Geo-tagging Photos for SEO

SEO and Geotagging: How Geo-Tagging Photos Can Help Customers Find You – BSPE Legal Marketing

For any small business, one of the biggest challenges in building an online presence is getting your listing to the first page of internet search results. This is especially true for law firms and other small businesses in highly competitive industries. How your potential clients find you depends on how you design your website as well as how well your website communicates with search engines. Regardless of the search engine, whether your potential clients use Google, Yahoo, or Bing, making it easier for engines to find your business can also make it easier for you to be found by your customers.

However, just as technology is constantly advancing, the algorithms used by search engines are also evolving. Getting the help of an experienced SEO marketing specialist or a law firm web designer is a great way to start generating customer leads online. If, on the other hand, you prefer to do your own SEO, you will need to make sure that every component website helps search engines find you and understand what your business does and where it is located. This can be accomplished in many ways, one of which is utilizing geographical metadata called geotagging.

What Is Geotagging?Attaching location metadata to media, providing search engines with context on the image’s location.
How Can Geotagging Help My Business?Helps search engines provide results located near the user’s search location, boosting local businesses.
The Process of Geotagging PhotosAdding metadata to images, including file name, alt-text, and image captions to improve rankings.
Selecting the Right Image to GeotagAll photos can be geotagged, either with GPS-enabled devices or special software for old photos.
Where to Include Geotagged PhotosRecommended pages for geotagged photos include homepage, ‘Contact Us,’ ‘Location/Serviced Areas,’ and blog pages.

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What Is Geotagging? How Does It Help Improve My Business’ Search Engine Ranking?

Geotagging involves attaching location metadata to your media – identifying the exact location of your media through longitude and latitude. Simply speaking, geotagging is telling the search engines where the picture was taken.

Suppose you took a photo of a sunset on a beach. Your phone automatically generates data and attaches it to the image file indicating the date, time, settings, camera model, and potentially, the location where you took the photo. 

When you upload the photo, this data is retained and indexed to help provide search engines with more context on the page the image is uploaded to. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is communicating with Google and other search engines in a way that Artificial Intelligence can understand. Geotagging helps search engines identify your location.  By geotagging already existing photos with latitude/longitude all around your county, you tell the search engines – we don’t just do business in our office, we also serve clients all over our county.  Thus, the next time someone searches for a business like yours from another town, you are more likely to be seen by that searcher.  After all, you are showing pictures that were “taken” in that town.  And as far as Google is concerned that creates additional relevance to that searcher.  Of course, geotagging is just one of many, many ways we explain to Google that our clients are relevant for search results all over the county, as well as next counties over.   

While it may be nice to have a wide reach and have people from, say, other states or even other countries find your website, it isn’t likely that your service would be helpful for them nor will their clicks convert into business for you. By geotagging photos we can also limit your reach – after all getting calls from a different state if you do not practice in that state can actually cost you both time and money. 

A lot of people use search engines to look for services when they are in need. Geotagging helps by indicating to the search engine that you are nearby and can provide the service their user needs.

How Can Geotagging Help My Business Listing and Website Rank Higher?

As more people transition to using their smartphones to search for information, search engines have been scrambling to find ways to ensure that the search results they provide are high quality. The primary goal of search engines is to provide relevant information for users’ search and to make sure that those users continue using their service. 

The purpose of geotagging is to make it easier for search engines to provide results that are located near where the user is searching, and to drive those local users to your business.

For example, there are about 91 places in the US called “Washington”. If a user is looking for a service in Washington, D.C., the search engine will try to return businesses in that locale and eliminate those that are from other places. So if a user says plumber in Washington but is actually in Washington D.C., Google understand they probably want a local plumber and will not provide them with any results in Seattle.  The inclusion and exclusion metrics and algorithm the search engine uses involve the use of geotags among many other factors.

It works the same way for attorneys.  Let’s say someone is injured in a car crash in Cleveland, Ohio.  Your office is located in central Cleveland but the accident took place 10 miles away in Brooklyn, Ohio.  When the victim goes online and searches for car accident lawyers, they will likely get a list of lawyers that have indicated to Google they are located within 2 to 5 miles of the accident.  From billions of searches, Google thinks that people want to go to lawyers near them (not always the case, but search engines are machines and do not understand context).  If you have many geotagged pictures on your site that show you have relevancy for Brooklyn and other areas around Cleveland, (plus other signals such as local pages that cover the area) Google is far more likely to show you during the search, which means you may get the call.  It goes without saying that this works the same for divorce clients, bankruptcy clients or anybody else who might need an attorney in your area.

Geotagging the information on your website, like images, helps you build relevancy without making your website look cluttered. It’s good to remember that you and search engines essentially have the same goal of wanting to provide the best result (your business) to users. It is your job to show Google why your business is the best. By utilizing geotagging in your SEO strategy, you are helping search engines do their job, and, in turn, helping your website rank higher.

Geotagging Photos for Google Business Profiles​

In order to gain a competitive edge in local searches and attract new clients, it is important to increase your ranking on both your website and your Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business profile). Since visual content can significantly influence your SEO performance, it’s critical that your business’s images are not only high quality but also optimized for search engine optimization. Geotagging your Google My Business photos is a powerful strategy to achieve this optimization.

By geotagging photos you are letting Google know where the photos were taken.  For instance, if you are geotagging a photo taken outside of a courtroom, this can make you more relevant to searchers located within close proximity to that courtroom.  While Google will strip the GeoTag from the photos after upload, Google will read those tags first.  That read is a strong signal to Google. In other words, Google wants to know where your photos were taken before stripping the tag.  In addition, photos optimized for your Google Business Profile can also be uploaded to other profiles – such as social media and directory sites, where they can become a strong signal for the algorithm.  

