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Stock Photography and SEO

Jun 24 • Content Marketing, Social Media, Website • 4558 Views • No Comments on Stock Photography and SEO • By Tom Morang

In a recent Webmaster Tools video, Matt Cutts, the Webspam honcho over at Google, discussed the topic of Stock Photography and how it’s linked to SEO. The Webmaster Tools series typically addresses user submitted questions like this one. Check out the video below.

Short and sweet–classic Cutts. Simply put, the answer is no. No matter what you’ve heard, stock photos will not harm the SEO value of your site.So, you may be asking, where is the value in using your own content versus stock photography? Let’s take a look at a list of the pros and cons:

Stock Photography


  • -High resolution
  • -You can get shots of almost anything
  • -High quality
  • -Easy to obtain


  • -Can be costly
  • -Potential usage / copyright issues
  • -Customers might see images used on other sites
  • -Doesn’t show your company

Opting-in to purchase a set of stock photography has its benefits. You gain access to a vast amount of high quality photographs: almost anything you can imagine. This is a costly endeavor however, with many sites only offering bulk pricing with strict terms of use. Don’t be surprised if you end up seeing the same photo on another site: the best content is available to everyone.

Self-Obtained Photo


  • -Showcase your company
  • -Adds a personal touch to your site
  • -No copyright issues: you own your content


  • -Resolution / quality concerns
  • -Costly if you don’t own the right equipment
  • -May need to update as your business changes (new staff or location)


Taking your own photos gives a personal touch to your site and shows visitors who your company really is. Another plus is that you own your own content, just be sure to keep those files somewhere safe. Where you’re going to run into trouble is quality: you need photos that meet standard web requirements and overall look good. You won’t get that with a cell phone camera or an older point-and-shoot. You do have the option of hiring and outside professional, but sometimes that can be more costly than stock photos.

(Service Coach Tip: If you want personal company photos for a low cost, consider contacting your local high school: most have an art department full of students looking for resume / portfolio material. The cost can be little to none! Be sure to write a recommendation and thank them for the effort.)

Your site photograph defines you as a company and should be a major consideration when updating your site. Even if you use stock photography, give it a personal touch: adding logos or call to actions can really make a difference. Never use poor quality images, or images that you don’t own.


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Tom Morang

Internet Marketing Manager at The Service Coach
Internet marketing manager by day, podcast producer by night. I am a life long learner of digital technology and internet marketing strategies. I have a passion for craft beers and expanding my knowledge set.

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