in which your staff is working to make the targets set by you a reality.

Having no images on the site is better than having the artificial smiling images. If you just adopt this change I am sure it will add to the credibility of your online business.

Focus on the content and value your product and people by putting them forward on the real estate of your web page.

Putting the right content and reflecting the true image of your company is like adding the soul to your website.

Matt Cutts in the video mentions that maybe in future Google might think about this. Hence according to me letting the website be an actual reflection of the business image you have real time and the website reflecting the actual infra structure and team is always a better option than having stock photos reflecting people and the office place as something totally opposite of what your actual business is or you and your team are.

As Matt Cutts mentions in the video original photos may be considered as a quality factor but though they are not a ranking factor now but it is pure logic that having a true identity will surely add to the trust factor in the minds of the visitors and gradually when Google incorporates this in the algorithms then it surely will add on to the online trust factor too.

As Google says cater to the user qualitatively and the search engines too are taken care off eventually, when they are ready and have updated their algorithms to add those signals.

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About The Author

Founder of WebPro Technologies a Web solutions company based in India which focuses on building quality web presence for businesses. Bharati Ahuja is a SEO Trainer and speaker, Web Entrepreneur, Blog Writer, Internet Marketing Consultant.


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