Does Geotagging Photos Influence Ranking? - Sterling Sky Inc

Does Geotagging Photos Influence Ranking?

Does Geotagging Photos Influence Ranking 2

When people talk about what strategies they utilize in Local SEO to get their client’s ranking, I often hear references to geotagging images.

TLDR

Adding geotags to images in Google My Business (GMB) listings had no measurable impact on rankings in the local pack.  Similarly, adding geotags to the photos on the business website had no measurable impact on organic or local pack rankings.

What is geotagging?

photo geotagsGeotagging photos is the process of adding latitude/longditude tags to an image so that where the photo was taken can be identified.The Exif format has standard tags for location information. As of 2014, many cameras and mobile phones have a built-in GPS receiver that stores the location information in the Exif header when a picture is taken. 

Not all platforms support geotags

During this test, we discovered that certain website platforms don’t support geotags and actually remove them when you upload the images.  We also discovered some programs do this as well – both Google My Business (GMB) and Slack removed the geotags off the photos after we uploaded them.

The Methodology:

To test this, we picked 5 different GMB listings that were not actively being worked on.  They weren’t listings that had any other SEO efforts at the time of the test.  For each listing, we added 3 different images and used an online tool to manually add geotags, a document name, and image description to each photo.

We also tested adding the geotagged photos to the website for 3 of the businesses in the test.  We specifically made sure we added them to the page on the website that the GMB listing was linking to.

The Results

Other GMB fields that impact ranking such as the categories, business name, or website field, generally result in an increase in ranking within 48 hours.  We tracked this over the course of several weeks and saw no measurable increases in ranking either organically or in the local pack results.

ranking impact from geotags
We also saw no measurable increases in traffic to the page on the website that we added the images to or the page the GMB listing was pointing to (we could separate the 2 because of UTM codes).

traffic from geotagging photos

Google My Business traffic from geotags

Conclusion

If you spend time geotagging photos as a part of your local SEO strategy, I would advise spending that time elsewhere.  When I asked Joel Headley what he thought of geotagging images before adding them to Google My Business, he said “it wouldn’t matter since the ‘tagging’ is happening upon upload. It doesn’t matter if meta data exist”.

This study along with several others about images was presented at the LocalU event in August 2021.  Videos of the presentation are available for purchase here.

 

7 replies on "Does Geotagging Photos Influence Ranking?"

  1. Hi Joy,

    Thanks again for sharing your knowledge with the SEO community. I would appreciate if you could say your word about if there is a positive impact (or not) doing geotagging photos on the Google Images search. Would you do it for your clients?

    Thanks!

  2. Has anyone tested if you use the GMB app to take the photos when you are ON LOCATION at the business, so the GMB app automatically adds the geotags when they are uploaded to the google maps listing?

    1. Hey Chad,

      GMB actually deletes the tags. They are gone if you download the photo after adding it. We didn’t use the app but if adding a photo on location geo-tags it automatically (depending on what app you use) it would have the same effect as manually adding the geotags. Either way, the photo would be tagged when it was uploaded.

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