Better Blogging / Blogging Tips / Images and Media / search engine rankings / SEO tips

Google’s Matt Cutts on Stock Images

The question posed to Matt Cutts of Google’s anit-spam team was, “Does using stock photos on your pages have a negative effect on rankings?”

View the answer here via Google’s Matt Cutts: Stock Images Do Not Impact Search Engine Rankings.

Do you think using stock images is an indicator of the quality of the content on any site that’s not a photoblogging site? If so why and if not then why not?

13 thoughts on “Google’s Matt Cutts on Stock Images

  1. I was using Google photos extensively to jazz up my blog. It seems people need/want a picture as well as words and music. But use of Google photos is a copyright violation I am told. What says you?

    • The majority of all images in Google’s image search results of indexed content is under copyright of its creators and there is no doubt about that. It’s not a matter of debate.

      Images may be subject to copyright.

  2. Hi,

    I have a query, if I may, while hope I understand correctly that this comments box may be used to submit one.

    I edited my WordPress, Manifest theme, blog-website which promptly went a little wrong.

    [removed by timethief]

    • Hi James,
      Please post your techncial support issue to the technical support forums at this link
      As I spend hours there almost every day answering support questions I don’t appreciate answering support questions here in my blog as well. Best wishes with your blog.

      • Dear timethief,

        Thank you very much for writing.

        Please excuse my posting this way, which I see isn’t the best place to do so. I can imagine you are busy as I have seen your contributions over WordPress forums, indeed, this led me to your site.

        I look forward to being in touch as per your suggestions.

        With regards,


  3. That’s good to know! I think images enhance a site in general. If you’re not showcasing your work or the original work of others, it only makes sense to use stock photos. After all, who (other than those mentioned in the preceding sentence) can spend time producing original artwork to appear in posts on a regular basis? In my case, I write about business and focus on entrepreneurs; my topics deal with having the right mindset, marketing, and making good decisions. I’m not an artist, and couldn’t come up with my own images each week. So stock photos in the public domain are necessary.

    • I’m a visual person and I think images and illustrations do a lot for posts. Images enhance and illuminate subject matter. They assist with education as in charts and graphs. They illustrate visually what the text communicates. They are useful for eye tracking and provide respite for the eyes. That’s not to mention that images more memorable than text and that images trigger memory of the content of accompanying text. IMHO whether or not the images are original, or are stock images, or are public domain images is irrelevant, provided they serve the purpose(es) I outlined.

    • My response was to immediately leave photoblogs out of the mix. However, even after considering that I dispensed with the notion of original images being a page ranking factor. We know these factors can influence the position of a page/site in search results:

      • Keywords that are included in a web page
      • Keywords that are associated with a web page
      • The anchor texts that are used in links on the page
      • The colors and the sizes of images on the page
      • The position of text or images on the page
      • The frequency of document changes over time
      • The amount of the web page content that has been changed
      • The change in keyword density
      • The number of new web pages that link to a web page
      • Changes in anchor text
      • Tags that are assigned to the page
      • Search queries that are used to find the page
      • The number of links to low trust websites
  4. There’s stock images, then there’s cool public domain images. Use depends on purpose and type of blog. If pictures are simply to dress page/add interest- but the words are the major point, then stock images – even if recognized work just fine. Images as illustrations can help tell a story and do add to appeal to posts.
    Original ones are always best – but if it’s not a photo blog, available images serve a function.

    • I agree that images of any and all kind help tell a story. That’s not to say that every post requires an image to tell the story though. As I said above whether or not they are original images doesn’t matter unless they are an art blog or a photo-blog in which the blogger is presenting their own work.

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