I wanted to talk briefly today about image metadata for the web. I have been doing some research on this area and I have founded out that even though you can extract EXIF data and metadata from images on the web, there are currently no effects on indexing for search engines.
The EXIF and metadata are both binary code and need to be extracted in order to be interpreted by search engines. Also, it is believed that Google Algorithm can read the binary data from the images but there is no reason to believe that there is any impact on the indexing part. Will it have more weight in the future? Well nobody knows but I will throw my 2 cents and say that it will. Probably to start of with it will be the Copyright and Credit fields in IPTC Core and IPTC Extension (two metadata schemas developed by the IPTC for professional use with a focus on news and stock photos).
All right, so, if all of this lucks Google’s attention, why should we care? Well, first of all, if you are into stock photography (current digital cameras are making the number of stock photographers rise like mushrooms) it would be a good idea to set up your camera to embed your copyright information on every picture you take, so when eventually it reaches the internet you can have a way to track it in case someone is using it without your permission.
There are ways, of course to help Google index the metadata in your images, but this requires some extra effort, of course. The best way to do it is passing the metadata to a language that Google understands, HTML. You can use the image attributes alt, title and description to help Google index your pictures appropriately.
- Add Copyright and contact information to all your images. There is a quick guide on how Natalie Fobes does it.
- Add the filename to your metadata, the first think people do when they download an image is to rename it. Having the filename set in stone on the metadata will give you another way to find it.
- Be smart when filling up your alt, title and description in the HTML when uploading an image, use metatags if you will in order to get Google to index your images properly.
- Make sure when you export your images, you keep the metadata. This wont help your SEO at this point in time but it might make a difference in the near future, and you don’t want to re-upload all your images again, do you?
As a last note, I found this interesting website they search the web for your camera’s EXIF data and finds if someone is uploading any images to the web with it.