To start geotagging your photos, you’ll need to utilize a geotagging tool, as there’s no manual method for adding geotags directly to your Google Business Profile images. Once you’ve selected a suitable tool, upload the image file that you wish to optimize. The tool should support multiple image formats, including JPEG, PNG, and WebP, offering flexibility in your choice of photos.

The next critical step involves choosing the exact location you want to tag.  You may wish to upload photos that are in the location of your office.  Depending on your practice, you may also wish to upload photos that were taken in close proximity to a local hospital, the local courtrooms, a police station – or any other relevant points of interest.  ,

However, the process doesn’t end with geotagging. Google uses additional textual information to interpret what the image contains. Therefore, optimizing the image title and meta description is equally important. The title should be brief and incorporate relevant keywords that describe your business, while the meta description provides a more detailed explanation of the image’s content.

After you have geotagged your image and edited the title and meta description, apply these changes and download the optimized photo. The final step in this SEO-enhancing process is to upload the photo to your Google My Business account. Whether you’re adding it as a new post, updating your cover photo, or categorizing it appropriately, the embedded geotag within the image’s metadata will now start working in your favor, helping to draw in valuable local SEO traffic and, ultimately, new customers.

By strategically geotagging your images, you’re not just adding visual content to your GMB profile but are also strengthening your online presence, setting your business apart in the bustling marketplace of local search results.

What Is the Process of Geotagging Photos?

While AI can determine what is in a picture, search crawlers also rely on website developers to describe what is on a photo and where it was taken. While an AI might be able to determine that the subject of an image is a building, we can make the search engine’s job easier by adding a description of the building’s name, location, etc.

Search engine crawlers look for metadata which is descriptive information about your site that helps boost your site’s rankings. Adding metadata to images is a good way to increase your ranking without getting a penalty for overstuffing your website with keywords. Image metadata can be found in your images’ file name, alt-text, and, most commonly, in your image captions. Metadata can also already be found on the photos themselves such as in your photos geotags.

Geotagging photos allows you to add location data of the photos on your website and use that data to tell search engines that your website is relevant to the locale. For instance, when you are creating a page for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may post a picture of a courtroom – even an image available on a stock website.  While the image is stock, the data you attach to it is uniquely yours, and by geotagging, you can help Google understand that the courtrooms you work in are located in Cleveland – not Los Angeles where the original photo was taken. 

How Do I Select the Right Image to Geotag? Do All Photos Work?

All photos can be geotagged.  For new photos, you can use a modern phone and take pictures with your GPS enabled.  For old photos, you can use special software.  

How to Select the Right Image to Geotag Description
GPS-Enabled Phone Use a GPS-enabled camera or smartphone to take photos. Most modern devices automatically include geotagging data in the image metadata. Ensure location settings are enabled on your device to capture accurate geotag information.
Editing EXIF Data using third-party tools Manually edit EXIF data of older photos to add geotagging information. This method is applicable for JPEG files and involves using third-party apps or programs like Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop Elements, GeoPhoto for Windows, and Photos for iOS/Mac.

Using a GPS-Enabled Phone

The easiest way to geotag photos is to take them using a GPS-enabled camera. Most modern smartphones and digital cameras register geotagging data as a default setting. As long as your phone has location settings on, any new images taken will contain geotag metadata. To improve your site’s ranking using the images, just upload the photos and add the appropriate file name, caption, and alt-text and you’re good to go.Most photo editing software also has the feature to add geotagging data on photos taken with professional cameras that don’t typically use GPS.

Editing EXIF Data using a third-party tool

Tagging your older photos – those not taken with GPS-enabled devices – is also possible. Manually editing a file’s EXIF (Exchangeable Image File) data can allow you to include geotagging information on any JPEG file. Take note that this method will only work for JPEGs. Adding EXIF data on GIFs and PNGs is not yet possible.

To use this method, you can download any app or program that allows you to open image files to add location data. Here are some programs that you can use for this method:

  • Adobe Lightroom
  • Adobe Photoshop Elements
  • GeoPhoto for Windows
  • Photos for iOS/Mac

You can also use the properties tool on your Windows computer to edit your images’ metadata but options to edit location information are not included in the tool.

You can geo-tag images with EXIF data to include SEO keywords but you should always remember to keep it simple. Add 2 or 3 SEO keywords, and proprietary information like your business name, and the location. Overoptimization is a very real problem and you might find your ranking actually drops if you add too many keywords to a page.  Proceed with caution.

Always make sure to only add information that would be relevant to your website.

Where Should Geotagged Photos Be Included? Is It Okay To Include Geotagging Data on Your Whole Website?

It’s a good idea to include photos with geotagging information anywhere on your website, but especially on the following pages of your business website:

  • Your homepage
  • Your ‘Contact Us’ page
  • Your Location or Serviced Areas page
  • Your blog pages

This is the bare minimum of where you can include geotagged photos on your website. You can choose to include additional photos with geotags on other pages. To optimize and get your listing in organic search results, this process would be very helpful to repeat throughout your business site. Choosing a photo that is eye-catching and relevant to your searches can also help in keeping the attention of your site’s visitors and can also help in delivering your business’ message effectively.  Google and other search engines track how long someone stays on your webpage and webpages with longest visits get rewarded with higher rankings.

While this process can be complicated for business owners who already have their hands full running a business. At BSPE Legal Marketing, we can help ease the burden of building your business’ online presence in order to let you focus on what matters most: your clients.

Our results speak for themselves.  We do not have contracts and our clients are free to leave at anytime. Few do – we have a 95% client retention rate.  Our team is composed of digital marketing experts who are passionate about legal online marketing and can help your website keep up to date with the latest SEO trends.

For a case study or to speak with one of our experienced digital marketing experts, call us today at (929) 362-6419.

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