Getty and iStock Images VP of SEO, Matthew O’Such
Matthew O’Such, VP of SEO at Getty Images and iStock, led an in-depth Digital Marketing League session on how imagery fits into content strategy as an aspect of SEO. The afternoon was powered by Textbroker and friends.
Read the full transcript
[00:00:05.740] – Matthew O’Such
Hi, everybody, my name is Matthew O’ Such and I am the VP of SEO at Getty Images and iStock. Please note, I can’t see your chat while we’re going here right now. But if you want to leave some questions in the chat, in the Q&A section, I’m happy to answer them at the end of the session today.
[00:00:23.980] – Matthew O’Such
So I’ll be addressing how imagery fits into a content strategy for organic traffic growth.
[00:00:30.260] – Matthew O’Such
And I wanted to talk a little bit about myself. So you get to know me a little bit better before we get into the topic here. So I’m based out of the New Jersey, New York area, and it’s really a pleasure to be here speaking with you today with the Digital Marketing League and the team at TECs Broker.
[00:00:44.950] – Matthew O’Such
We’re going to talk about the value that images can add to the content strategy and how they’re going to help you organically grow traffic to your website.
[00:00:55.270] – Matthew O’Such
I’ve been in digital marketing for over 18 years and I generically have specialized in search engine optimization for almost the entire time. But in SEO, you can’t stop touching other things about a website. I used to be by trade. I was originally a developer, designer, front and back end database administrator and your generic webmaster of the early 2000s. I was handing a lot of different parts and pieces of the web and got into a lot more marketing side than the programming side and moved into SEO shortly thereafter.
[00:01:27.700] – Matthew O’Such
I’ve switched back and forth in my career between agency work and brand side. I’ve worked with agencies at Rosetta, Razorfish and Publicis Sapient and then I’ve also worked alongside with Finance, eCommerce, Pharma, Automotive, as well as working in-house at PC Mag Mashable, what to expect when expecting. And now Getty Images and iStock. So a little bit about Getty Images and iStock, if you’re not familiar with those two companies, the Getty Images Network is one of the world’s largest creators and distributors of award winning still imagery videos and multimedia products, as well as other forms of premium digital content that you may be familiar with seeing on TV, on the Internet, on websites, on presentations and whatnot.
[00:02:16.180] – Matthew O’Such
And they’re brought to you through two of our major Web sites, GettyImages.com and iStockphoto.Com with our advanced search and image recognition technology. Getty Images houses over 400 million assets and represents over three hundred and twenty thousand of the world’s top creators. We serve more than a million customers in over 100 countries, and we preserve the history with our archives.
[00:02:39.970] – Matthew O’Such
We document the world as it is today and authentically represent the world as it evolves. Our best in class photographers and imagery help customers to produce inspiring work, which appear every day in the world’s most influential newspapers, magazines, advertising campaigns, films, television programs, books and online media. So we are truly moving the world with images every day.
[00:03:03.640] – Matthew O’Such
So a little bit about the agenda that’s going to go through today. We’re going to talk about why CEOs should care about images. We’re going to talk a little bit about if Google said or didn’t say why you should use stock photos. What images unlock? And how to optimize images for more visibility and traffic than will go into a little bit of the Q&A. And of course, I’d like to apologize for the landscaper who just happened to show up right when I’m starting my presentation, so why we care about images and so well, first, let’s understand why we’d want to care about this as an SEO, right.
[00:03:43.100] – Matthew O’Such
You’d think about content on the page. You think about engagement, you think about what bot’s want, but on average.
[00:03:50.710] – Matthew O’Such
On a Web page, users have time to read it most. Twenty eight percent of the words during an average visit, more like maybe 20 percent. This was a study by the Nielsen Norman Group. They were finding that individuals were rapidly viewing the material, looking at headers, looking at some snippets of material, depending on how long the asset was or the article was. But they would be able to absorb the imagery. And then another noted speaker and specialist NCO in the industry, an economist that uses imagery all the time, the images make it easier to read.
[00:04:24.040] – Matthew O’Such
They make an article easier to read. Not only do they give people a rest, they allow me to connect on a different level. Sometimes I might be able to communicate an idea better with the help of that image. It helps to make it all click. That’s from AJ Cohen. If you’re in the industry, you might know him as blind five year old. He seems to get on the radar of a lot of the CEOs at Google of the or the the individuals that communicate outside information at Google.
[00:04:52.180] – Matthew O’Such
He was kind enough to provide that quote to me today. And he’s written an article about the value of imagery and communicating ideas and SEO as well on his website, if you’d like to visit that. So why else do we care about images in Asia? Well, we’re constantly trying to do what’s right for the user.
We’re also trying to sneak in our own special tweaks and implementations, whether they’re visible to the user or not.
[00:05:19.420] – Matthew O’Such
And we do this in order to gain a competitive advantage in organic search rankings and to drive more traffic to the page. All of this while not undoing the influential content that others have created or our product teams have prioritized, we certainly want to engage the visitor by increasing their time on the site and decreasing bounce rate. We in the world think of it as pogo sticking. We don’t want someone to go to a search result. Click to our Web site, website or Web page and then go back to the search result.
[00:05:48.030] – Matthew O’Such
We want to keep them there. We want to give that signal back to Google that we may not be a quality page. It does help tell a story. Images in the right image can help users better understand written content and break up the large blocks of text. It can also create an emotional connection with the content or the brand. There’s a stylization that you’ve seen all day today to all of the presentations and the design, the colors and the layouts.
[00:06:14.910] – Matthew O’Such
You want to keep that associated with your brand. And if there’s a stylization you look for, you want to find the tools and services and images that appear best for your brand.
