Why Geo-Tagging Your Images for Local SEO Hasn’t Disappeared

Why Geo-Tagging Your Images for Local SEO Hasn’t Disappeared
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Geo-tagging imagesLocal SEO is often hot topic in the SEO world, and this causes many new strategies and approaches to surface. Lessons in local SEO are always changing, so it can be tough to sort out the best practices that have remained as you sift through all the new advice. It seems that one of those lessons is geo-tagging, which is a way for a company to optimize images for local search. Whether this is something you’ve put on the backburner, something you think you’re doing correctly, or something you know nothing about, it helps to take a look back and discover why it all matters. You have to ask yourself: Am I taking full advantage of the geo-tagging option, and does it even make sense for my specific company?

What is Geo-Tagging and Why Does It Matter?

This term is actually a concept that is very familiar to many (however the term is something that sometimes trips companies up, which will be discussed in the last section). Geo-tagging essentially refers to metadata that is embedded into a photo in order to help search engines see the association between that photo and a specific location that you added as part of your metadata. A few benefits include:

  • Search Queries. Search engine users typically add in location-based information when typing something into a search bar. For example, someone might very well type in “Accountants in Aurora, IL.” Therefore, you want your company to be associated with this location so that you pop up in that search.
  • Image Search. You can’t forget that photos also show up on many SERPs, often at the top. If you can geo-tag your images, it will help search engines determine which images should show up on that SERP.
  • Foursquare. Being a part of social geo-tagging, particularly Foursquare, is a great way to get your company name out there on a platform that is familiar to millions. If you can show up on a list of suggested businesses in the area through this outlet, you have a great chance of improving your business. This social network works with other networks like Facebook to allow people to “check-in” to where they are, which helps businesses utilize some of the tactics above on a social platform. You can sign up for Foursquare here.

So when is geo-tagging not a good idea? The idea of geo-tagging will help businesses in a very geographic specific market be found by relevant consumers, as well as helping companies gather data about a local audience. Therefore, if you are a regional company or business, geo-tagging is incredibly important; if you are a national or international business, it won’t do much to help your cause.

It is also important to realize that Google has stated in a video that they don’t look at geo-tags too often. Instead, Google puts a focus on following IP addresses, top-level domains, and likes for websites to create a sitemap.xml file, which you can learn more about in the video. Still, Bing uses geo-tags quite often and they are easy to do, so it certainly can’t hurt (whether you want to focus on Google or Bing).

How to Get Started Geo-Tagging Your Website Images for Local Search

There are many different types of geo-tagging. If you want to geo-tag your images, there are really four different ways to make it happen:

  • Tools. The most popular way to do this is to go through one of several tools that walk you through the steps. I recommend Panoramio or Flickr as the easiest way to make this happen. You simply upload a photo and fill in title tags and descriptions.
  • GPS Camera. This will likely work best for bloggers who take their own photos. If you buy a GPS enabled camera, all of the information you need will be saved for you on the actual camera.
  • Manual. Of course, there is always the manual way of doing things. This involves quite a bit of coding, which you can learn more about here.
  • Image Sitemap. This overlaps with what was discussed above. You can use a geo-tag within your image sitemaps for ranking on Google, but this isn’t incredibly relevant anymore. It’s probably best to use one of the other methods if you’re worrying about ranking for Bing or Yahoo.

If you want to get even more advanced, consider geo-tagging your entire website. You can visit Brand Builder Company for more information.

Have you had any struggles with geo-tagging in the past? Any success stories? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Got a different viewpoint on this subject or some useful insights you want to share? We’re interested in publishing unique content written by smart marketeers on our blog. Contact us with your details & ideas and we’ll get back to you ASAP!

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14 thoughts on “Why Geo-Tagging Your Images for Local SEO Hasn’t Disappeared”

  1. @Sherry,

    Are you referring to images that are uploaded in the backend of Google My Business under the Photos section (http://imgur.com/a/r69yQ) or are you referring to photos that are added in posts within a collection for instance? This screenshot: http://imgur.com/a/cMH8F is an image added to a post and it clearly shows the name of the file. What is the best practice in this case? To post images in both ways with the keywords in the file name? And as far as naming, does it matter if the words are hyphenated in the saved file?

    1. Hi, Robert…It’s important to ALWAYS name your image files — no matter where they appear on the Internet — with keyword descriptions that tell what the picture shows. I generally recommend using dashes “-” in between the words of the image file name (i.e. gas-station-cedar-rapids.jpg) Hope this helps! — Sherry

  2. Hey Amanda!

    I know that this isn’t a recent article, but it was extremely informative and I learned a lot. Would you still suggest geotagging your photos for Google Plus if you’re a local business? If so, would you want to name your photos based on keywords with relevant search volume or would those file names still be visible to a user who views the image? If you have any information on this subject, I would greatly appreciate it!

    1. Hi,

      If you’re a local business it’s always a good idea to name your images with keywords (i.e. photographer-kansas-city.jpg) The file names aren’t visible to the end user, but search engines can see the file name.

    2. Robert…I generally recommend that you use keywords in your image FILE name — words that actually describe what the picture shows. (i.e. hand-car-wash-tulsa-ok.png). Hope this helps! — Sherry

  3. Nice blog Amanda DiSilvestro.
    I would like to add something more.
    One of the main concerns that people consider when they decide whether they would like to use geotags on their web pages is privacy. There are several ways you can protect your privacy as a geotagger:

    Provide only generic information of your location.
    Don’t give out your home phone or personal mobile phone number.
    On your photos, check and double-check all EXIF data.
    As a business entity, you may want to maximize your exposure and use geotags more liberally. However, remember to always choose wisely when deciding which information you should be sharing on the web.


  4. Google has recently stated that they no longer support the geo tag, what you need to do is create a locations.kml file with all of your locations in it, then create a sitemap.xml file that references the locations.kml file, then upload them both to the root of your site via FTP and then tell google Webmasters about the new sitemap.xml

    One thing that makes it easy is http://www.geositemapgenerator.com/ after you run through it and download the geositemap.xml file, go in and edit the code to remove the geo tag parts.

    BTW, currently Google is the only one that supports this at the moment, Bing/Yahoo dont recognize them, but Bing has stated that they are working on it.


  5. I’ve started geotagging for local seo recently, but I’m curious to see your best practices for tagging. For a service biz, is it prudent to have 30 photos with similar keyword themes? Do you include NAP in your titles for images on-page or on G+?

  6. Great suggestions and tips on geo-tagging, Amanda. Most website owners and designers don’t bother to take the time to geo-tag images, but it can go a long way in terms of helping with SEO as you mentioned. And geo-tagging an entire website, especially if your business depends upon local customers, is a great tip. Thanks.

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