Google may use EXIF data attached to images as a ranking factor in search results. This isn’t exactly a new revelation, but it is the topic of a new “Webmaster Help” video from the company.
Matt Cutts responds to the submitted question, “Does Google use EXIF data from pictures as a ranking factor?”
“The short answer is: We did a blog post, in I think April of 2012 where we talked about it, and we did say that we reserve the right to use EXIF or other sort of metadata that we find about an image in order to help people find information,” Cutts says. “And at lest in the version of image search as it existed back then, when you clicked on an image, we would sometimes show the information from EXIF data in the righthand sidebar, so it is something that Google is able to parse out, and I think we do reserve the right to use it in ranking.”
“So if your’e taking pictures, I would go ahead, and embed that sort of information if it’s available within your camera because, you know, if someone eventually wants to search for camera types or focal lengths or dates or something like that it can be possibly a useful source of information,” he continues. “So I’d go ahead and include it if it’s already there. I wouldn’t worry about adding it if it’s not there. But we do reserve the right to use it as potentially a ranking factor.”
The blog post he was talking about was called, “1000 Words About Images,” and gives some tips on helping Google index your images, and a Q&A section. In that part, one of the questions is: What happens to the EXIF, XMP and other metadata my images contain?
The answer was: “We may use any information we find to help our users find what they’re looking for more easily. Additionally, information like EXIF data may be displayed in the right-hand sidebar of the interstitial page that appears when you click on an image.”
Google has made significant changes to image search since that post was written, causing a lot of sites to get a great deal less traffic from it.
Image via YouTube