[00:06:25.320] – Matthew O’Such
But for the SEOs, it opens doors to more visibility in traffic.
[00:06:30.360] – Matthew O’Such
That should be one of the biggest reasons why we as a SEOs would be interested in adding imagery to our assets or web pages.
[00:06:37.440] – Matthew O’Such
Up images occupy the high value real estate on search engine result pages or what we call the SERP. And they are frequently above organic results and above the page fold. They’re they’re what we now start to consider in position zero. Furthermore, there is a heavy market share as of a study that jump shot and sparked or participated in in Q2 of 2019.
[00:07:05.200] – Matthew O’Such
There’s a heavy market share that Google has as a property where its search results, of course, take up about 69 of the searches in the search engine market share.
[00:07:16.600] – Matthew O’Such
But Google image search also takes up about 20 percent of the market share of searches on the Internet, a really amazing number. They also say that a majority of those image searches now are on mobile devices.
[00:07:33.010] – Matthew O’Such
And that’s why page speed in asset size is also going to come into a factor in just a little bit.
[00:07:38.800] – Matthew O’Such
All right, so wait a second, Matt, I’ve read that a CEO is dead. I’ve also read that Google said that you shouldn’t use stock photos.
[00:07:47.830] – Matthew O’Such
I’ve heard that stock photos are a bad idea.
[00:07:50.320] – Matthew O’Such
Well, let’s go to the source. That is a little bit of an old wives tale, right? So in June, twenty twenty this year, John Mueller responded when asked if stock images affect rankings.
[00:08:05.470] – Matthew O’Such
And while we all try not to read into too much of what John says, I’ll take it just word for word. It doesn’t matter for Web search directly for image search. If it’s the same image as used in many places, it’ll be harder. And I completely support that concept. We need to use authentic imagery where it makes sense the most. But no, stock photos are not a negative in SEO. However, it will make trying to rank for image search more difficult, not for web search.
[00:08:40.990] – Matthew O’Such
I thought that was really telling for the industry. I have to say that as an SEO that just got into the Getty in iStock team, I’ve only been with iStock and Getty for about 10 months now. I joined in December of last year.
I was also suspect before hearing this information about stock photos.
I know that the same image repeated over and over on other websites are assets. Could possibly not Ranko be as well understood by Google for the exact same image, but for the content around that image? That certainly is not the case. You are judged by the content and not just the single image that you may have seen utilized once before somewhere else.
[00:09:25.770] – Matthew O’Such
All right, so now that we’ve got the Google debate out of the way, let’s explore it using images on the Web unlocks for content owners. The most important thing to know is that more and more Google is putting your content on its search engine results page.
[00:09:42.640] – Matthew O’Such
Over the years, these features have exposed content in imagery from sites, but also helping improve the click through rate to your site, if you’re fortunate enough to earn one of these very valuable positions with your rich result, many of which require you to have an image, needs to be declared as a primary image or some sort of image header or hero in the code underneath.
[00:10:07.840] – Matthew O’Such
It has to be in an article, in a Web page or in other structured data. Furthermore, users click on rich results 58 percent of the time, compared to a click through rate of 41 percent for non rich results on page one for all of the data in the materials.
[00:10:25.840] – Matthew O’Such
You hear me talking about today in the studies, I’ve included links or references in my slides along either the bottom or at the end. And when you receive this material or if you’d like to get it from me personally, you can reach out to me on LinkedIn. I’m happy to give it to you. I’m happy to provide you with all those sources.
[00:10:41.950] – Matthew O’Such
Images are required element for Google Discovery, Google News articles, AMP articles and many other features or rich results. They can’t be ignored. The feature snippet occurs in the top 20 search results seven percent of the time. The Knowledge panel, which contains at least six or seven images, appears about twenty eight percent of the time. Top stories appear about five point eight percent of the time.
[00:11:08.600] – Matthew O’Such
Then we go into other features, a carousel or the image pack or image search image packs appear now 43 percent of the time in search results. So if you’re looking to get into the featured snippet and image pack news or top stories, if you’re looking if you have a Google pixel or you have a Chrome browser on your phone, when you open that up by default and you don’t have a starting place that you’re going to just yet, Google Discovery is providing you with articles that you’ve not you may have an affinity want to read based on your previous search history and then, of course, knowledge panel pieces.
[00:11:48.940] – Matthew O’Such
So when do you use images, when is it right to use images? Well, in my perspective as a digital marketer. Pretty much all the time, but in case you’re unsure, here are some considerations to have. How relevant is having a visual to the content of the article? Think about what you’re writing, about what has been written.
[00:12:11.700] – Matthew O’Such
Think about how a visual could add to the presence or the experience that a user will have when they get to the page. Will it help them to engage with the brand or is it an infographics or some other piece of information?
[00:12:23.460] – Matthew O’Such
And also what happens in Google search today for your target keyword? What is this article about? Let me go search about it. Is it important for me to have a visual asset or many visual assets attached to this page? To make it rank better or stand out more or have a rich result, is there an image pack? Do you see news items or top stories? Are there any kind of search results? Those are the questions I would ask myself before I make the commitment to have to get imagery for a certain article or topic.
[00:12:55.020] – Matthew O’Such
A common mistake that I have seen in past companies have worked for or with is that they prioritize listicle or list articles to be slideshow like pagination.
[00:13:08.580] – Matthew O’Such
If you’re looking just to get ad impressions on a link from a Facebook article that you’re trying to get to go viral, maybe it’s about entertainment news and it’s about the top 20 images of a red carpet event.
[00:13:22.290] – Matthew O’Such
Getting ad impressions may be good for you if you’re an editorial website. That’s what your goal may be. However, if you want other results, like something from SEO in SEO driven Traffic Peace or Channel of Visitor, you’re not going to want to create these pageant pieces with thin words and content leading to page after page after page. I have found in my experience by moving from a slide show pagination of a listicle or article to a long form article with multiple images, with contextual relevance around them that performs better in SEO.
