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Google’s response on whether Stock Photos affect SEO

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Someone recently asked Google’s Senior Webmaster, John Mueller on Twitter whether the use of stock photos has an impact on website rankings. He said that one of his friends felt that the use of non-original content on the website, such as stock images, might affect rankings.

Here’s what Google’s John Mueller replied to this:

“It doesn’t matter for web-search directly.”

Later, John Mueller also pointed out that using stock images that are used by many people could make it challenging to rank in Google Image Search.

Here’s what he said:

“For image search, if it’s the same image as used in many places, it’ll be harder. (There’s also the potential impact on users, after search happens, eg: does it affect conversions if your team photo is obvious stock photography?)”

Do stock photos affect rankings?

Many were of the opinion that John Mueller’s answer was kind of indirect. However, he did mention that stock photos do not affect your rankings in the Google SERP. Let’s be real; not every website have designers to design photos for every topic. Many websites make use of stock photos to portray their content better. 

There have been a number of instances where Google rewards original written content even though stock photos have been used in the article. If Google were to punish websites using stock photos, half of the websites wouldn’t even rank. Therefore, using stock photos does not affect your rankings as long as the image is relevant to your content piece.

Stock photos aren’t perfect for Google Image Search

If you are planning to target the Google image search, stock photos simply won’t help. As John Mueller rightly points out, many users are already using the same stock photos as you. This will make it difficult to rank your images on the image search engine.

If you want your images to rank higher in the image search, make sure you create original photos that are exclusive to your website. You can use tools such as Adobe Photoshop or Canva to build some engaging infographics and images. The perfect combination of original content and unique images will surely help you rank in Google image search.

Stock photos should be relevant to your content piece

When you use stock photography for your website, make sure it is relevant to the topic you are writing on. For example, it would make no sense to use stock images of “doors” in a blog that revolves around the quote – “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door”.

Stock images of “doors” would make more sense if the article were about “how to install a new door”. If you aren’t using stock photos in the right way, don’t expect good rankings. Your end-goal should be to use stock images that best represent your content and keeps users engaged.

Key Takeaways

It is evident from Google’s John Mueller that using stock images in your articles won’t affect your web search rankings. Stock photos won’t hurt your SEO, so relax! However, make sure you use stock photos strategically so that it provides value to the user. This will, in turn, result in better rankings.

In the comments section below, do let us know what your take on stock photos.

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