Do you currently use any stock photos or imagery on any of your sites? For most companies, it’s a hard thing to avoid. The reality is that you’re going to need images, and you’re not always going to have the time or the money to hire a professional photographer or designer to create them for you. We get a lot of questions asking if stock images are okay to use, or if everything should be completely unique to the site, so here are the answers to help your SEO company get the most bang for the buck.
The short answer:
Stock images do not result in a negative effect on your site. You will never be penalized for using the same images as thousands of other people as long as that image is relevant to your page and is providing some value to the user. Matt Cutts recently released a video that confirmed this, saying Google’s algorithm doesn’t take stock images into account in any way, positive or negative.
The longer answer:
Using stock images won’t hurt your site, but not using them CAN help it. As you may have noticed when you use Google’s image search function, you very rarely see duplicate images in the results. What this means is that if you use stock images, your version of the image likely won’t show up in search results no matter how well you optimize it, because you are competing with thousands of other sites. If you use original images and optimize them well, you are more likely to show up in search results because you’re brining something new (and therefore valuable) to the table.
To sum it up:
You’re going to have to use stock images a lot of the time, especially if you are blogging daily and using the photos that go along with the story, it’s just reality. The best thing you can do is keep your eyes open for opportunities to use original imagery whenever they arise.