[00:14:04.500] – Matthew O’Such
I’ve seen turnarounds on those type of page templates where if you apply this change to the template where it goes from listicle and multiple pages to a longer form page, more contextual relevance and additional value in content that I see in about three months, those articles really take off. OK, so I’ve convinced you now I’m sure you’ve decided to use images, that’s great. How do you optimize them? Well, here is a starting beginner’s checklist. First, you must be providing good context around your image.
[00:14:39.480] – Matthew O’Such
You will go nowhere if you do not provide good context.
[00:14:43.110] – Matthew O’Such
Google has stated in almost every presentation in the last couple of years about image search is that it needs to understand the context around the image. Images must have must relate to the written content on the page and vice versa. You want to place the images near text that’s relevant to that image to give it relevance. Google can scan an image, but it still needs contextual relevance and cues from the content to understand it.
[00:15:10.780] – Matthew O’Such
That is something that Google itself says.
[00:15:15.230] – Matthew O’Such
Here is a little bit of your checklist. These are a little more technical. Right place images and the image tag. Place images in the image tag, having them in cascading style sheets or backgrounds of divs does not work. You want to also make sure that you have an image file name properly. The alternate text is something you want to make sure you absolutely do, it’s the text that sits underneath. When you mouse over an image in that image, little text bubble pops up.
[00:16:06.600] – Matthew O’Such
That is very valuable to Google. They’ve said that themselves. You want to make sure you don’t have your images and carousels or slideshows, you should really go toward a grid view or a long form article. The HTML caption element, another very valuable piece of information and then anchor text. This is especially relevant for downloading infographics charts or diagrams.
[00:16:32.570] – Matthew O’Such
Now, really what you want to happen here is when in infographics charter diagram is there, you want it to be found on a Web page. You don’t want it to be directly downloaded. And you certainly don’t want to link out to produce as a solution for something you usually use or lose your analytics. And you don’t want that to happen. If those PDF images start ranking directly into search results, you want an interstitial buffer there. But anchor text leading to that page that talks about being able to download the info, graphic charts or diagrams is a very valuable solution there.
[00:17:06.620] – Matthew O’Such
Here’s a little bit more about. What you should do to optimize maybe just a little more advanced perspective. Use the open graph tag or schema markup for an image object in the code underneath the page.
[00:17:21.730] – Matthew O’Such
This is usually something that is a little outside of your standard content management system.
[00:17:28.210] – Matthew O’Such
But it’s possible that your developers could add these kind of fields for you or you could ask for them to be built in. Don’t embed important text inside of images while Google can maybe read the words on that image. It may not associate those words to the image or to your content. It is just Google. This is a Google recommendation itself. Just flat out don’t embed important text inside a lazy load image assets that are below the fold. So you heard me talk a little bit about speed.
[00:18:00.910] – Matthew O’Such
If you have a whole bunch of images that are below the fold of the page and can cause the page to load a little bit slower, or they’re not in the right image compression or size, they can certainly slow down the the experience for the users and that can slow down Google’s own impression of the page and it won’t get you ranked as well. I just said it.
[00:18:22.060] – Matthew O’Such
Image compression and size utilization, size utilizations. Very interesting piece here. You don’t upload an image that is 2000 by 3000 pixels for a spot that’s only going to inhabit about 600 by 800 pixels. You certainly don’t want to do that. That means that your browser and the web server is sending a file that’s much larger to someone than what they need. And it’s going to slow down their needs is to slow down their experience on your page and the load time of that page.
[00:18:52.150] – Matthew O’Such
That’s one of the biggest mistakes we see a lot of people do. They upload a raw image size and they don’t resize it to only what the browser needs. And then an image site map, hopefully, if you’re using a CMS, it’s able to identify and store all of the images that you’ve uploaded and you used in your articles or your pages. It can then run through and create an image site map with links out to Google. And Google can find that site map to find all of your images.
[00:19:16.020] – Matthew O’Such
Certainly one of the most important things that I do here getting. So we’re going to go ahead and take some questions from the audience. I’m going to let you guys sit back and kind of process some of that information first.
[00:19:33.350] – Matthew O’Such
I’m happy to take any questions, whether it be about image optimization or search or this checklist, some of the best practices about SEO and what it has to do with the different things that we’re doing today in the industry. I certainly am no stranger to the opportunity that this conversation brings about talking about SEO to the general public. I’ve been in SEO for over 18 years. I’ve dealt with lots of different kinds of websites and strategies, whether they be large or small.
[00:20:07.370] – Matthew O’Such
Currently I’m working on a website with Getty and iStock.
[00:20:09.920] – Matthew O’Such
That’s about one hundred and twenty eight million pages large and with a keyword target of go get your dictionary. So that’s the kind of challenge that I have on a daily basis and I’m happy to provide any kind of feedback to anybody.
[00:20:28.590] – Cody Christensen
Great. Thank you so much. I think that’s I know the earlier presentations focused on backlinks and kind of more of the data. So to me, it’s it’s really nice to see how image in another just as another asset to SEO and something that’s kind of moving forward more and more as the years go by, as Google focused on user experience like you touched on and stuff like that.
[00:20:55.380] – Cody Christensen
So I have some questions that I want to ask you. But I know Laura, just put a question in the chat that I want I want to get to right away. And it says, We talked a lot about images. Can you share a little bit about video? And how would using video affect SEO versus using photos?
[00:21:11.220] – Matthew O’Such
[00:21:11.640] – Cody Christensen
So there are certain unique properties to video that you can utilize.
