The Impact of Stock Images on SEO

By Published On: July 21, 2023Categories: SEODaily Views: 2

Images are a powerful tool to catch the readers’ attention. They make the text more appealing and help you get the message across. But do stock images boost your SEO strategy, or are they just empty pixels?


Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plays an essential role in determining the visibility and ranking of your website. When optimizing a blog or website for the search engine, many factors are considered, including the impact of visuals on SEO. But instead of custom pictures, many marketers take the help of stock images for their affordability, convenience, and versatile selection to fill the visual gap in their campaign. While some believe that stock images have no significant effect on SEO, many claim that they impact the optimization strategy negatively.


Let’s explore the relationship between SEO and stock images so you can get the correct answer to your question, “Can I use stock images on my website?”

Do Stock images Affect Ranking?

Let us be practical here; everyone needs a budget to organise imageshoots relevant to every article they write or hire designers to design posts for their website. Stock images are the only option to portray the written content in such a case.

Stock images are a collection of pictures that are readily available for use. They are generically created with no specific project in mind. Anyone can purchase the images from stock photo websites and utilise them in their personal and professional projects.

When it comes to SEO, stock images have little to no impact on the search engine result pages (SERPs). These images are not directly involved in affecting the ranking of a website. The thing that will influence the ranking includes the quality and relevancy of images. You will have more user engagement with visually appealing images that are also relevant to the text.


Google ranks websites based on the quality and originality of content. It doesn’t judge the websites for using stock images. Most websites ranked on Google wouldn’t make their place if the search engine started eradicating the websites for using stock images.

Google’s Take on Stock images

Google is handling 90% of search queries worldwide. This shows it is a leading search engine; therefore, considering the instance of Google is also important. Recently, a Twitter user questioned John Mueller, Google’s search advocate, about the impact of stock images on SEO.


John Mueller replied:

“It doesn’t matter to web-search directly.”

While some considered the answer pretty vague, others took the straightforward meaning that website ranking on Google doesn’t depend on the uniqueness of images.

Furthermore, John Mueller clarifies that the stock images should be used strategically to influence the visitors and make them stay longer on the website.

Why Stock images?

The convenience and affordability of stock images make them a popular choice among website owners. Owners can engage the users and make their website visually appealing using the relevant stock images SEO.


Here’s how seo stock images prove beneficial for content creators and website owners:

Backlinks and Social Sharing

Stock images have an indirect impact on SEO as they have the potential to attract social sharing and backlinks. When you add appealing and relevant stock images to your website, the likelihood of other websites linking back to your content increases, which is an essential factor in search engine rankings.

Another benefit of more admirable stock images is increased social media shares, taking content to a broader audience, and increasing the chances of generating more inbound links. All the factors work collectively to help in improving SEO authority and visibility.

Legal Compliance

To avoid copyright infringements, you must ensure the images are properly licensed. This is why most reputable websites provide that all their images are appropriately licensed to protect the users from legal issues.


Remember that the licensing on stock images can be of various types, including rights-managed licenses, royalty-free licenses, etc. The licenses ensure the permitted usage rights, limitations, and restrictions associated with using the stock images.


Stock images are not just limited to websites and blog posts. They can be used for various purposes, including social media posts, presentations, email marketing, etc. The aim is to use the stock images SEO to enhance the visual appeal and keep the customers engaged.

The stock images help give a consistent style to content creators, which they can use on various platforms.


Stock images save you resources and time, which would otherwise cost you a lot in creating custom designs. Finding stock images from the libraries is also quicker than arranging an imageshoot.


The time-saving aspect proves beneficial, mainly when there is a need for quick content creation. However, you need to use stock images strategically so they look visually appealing and engage the users. You should also employ other SEO practices to help your website rank on the search engine.

SEO Images

When using stock images, image SEO optimization should be your number one priority. To apply seo image optimization tips, you will need to fill in the description of the image, create image seo alt tag and title tag optimization, and more blanks for better SEO rankings. All these impact SEO indirectly and reduce bounce rates.


Therefore, you can use SEO-free images to improve user engagement and enhance the content.

The Downside of Stock images

Stock images are valuable resources that can prove beneficial in attracting customers, but more than utilizing them can have a negative impact on customer experience.

Overusing stock images make the website appear generic, and customers perceive the content as unauthentic and uninspired. Customers may encounter the same images repeatedly on various websites. As a result, it needs to improve the brand’s ability to stand out among its competitors.

To mitigate this, you need to use the stock images strategically and only use high-quality and relevant images. Ensure that you modify the images according to your brand’s needs. You can also balance this with custom illustrations for an engaging customer experience.

Ways to Use Stock images for Better Website Performance

Here’s how you can use stock images strategically to increase your website performance:

  • Always choose the stock images that align well with your brand’s aesthetics and style. This is necessary to ensure brand consistency.
  • Incorporate stock images and your call to action to grab customers’ attention.
  • Ensure that the image adds value to your content. For that, it should always be relevant to the content you have written.
  • You can tweak the images with online editing tools to ensure they meet your brand’s needs.
  • Remember to add Alt tags to describe the image. It helps improve the accessibility of the images.
  • Insert keywords wherever it is possible, be it the descriptive file name, image title, or alt-image text.
  • Use a plugin to compress the images to reduce the loading time of web pages. This is because slow-loading websites often lose their customers quicker than the others.

You need search engine optimization images to ensure they do not negatively affect your ranking. While stock images do not directly harm your order, they may have an effect if the images are not optimized very well.


Stock images benefit SEO if they are correctly optimised, relevant, and highly quality. How you use and integrate the images onto your website largely affects their impact on rankings on search engines.


Unless you overuse stock images, they help enhance user experience and reduce bounce rates. You can edit and tweak the pictures according to the needs of your content and website to maintain credibility and authority. Moreover, you can increase the SEO stock image potential by using image optimization seo best practices.

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