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Could Your Images be Harming Your On Page SEO?

26 February 2014 BY

100 Frickin UniqueFor some years now, SEOs have been pitching content that they assure editors is “100% unique”, which is funny really. Surely, s But is your content really unique? What about your non-written content? What about the images you use, are they unique too?

Google image search is so good now that you can use it to find exactly where your images are being used/high jacked elsewhere on the net, in just a few clicks. So consider this, if Google is capable of reading and recognising your images, wouldn’t it be reasonably safe to assume that it also takes them into consideration when deciding if your content is unique or not – remember, images are pieces of content too.

Surely, if your blog post features 1000 unique words and an image which can be found on 100 other sites, Google won’t see it as being as valuable as a 1000-word post, with an image that cannot be found anywhere else online.

Can you imagine if the Telegraph and the Observer used exactly the same photos in their weekly papers, and just changed the words? Think about how much money gossip magazines are willing to pay for exclusive photos. Moral of the story? Images are totes important, yall!

What I’m suggesting…..

There aren’t really many ways to compete these days; everyone’s read the posts on how to optimise their on page content, and everyone’s basically doing the same thing. So why not go that little step further by ensuring that *all* of your content is unique. Not just the titles, body content and sub headings, but the entire post/page. Google will know if you are using an image that no one else is using, and I refuse to believe that this won’t give you an advantage.

Adding totes mega value

Remember that, often, the reason something is valuable is because it is hard to come by. It’s limited. By ensuring your content is enhanced with unique images, you are also ensuring that it is limited, exclusive, rare, “special” – isn’t that what we’re all trying to give Google?

Keeping it that way

Let’s be honest, we’re all at it. We steal images from the internet as though it were totally acceptable, you know, like stealing towels and toiletries from a hotel, or downing your mate’s pint while he’s on the John and then telling him the barman took it. A quick right-click-save-image-as and shazam, you’ve got a nice sexy image to catch people’s attention and illustrate your mind-blowing uniqueness. I use a WordPress plug-in called Prevent Copy/Paste plugin, which disables the right click function so people can’t steal your content (it’s totally free and I’m not getting paid to write this). Initially I was worried it would hurt my rankings, but after using it for the last 3 months, I can tell you that it has made no negative impact on rankings whatsoever.

You want proof that using genuinely unique images will give your on page SEO an edge?

Tough luck, of course I can’t bloody prove it. But I have experienced something which I feel supports my theory.

Like you, I’m a passionate writer/blogger (what’s the difference anyway?) and I spend a lot of my free time experimenting with tactics to see what drives higher rankings.

Now, go to Google and search “Best things to do in Barcelona”. I’m sure you’d agree that that’s a pretty heavy weight search term, even if it is long tail.

Unless I’ve been gobbled up by Google’s Hummingbird update, you should see my little face at position #3, just underneath Tripadvisor, and just above Lonely Planet – not bad eh?

What? You can’t see it? Totes awkies cringe! Try again in incognito mode – nervz lolz!

Yes I’ve got the main keyword in all the right places and yes I’ve written something which should satisfy the searcher’s appetite for Barcelona travel advice, but so what? What does my post have that the other million posts with the same info don’t? Lots and lots of my own images, not stock photos or photos taken from Google Images, that’s what.

Perhaps I’m really over thinking this, and perhaps I need to find something else to think about whilst having my bubble baths, but I for one know what kind of images I’ll be using in my blog posts from now on. But before you start throwing rotten tomatoes at me and mocking my vagueness, ask yourself this: what have you got to lose?

AUTHORED BY:
h

Ben Holbrook is Head of Content at Verve Search and has a particular interest in content marketing and developing sustainable link development strategies.
  • http://eiderv.com/ Eider Vasconcelos

    Interesting theory bro, and more than a theory I believe in doing things right. If I were a brand that drives to be the best, I would certainly go all out to get a photographer, do a video, you know, all the great things one could do to tell a story. All across the web this resonates in terms of fetching completely unique data. I will experimient on this myself.

  • Bob

    I believe you meant steal and stealing, rather than the metal steel, right?

  • http://www.webtalentmarketing.com Lorianna Sprague

    This revelation just seems so obvious (now that you have brought it to my attention)! /faceplam

    Excellent job making your point Ben. There is a part of me that “wondered” about all of this, but – tell me – how do you think this impacts social? Is a social share of the same image, with different meme wording, over and over again bad for the originator of the image, or is that similar to links that will boost that image’s relevance for image search? I haven’t seen anything to correlate, buuuut I also haven’t tried.

    As an aside, do you think this will impact stock photo sites, or make people feel as though Google continues to make the “barrier to entry” for SERPs success more difficult and expensive for smaller brands without the budgets for a unique image or two for every page and post?

    This whole topic has very interesting implications if it is, in fact, accurate.

  • Laura Phillips

    I agree with Lorianna! This idea has skitted through my mind on occasion only to be lost to something more urgent thus never receiving the time it deserves.

  • http://www.shop.graciousstore.com/ Gracious Store

    How realistic is it to have all texts and images in every content 100% original. We all know even the best “original content” producers Google inclusive that it is impposible to have 100% unique content. Many texts, images included in the internet are duplicates of other content and images.

    If we want to maintan originality of content and images in the aboslute sense of it, there will be very few published content on the internet

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