[00:21:16.920] – Matthew O’Such
Some of the best are the FREEZE-FRAME images in the video tagging and taking snapshots of your own image, video, image and video kind of live together in similar spaces where there’s a lot of encroachment from Google features.
[00:21:31.500] – Matthew O’Such
In the SERP. You can see YouTube videos pretty often.
[00:21:35.370] – Matthew O’Such
You don’t see as many Vimeo videos as used to, but you want to make sure that you do a couple of different things, depending on the value that you think this video has, either on your webpage or your website. So I think more as a general marketer at times than just an SEO. If you’re trying to optimize your own website and your Web page for video, certainly having contextual cues, not just the title of the video and who the speaker was on the date and time, but having a full transcript of that video would be extremely helpful, breaking that video down into subparts with two or three years talking about different sections of that video in the mean talking points are questions that it answers would be very valuable as well.
[00:22:19.560] – Matthew O’Such
The video player itself, there are generic video players and video schema markup that Google says help it to identify videos. And I recommend you go out the scheme big to look those up. But keep in mind that Google loves presenting its own features in Google search results.
[00:22:36.670] – Matthew O’Such
If your website domain or that page does not have a lot of authority, a lot of back links, you may be better off if you feel comfortable doing so. Placing that video up on YouTube, having a lot of contextual relevance also in the description of that video and providing, of course, links off to your own website or the page that video’s on on your website and making sure that that channel is dedicated toward your business. And there’s other related videos that someone might be able to find for it.
[00:23:06.990] – Matthew O’Such
I think that those are two of the best things you can do with videos to make sure that you want to ensure visibility for your company, your brand and its content about video search. It can be a challenge. Believe me, if you are strapped and not able to get yourself to sit down and write a, you know, a transcript of the video, that is maybe like twenty, thirty or longer twenty, thirty minutes or longer.
[00:23:33.150] – Matthew O’Such
When you uploaded to YouTube, there is an automatic transcript creator and you can go and copy all of that transcript and maybe you need to do a little bit of parsing once it’s come down from there, because, you know, the machine learning system is only so good. Right.
[00:23:49.380] – Matthew O’Such
But I think that that you could bring it down a little bit of a cheat, put it into your page, make sure you read through it first, and then you’ve got some good value there.
[00:23:58.100] – Cody Christensen
Awesome. Yeah, I think that’s really good, really good pointers right there. Phillip, I’ll let you get into it here in a sec. I just had a question just because I’ve experienced it myself with you. Look at the ranking factors and it seems like lately, page speed, right. Load speed has been a key ranking factor for your webmaster tools. And it’s there. And I know you touched on it briefly, but when are you going to get your iStock right if you download the image as the raw image of the different sizes and stuff like that?
[00:24:27.320] – Cody Christensen
I just want to know, maybe if you click on a little bit more detail on how to implement these images just so it’s optimized for the page, like you were saying, so that low time is up there. So as a ranking factor, you’re getting a boost from not only the user experience with the image, but also the load time as well. Yeah, absolutely.
[00:24:45.690] – Matthew O’Such
So the Getty and iStock tools have an editor on the website that you can resize and crop the materials before you download the final product. Of course, that that is a free editor if you’re buying the image that anybody can use, which is terrific.
[00:24:58.700] – Matthew O’Such
But there are also at home image editors where you can reach size the image and make it a lot smaller and compressed.
[00:25:06.110] – Matthew O’Such
Let’s say that you’re going really home on this. Let’s say that you really don’t have an editor, you don’t have Photoshop, you don’t know what you’re doing with all those other editors.
You can go the way that I do sometimes, which is probably not always the most recommended way, because you’ll lose the image metadata, which is very valuable to Google as well.
[00:25:25.070] – Matthew O’Such
But sometimes you could take that image, put it into photo, put it into PowerPoint, resize it there, and then use it like a screen cropping tool or a screen grabbing tool and save that file in the smallest possible size that you want it to be. And you’re not going to get it exactly to match the size you expect it to be for your web.
So but you do want to make sure that it’s at least a little bit bigger than the intended size that it’s going to go up on the Web for because you don’t want it to have to scale out. You want to have to scale it down.
[00:25:57.110] – Matthew O’Such
But if you can keep the image in its most raw format and use an image format that allows you to rescale and resize that image properly, that is really the best way to do it.
[00:26:08.090] – Matthew O’Such
Google utilizes the file properties of the images that you have. So imagine back in the day when you used to be, all right, click on files and you still can you right. Click on files. You look at the property, the file, there’s the data was created. There’s a lot of that data in imagery now that is set up by the companies like mine and other contributors that upload their images to our platforms. And we want to make sure that that is persistent there.
[00:26:32.630] – Matthew O’Such
So I would recommend that you try and keep the original file as best you can for sizing and for image and speed.
[00:26:39.530] – Matthew O’Such
If you have multiple images on the page, you want to speak to your developers about lazy loading, making sure that those images that are below the fold are not as big and heavy and maybe load after the pages come up.
[00:26:51.020] – Matthew O’Such
But you also want to have mobile friendly pages, so you’ll want to have what we call a responsive design. There should be an image size for desktop and there should be an image, a completely different file, perhaps for mobile visitors, so that when a mobile visitor and Google’s mobile bot hits that page, it sees the difference in the page load the speed and the size of that file, and it can give your page more of a priority. As you may have heard in the industry, the mobile first index is coming for us.
[00:27:22.430] – Matthew O’Such
A lot of us in the industry, we’ve already been moved over or notified by Google that we’ve gone mobile first. But so we think we’ve already felt the impact. We’re not a hundred percent sure, but we don’t know if it’s going to be mobile again, like it was a couple of years ago. We know that that was a thing for us, a bunch of us at least. We wanted to beat that that stopwatch that was kind of going.
