How many of you visit Pixabay to download a stock image that relevant to your content?
Although it becomes an instant and cheaper option for a website owner, the stock image may harm your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in the long run.
Here are some argument to not using a stock image at all, or at least only use than when there’s no option available.
#1 Search engine demands a unique content
A stock image isn’t a unique content. First, it has already been published by the author to a site like Shutterstock. And secondly, people around the world can purchase the license and use the image on their website.
Not only that, an alternative site like Pixabay and Pexels provides tons of free stock images dan can be used freely – making the images become more saturated an has no value from the search engine standpoint.
As Google stated on their Search Console Help page:
“Unique, relevant content provides value to users and distinguishes your site from other affiliates, making it more likely to rank well in Google search results.”
Google (and I believe other search engines) hates reproduced content, and they want something unique, valuable, and never seen before – something that stock image is lack of.
#2 Increase credibility by showing the real person in the business
It’s always good to use the face of happy employees rather than an actor hired by the agency to show a fake smile for a stock photo. Using your own original photo could improve business credibility and gain more trust from the customers.
One study conducted by Marketing Experiments says a website with authentic photo performs 34,7% higher than a website with a stock image.
One key takeaway from this experiment is the original image most likely more relevant and accurate since everything inside the photo was crafted to reflect your business idea.
On the other hand, stock images designed to looks general, which mean it can be used for relativity a wide range of application. Therefore, they can reach more audience that may buy the license.
#3 Authentic image got a better chance of linking
A backlink is still one of the most important metrics in SEO. You can get more backlinks simply by using your authentic photo.
That way, people who want to use your photo has to provide credit by linking to your website. This can increase your backlink profile and eventually gain more ranking in the search result.
But keep in mind that you also have to set the license type of the photo you published. Some licenses required credit, while others don’t.
Make sure you pick the right license that could drive more backlink.
When to use a stock image?
Short answer, when it’s the only way you can do.
Let’s say you have a website covering the International Space Station (ISS) news.
It’s impossible to make your photo since going to space is a privilege that not all people have. For a scenario like this, using a stock image can be the most feasible option you have.