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You have likely heard me debate the topic of whether we should use stock images or authentic and original images. I can be swayed in many debates when a direction that I didn’t think of can actually benefit the consumer. But I just have never gotten to the point to see the benefit for when we as organizations in our organizational storytelling use stock images.
Yes, in theory it’s a much quicker process than getting original photos. And yes, it does help us have images with our blog post and social media posts. But they’re not unique to us. In fact, we spent all this time creating unique content and then we add an image that many others can also use.
Let’s be honest: what organization really has only meetings of people who all smile at exactly the same time? And of course, every race is represented in these meetings. Do they even have coffee in those perfect coffee mugs? And when was the last time we all huddled around a laptop ? and pointed at the screen? That’s stock art for you. (On that last example, by the way: I was reviewing a PowerPoint with somebody who was sitting next to me on a business trip. We did not look at each other’s screen but used a Zoom meeting to view the deck on our own screens! #thetruth)
And the other negative of using stock art is that really anybody can buy the same image. And I have run across websites before that have the same smiling image of a blonde female professional. How does that help anybody stand out?
And while the above has been my platform for a while now there’s also another reason, a SEO reason, to have unique and original photos. I actually feel kind of dumb that this hasn’t been my main argument: Images can also help us rank in Google Image Search.
The Blog Billionaire Podcast has some fantastic tips on how you can optimize your unique images in your blog post to help you rank higher. You can listen to that podcast here.
I won’t repeat all the tips here and encourage you to listen to the podcast. For me it really comes down to a few things:
- Have unique and useful photos because they help us differentiate. These could be graphics that illustrate statistics mentioned in the post or they could be photos of the situation described in the blog post. Really think of images as something that can help illustrate the point better.
- Make sure to optimize the image’s data correctly. There are really multiple reasons to do that. First of all, it helps you find the image later when you search for it in your media library and second of all it gives you a chance to rank high in Google search and Google Images search.
Let’s take the image I uploaded above as an example. I took that image to illustrate how image search looks for my name. So I took the photo and I uploaded it through the WordPress mobile app, which is how I file most of my blog posts. Of course, it’s super easy to just publish it the way it is without adding any additional date out to the image.
That would mean that I publish the photo without any alt text or other information. On the backend that looks like this:
So while I can’t change the image title once it’s uploaded in this setup I can certainly add relevant alt text and the descriptive title. A caption also might come in handy but I didn’t use one in this case. Here’s how the backend looks once I added relevant descriptions:
Obviously add relevant keywords and phrases to the images. Make sure they actually apply to the image. No trickery!
Over 50% of my traffic to this blog comes from organic search so I know the power that showing up high in Google results can bring. Ranking high in Google Image Search can certainly also help us with that. And, it could be another motivator to not use generic stock photos aren’t that many others are using as well.
Have you had success ranking high in Google Image Search? Tweet me at @ctrappe.