[00:27:42.980] – Matthew O’Such
But now we we think that in the next couple of months, we’re better prepared. Another way to do image optimization, if you’re really techie and you know what you’re doing is to use a more compressed version of the image.
[00:27:55.590] – Matthew O’Such
By default, services like iStock and Getty will provide you with the most high resolution ability to download an image you can select from the different large, small, medium, large, extra large sizes.
[00:28:08.050] – Matthew O’Such
But we’ll give you a really high resolution image. Maybe that’s not what you need. Maybe you only need a resolution image that’s a lot lower. You can use some of those file those editors, those image editors to do compressions to those images. Or you can go even and take it from a normal JPEG file and put it into what’s now called a Web P image file.
[00:28:29.760] – Matthew O’Such
Those are even a higher compressed version of an image. Maybe you’re not looking for a really high quality, really sharp image. You just need something that’s compressed and it’s fine. It’s not going to pixilate too much if you go to a Web page or a compressed jpeg, I recommend doing that as well. If you’ve got somebody that has the capability and toolset to do so.
[00:28:47.210] – Cody Christensen
Cool, I think that yeah, I think that’s very, very useful. Like I said, I ran into that a while back using just our own WordPress site and with the images and the size of the resolution.
[00:28:57.590] – Cody Christensen
So I think that’s great. Yeah. Happens to all of us that in your.
[00:29:04.160] – Phillip Thune
I thought you had an interesting slide just showing in the entire universe of search. Right. How many searches are Google? And then I think it was 60 something percent and then it was another 20 so percent. That was an image Google image search. Right. And I think what most people think about SEO, they’re thinking about getting listed in the first part of the Google results, kind of the normal results, not so much the image, the image side, but given how many people are doing image searches, in a sense, maybe.
[00:29:36.050] – Phillip Thune
Right. It’s it’s a secondary or backend way to get your site in front of people to make sure you show up for the right keywords. I mean, how should people I know you showed the stat that said, as you’d imagine, stock photos probably are not going to be great for you in terms of getting ranked high and image search unless there’s just not a lot of competition. But but how how should people think about that? How should they think about it with original photos?
[00:29:59.750] – Phillip Thune
How should they think about it with stock photo?
[00:30:02.900] – Matthew O’Such
So you’re certainly going to have a tough time like the Google Representative John Mueller had said, if you’re trying to rank using a stock image, but you’ll probably have an easier time if you’ve got great content around it. If you’ve got great material around your content strategy, you may have more contextual relevance to that article and the image that it represents in search results. It’s certainly something that can happen for anyone.
[00:30:31.040] – Matthew O’Such
It doesn’t have to just be the original owner of where that image came from, like an iStock or a Getty. What we are also seeing in image search are some new features that are available that help out the industry a little bit. You can now find commercially accessible images using the licensable badge that Google recently launched. If you are looking to buy images or something like that, or make sure that your image that you’re using, if you want to do a reverse lookup, where it’s used, where it’s been utilized before, you can take a look at that.
[00:31:01.190] – Matthew O’Such
But there are product listings in Google image search. Google knows that people are looking for things within Google, Google search, image search to buy them.
[00:31:12.020] – Matthew O’Such
And so you can see products there that are chairs and tables and furniture and wallpaper and a whole myriad of things that you may not have expected to see or people actually get into searching for. Certainly, if you’re like me, I have two kids and every so often I’m looking up the random unicorn picture showing my daughter something for a bedtime story. They want to see a picture of the Goldilocks and the three bears.
[00:31:40.100] – Matthew O’Such
So you’ve got your looky loos, you’ve got your people that are not in the customer journey of purchase intent, but you certainly do have a good percentage of those individuals that have purchase intent that like my wife, maybe during the pandemic you were looking to buy outdoor furniture or a get ideas about that furniture or settings in design and landscape.
[00:32:05.270] – Matthew O’Such
There are a bunch of verticals today that can be better served through an image search because of the emotional attachment or the immediate recognition of what that person is looking for rather than in a Web search.
[00:32:19.730] – Matthew O’Such
And mobile is a great way to do it now that speeds are getting faster on mobile. While Google certainly wants you to be faster for mobile experience, it certainly helps you to have a more efficient page speed for it. But there’s a lot of different use cases for Google image search and a lot of well, I think the number earlier in the stat was forty three percent of searches generate an image pack or an image of some kind in a search result. Holy crap, that’s that’s huge.
[00:32:48.260] – Matthew O’Such
I mean, that’s almost half that really should tell you why when you’re writing great content or you have content content created for you, you should be adding images to that material because it captures the attention of the individual and it gets a higher click through rate. Fifty eight percent of those individuals click on an image based or a some sort of a visually based rich result rather than just a regular web result when when both are present.
[00:33:13.490] – Matthew O’Such
So I find a lot of value in Google image search, especially, of course, as Getty Images and iStock. If people are looking for puppy pictures, dog pictures, cat pictures, but then they’re able to filter to the ability to buy one an image like that, it’s very valuable to us and it should be valuable to others in multiple industries.
[00:33:36.320] – Cody Christensen
I have a question. It may be a simple answer, but I don’t know the answer to it, so I wanted to bring it up.
[00:33:44.780] – Cody Christensen
Just in terms of content, Google has said repeatedly, don’t know. Duplicate content is a bad idea. It’s just just don’t do it with images. I’m assuming it’s the same story. Right. You don’t want to have the same image on every single page of your website. It’s probably better to diversify. You want to speak to that a little bit? Yeah, absolutely.
[00:34:03.890] – Matthew O’Such
So. Well, I think we can go back to the quote from John Mueller to say, Having the same image as others or other Web pages is probably not going to diminish your Web rankings. It’s certainly not going to set you apart. It’s certainly not going to create additional value. And they they do admit to being able to know what is on that image. We don’t know what part of the algorithm waits, what Google found in the image and what is on the page in the words around it.
[00:34:34.310] – Matthew O’Such
But obviously there is some sort of a mix in that machine learning or AI that they’ve done with their image recognition services and software. Every day we see articles that are published and that are having unique materials.
[00:34:47.480] – Matthew O’Such
I think it’s easy enough to go out and get there’s so many resources, whether they be low cost and mid cost or free at times that you can go to to get an image that is unique, that you’d like to use a lot of tools out there that provide images, have the ability to look at what’s newest or what is most commonly used. If you reverse some of those features that we have that feature on, on iStock, you can either see newest images.
[00:35:15.830] – Matthew O’Such
So maybe people haven’t used those images before that you want to download and utilize for your article. Or you can look at the most popular, which might be the things that match closest to what you’re looking for, but maybe popular because they were viewed the most or downloaded.
[00:35:31.400] – Matthew O’Such
I couldn’t really give a very good example on that specific line of thinking, but certainly by having a unique image on every article or every page that you have, you’re changing the dynamic and the look and feel of your Web page.
[00:35:46.310] – Matthew O’Such
And I think that that’s very valuable as having been a web developer and a surfer of the Internet, I want a unique experience and want something that adds value to my experience as a visitor to the page.
[00:35:58.780] – Phillip Thune
And I think one of the things we know about written content and maybe other forms of content, I guess, but. Right. Freshness is a ranking factor. Right. And so there’s you know, we see this from from textbook clients. Right. There’s kind of this decision. Well, I don’t know. I either have done it myself or I’ve paid someone like text broker to write thousands of articles. So I’ve got all this these assets. But, you know, it’s now three, four or five years later, some of this stuff is getting stale.
One of the things we always recommend is this kind of refreshing as opposed to having to start from scratch, especially if you still feel like that the bulk of the content on that pages is pretty good. Hey, just add a new first paragraph or update some things and you don’t have to pay for a brand new thing. And I have no I have no idea what the answer to this. I don’t know if you know this. What about on the image?
[00:36:51.600] – Phillip Thune
Right. So if you’ve created this Web page that’s now five years old, it’s kind of been out there for a while. You see the rankings kind of drop because there’s people on the same page where they’re creating newer stuff and Google is rewarding them for that. So it’s like, all right, it’s time for me to refresh this page. Can you just leave the image you had from five years ago? Is that not a problem? Google is not considering that. Or you need to maybe update that image as well as that’s something, you know.
[00:37:18.130] – Matthew O’Such
Yeah, I think I’d start with research around that to see what my Google image search clicks and impressions are, or either that particular page or that image. You go to Google search console, you take a look at the URL for that article and performing an image search or if it’s gotten any image clicks for that image. If it’s underperforming, it’s not getting any clicks at all or it’s been diminishing a lot over time. I’d probably look to refresh that image as well.
[00:37:46.090] – Matthew O’Such
We believe in the industry at Google has a memory for the footprint of a look and a feel of a particular image that it knows what one image in another image, another image, that it’s all similar because the pixels in the colors and the locations, the file sizes and the meta data all line up to each other. And it knows the history of that image, much like it knows the history of a domain or a Web page. What I would recommend is if you see that it’s getting traffic to that that page or to that image through image search, maybe you don’t want to touch it because rotating out to a new fresh image will reset that image or at least that image on that articles history with Google.
[00:38:31.450] – Matthew O’Such
And so you want to be careful about that. So do your research first. Don’t just change out the image because you need a new fresh look and feel, but certainly make sure it’s not getting traffic before you do that.
[00:38:43.870] – Matthew O’Such
If you do need to do a redesign, you’re going to different aspect ratios. You’re going through a different template size and the hero is getting bigger or smaller. And you think this image just doesn’t do you any good anymore. Validate that first because you definitely don’t want to be the person that got rid of an image or traffic inadvertently done. That does not go well.
[00:39:06.790] – Matthew O’Such
But as far as you’re talking to Article Refreshing, two thumbs up on that one. From my experience, we identified a whole bunch of articles in my editorial experiences at Mashable PC Mag, What to Expect When Expecting Everyday Health.
[00:39:22.690] – Matthew O’Such
That’s the Ziff Davis group of websites and doing article refreshes and content refreshes and looking at the competitive landscape of what is on page one now, what is ranking now that we’re six months later up and writing things in an evergreen sense and exploring and going down a little further down the rabbit hole in that topic area and adding more opportunities for engagement for the user so that their bounce rate is lower so that their time on site is higher, certainly of high value.
[00:39:53.980] – Matthew O’Such
I absolutely agree with that tactic and I recommend it to anyone that has editorial content that is Evergreen that you would want to refresh that.
[00:40:04.030] – Matthew O’Such
I don’t know what anybody else might have said today. I’m going to go out on a limb, depending on the seasonality, that material. You want to refresh it every three to six months, if it’s some of your best performing content, if you feel it’s necessary.
After looking at a competitive landscape of how that articles performed, if it’s underperforming, then maybe you want to be more aggressive.
[00:40:25.030] – Matthew O’Such
But I wouldn’t say any faster than a month or two. I think it’s diminishing returns toward the effort you’re doing the amount of editorial staff you’ll have to keep on hand to refresh hundreds or thousands of articles. You know, that’s certainly you want to look at your customer journey and see if you’re addressing those items that have the largest monthly search volume as well.
[00:40:49.090] – Phillip Thune
Yeah, no, I think that’s that seems much quicker. I again, like with everything. Right. It depends if you’re in a shoe. A competitive space where news is changing fast and your competitors are constantly updating things, then, yeah, you’ve got to kind of get into that flow. But no, I’d say looking at what our clients typically do. If it’s if it’s written in an evergreen way and it’s not a super competitive space, you can go a year or two years, even even three years and you’re just fine.
[00:41:19.590] – Phillip Thune
But but almost always, if once you get past that kind of time period, you’re either have to be very lucky that you have no competition or that nothing changes in your in your industry or something which which is not to many industries left like that, but no good advice.
[00:41:35.680] – Matthew O’Such
And certainly once an article starts to gain traction in momentum, if it’s starting to rank for more terminology, you start to see that after three months, an article is starting to rank on page two for a bunch of terms you may not have expected it to or that were edge case terms for that article. Go back and refresh that article to add more content about those new page to terminologies or if it’s ranking. And you think there’s another article on your website that should be ranking, better go refresh that other article and start doing some cross-linking.
[00:42:08.760] – Matthew O’Such
I often find that you’ve written more content since you last updated the primary article you’re going to update. So go out and find some of the other articles and start doing a little bit more interlinking between the new articles you’ve written or refreshed, looking at your top keyword performers and your targets.
[00:42:31.100] – Cody Christensen
Yeah, I think that’s that’s great advice that the notion of set and forget it with your content is definitely past. So I want to ask you a question. It’s been, I think, almost in every single presenter, but it has to do.
[00:42:44.840] – Cody Christensen
I just want to get your thoughts on going after, especially with images. Right. But going after the featured snippet and the knowledge graph over, just trying to get that like top organic spot and kind of what your thoughts are about that. I know Tyson touched on it. You touched on it, and I think you buried it this morning. So I’m just kind of interested to see what your opinion is on that knowledge graph and featured snippet opposed to the number one organic search bar.
[00:43:09.890] – Matthew O’Such
Yeah, I’m going to go for bigger. Real estate is better. So I would certainly go after the rich results and count myself lucky if I get into that position. But understand, if I don’t own it today, understand what is the content type or the situational content that is being presented in the rich snippet that I need to meet or beat. So if what’s winning is an ordered list or an unordered list of items and I don’t have one, you’re damn sure I’d better be adding that into my content as soon as possible and perhaps a little higher in the article than I expected it to.
[00:43:52.490] – Matthew O’Such
If there are a high amount of monthly search volume about a given set of questions that are related or the people also ask, I’d be adding those into my materials as well to try and get that rich snippet and the featured result for each feature dancer featured article in Position Zero, I think we like to call it as far as the knowledge graph.
[00:44:19.050] – Matthew O’Such
If that’s a tough toss up. Certainly you can get an image into the knowledge graph, it’s much more difficult. You have to be highly relevant to get into knowledge graph.
[00:44:28.260] – Matthew O’Such
And I think most of us know in the industry that you have to be like Wikipedia. I don’t know what percentage ownership Wikipedia has of the knowledge graph, but it’s got to be an extremely high percentage.
[00:44:44.470] – Matthew O’Such
So maybe you do a little bit of inception. If you can’t beat them, join them, see what kind of contributions you can make to Wikipedia in a fair and balanced way. Certainly do not expect that you’re going to get a link to your website from the knowledge graph if you go to Wikipedia and start adding things in there. But if you can move that, you can turn the tide just a little bit toward some presence that you want to have in there that is factually relevant and adds value to the knowledge graph in the Wikipedia page.
[00:45:22.570] – Matthew O’Such
Maybe you give that a shot. You know, images from knowledge graph can come from Wikipedia as well as other resources. You know, there’s at least four or five slots for images there usually. And I recommend you go out and give it a shot if you want to add some imagery that you have to. A Wikipedia page is one of the media assets there.
[00:45:40.890] – Matthew O’Such
You could do that and maybe do your competitors or others that are there by having a better alternate text that’s attached to it, a better anchor text or description that’s there.
[00:45:50.610] – Matthew O’Such
So, yeah, I’m I’m pro rich results. I’m pro featured snippet I’m interested in hearing. I was unfortunately unavailable earlier this morning on some of the other talks. What was the what’s the the leading opinion or feedback to date?
[00:46:10.200] – Cody Christensen
So I think you hit it on head. I think everybody said like they would take like you said, I like a phrase if you take the real estate. And I do think it’s an interesting topic, right. You get all of this and it’s like if we can only be so lucky to have the featured snippet, it’s not like they give that to everybody. And it’s like, oh, no, we have too many featured snippets and not about organic sports.
[00:46:30.780] – Cody Christensen
So no, I think you’re right in line with what everybody said is look like they’re going to give it to us. We’re going to take it. Yeah.
[00:46:39.250] – Matthew O’Such
Yeah. You know, there’s something that Rand Fishkin and a bunch of others in the industry have spoken about over the last couple of years, which is the zero click search result, search results where nobody goes anywhere.
[00:46:52.560] – Matthew O’Such
They got their answer from the result that was in Google search and that’s it. If a featured snippet is providing that and it’s not me and somebody just not going to go anywhere anyway, I’d prefer to at least be my brand. I prefer that I be there and I’d be present and I’d be the solution provider, the answer provider, even if in the end, you know, nobody’s going anywhere. At least I got my name out there. And it may result in a little bit of brand boosting or brand traffic, direct traffic even to the website in the future. I think that’s certainly the position you have to take is think of it from this. How does this do good for the company, not just how does this do good for just the SEO channel?
[00:47:39.930] – Cody Christensen
Right, and it can’t hurt, right? Like you said, for these zero results, if you’re in the position, the featured snippet on that, it’s got to be a good sign that Google’s indexing goes for what should be clicks with a high average monthly search volume. So I think that’s a great point. So I don’t I don’t have any more questions. I don’t know if you do. We definitely have time for maybe one more question.
[00:48:05.400] – Phillip Thune
Yeah, let’s do it. Let’s do one more and then we’ll get to the prizes in the poll. I mean, I don’t know if this is a I know you’ve only been getting for about ten months one of the fun kind of interesting things that that a theme where sitting where we sit right. We see thousands and thousands of clients. And what are they ordering and how long is it? What’s the quality level they’re expecting? You know, what kind of advice are they giving authors?
[00:48:33.890] – Phillip Thune
And we would never give anything away that one of our clients is doing. But when you look at the math, the crowd. Right, the thousands of people, you definitely see some trends over time. And I wonder with Getty Images, I think you mentioned million. You’re not in the thousands of clients, right? You’re in the millions of clients. Are there are there kind of things that you see over time or things that change in terms of how your clients use stock photos or use photos in general?
[00:48:59.810] – Phillip Thune
Is there something our audience should know, you know, in terms of best practices that you’ve seen kind of something change recently or maybe the pandemic change, something, you know, maybe a tough question to answer. But if there are some some things like that, I think that would be pretty interesting.
[00:49:14.960] – Matthew O’Such
Yeah, there’s two themes that we’ve been working toward at Getty and iStock in our imagery that we asked contributors to take photos or to create and and put on the platforms as well as because it’s being driven by what the ask is from customers.
[00:49:31.400] – Matthew O’Such
There is an initiative that we call visual GPS. You can take a look at the brand and search it out. Visual GPS helps us to take what our clients are doing and using the imagery and the studies they’re doing or the way that they’re implementing or what they’re asking for, for their brand. And it communicates it out to the rest of the world on like a like a trend of what’s going on in trending times and imagery. What we found is that there’s two trends going on in in the last six months to a year.
[00:50:00.590] – Matthew O’Such
The first one is diversity and inclusion, diversity and inclusion, the diversity of an image that represents a more broader landscape of the community around us. As we know with a very politically heated times and a lot of activism that’s been going on over the last year, there’s been a lot of talk about what is the diversity that this image represents, what is the inclusion that we have for other communities that may not be directly in front of us, but are around us that we want to include in this type of imagery?
[00:50:36.170] – Matthew O’Such
So Getty Images and iStock have had a dedicated effort not only by our contributors, but also by the teams that run the search systems behind the material that you see, the way that we surface material to bring more diversity and inclusion to our results than any of our other competitors. It’s really been an amazing initiative. We don’t just do this on a front end. We as a company have a lot of diversity and inclusion meetings and discussions and talks about how we can better represent the community in the world and the events around us in an authentic way.
[00:51:12.830] – Matthew O’Such
And that brings me to my second point, authenticity. So we believe that there is a certain place and audience for certain types of imagery versus other types of imagery. We always say that there’s different groupings. There’s editorial and creative editorial is the news. It it happened on the street. It was an event that happened in time or it’s maybe a landmark or something. That’s something that might be editorial at a certain time or point. It’s an event that occurred.
[00:51:47.090] – Matthew O’Such
The other side of it is creative. That’s when you get into the areas of is this to Stocki?
[00:51:53.510] – Matthew O’Such
Does it feel like someone is looking directly at the camera and smiling and posing? Does it look forced or is it something that feels authentic? And authenticity is something the team has been working on over the last couple of years to present those materials that we feel have and a recognition of authenticity, of lighting of real world situations.
[00:52:14.900] – Matthew O’Such
And in the last six months, what is more authentic than an individual that has hand sanitizer next to their desk or a mask that they’re wearing or gloves or other material?
[00:52:26.900] – Matthew O’Such
Those things have been a shift in our visual landscape in the last couple of months that we are promoting in our search results internally. Because, you know, when you type in grocery store today, grocery store looks much different than a grocery store six months ago.
[00:52:42.820] – Matthew O’Such
A grocery store is completely different with plexiglass shields and masks and bags and arrows pointing. Which way you’re going? I don’t get out that much, but I know that from the times that I have gone out, that is more authentic to what’s happening in the real world today than what we have seen in the last twenty five years. It is the twenty fifth anniversary of Getty Images and iStock. We have twenty and twenty four and a half years of imagery that doesn’t contain that.
[00:53:11.270] – Matthew O’Such
So that’s why the new refresh of this material in our system, in the library and the things that are then brought to other systems are a great opportunity for people to have.
[00:53:23.190] – Phillip Thune
Now, that’s that’s a that’s a great point, we were talking a few minutes ago about should I updated that image from three years ago, five years ago. Right. I think, you know, if you’re trying to present content is new or written, content is new and it’s with a picture that’s clearly outdated because the world has changed so much that that’s not a good user experience. And I’m not going to help you.
[00:53:45.960] – Matthew O’Such
But there’s a lot of media running on TV. I won’t say any specific ads, but there’s a lot of media on TV where I’m like, I can’t go to a concert like that. I can’t be in the stands at a football game like that. Nobody’s tailgating and hugging everybody in high five and everyone around them.
[00:54:03.510] – Matthew O’Such
I’m like, come on, automotive commercial catch up with. You’re able to update your promos on a quarterly or monthly basis for the next holiday. That’s coming up for pricing. But you haven’t updated the experience and the authenticity of the of what’s going on in the real world today. And sure, it takes time to shoot it, to get it to market, to edit it, to do all those things. So there’s, you know, websites and TVs and videos and advertisers that are shot a year ago or two years ago that they planned on using today.
[00:54:35.190] – Matthew O’Such
But unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to work out in my mental capacity for today’s mask wearing public.