The Hidden SEO Ranking Factor You’re Probably Deleting

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I wanted to test a hidden ranking signal that not many people talk about.

So last year I built a series of sites to see if embedding hidden image exif data into images affects rankings…

…and I’ve been able to answer that question with quite some success-

Are You Deleting This Data Accidentally?

If you’ve been following traditional image SEO advice like like Google’s page speed insights that tell you to compress your images…

google page speed advice removes this data

…it’s likely you’ve installed a plugin like WP Smush, Shortpixel or Imagify.

The problem with that, is these plugins often strip this valuable hidden exif data when optimizing images to reduce image size-

Image SEO is for optimizing images beyond just alt text

So if you have been following traditional image SEO (alt text etc) & site speed advice.

You might want to take a closer look to make sure you’re not stripping out this hidden image SEO benefit accidentally.

How To Add Exif Data To Your Images

Luckily for us adding exif data to images is both quick and free!

All you have to do is go to thexifer.net and upload an image-

exif setup 1

Then click on the little blue “Exif.me” button.

That will open a popup that allows you to edit all of the image exif data to your heart’s content-

image exif setup 2

I like to play around with the following fields-

Exif General Tab

  • Artist
  • OwnerName
  • Copyright
  • ImageDescription
  • UserComment

IPTC Tags Tab

  • By-line
  • By-lineTitle
  • CopyrightNotice
  • Writer-Editor
  • Keywords
  • ObjectName
  • Headline
  • Caption-Abstract

XMP Tags Tab

  • Creator
  • Rights
  • Title
  • Description
  • Rating
  • Label
  • Headline

Once you are done:

You can just click the blue Go.eXifing button here-

save file

It will take a little moment to process the image…

…then you should see a green message like this one at the top of the page-

exif saved

Now just close the editor…

…and download the final image-

download image

Then upload it to your site and insert it into a piece of content.

BUT!

You should also double-check that the hidden image exif data you just added isn’t getting stripped out automatically.

How To Check For Hidden Image Exif Data

If you are following this process for the first time, I highly recommend you double-check everything.

First, get the current public-facing live URL of your image and save a copy of it.
(or save this sample image)

Then head over to metadata2go.com and upload the image.

This will reveal all of the embedded exif data-

viewing image exif data

If you do not see the data you added here, then it’s likely the data is being stripped out.

Double-check the settings of plugins like Shortpixel, Imagify or WPSmush and even some CDN’s like CloudFlare Polish will strip this data out.

Fix whatever the problem is then re-upload the image again and repeat the test.

read our case studies

Wrapping It Up

So, does embedding image exif data influence rankings?

Yeah, it seems so!

But if you’ve been following most traditional SEO advice, it’s likely you are stripping out this hidden image SEO advantage unknowingly.

So make sure you are paying close attention!

What do you think about using hidden image exif data as a ranking factor?

search logistics cta

What Are Your Thoughts?

143 Responses

  1. Good list of SEO factors, I like all of your blogs, Matthew sir I’m a learner and I request you to have a complete detailed guide on Local SEO, how to optimize and rank Local listing for atleast 5 keywords. I’m confused and seek help from you to get smart SEO tips.

    1. Hey Mike! The success of a blog/ecommerce/affiliate site is based on: Having a good SEO foundation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCHOCzd5rooPicking the right keywords: https://searchlogistics.com/seo/keywords/research/Writing unique and optimize content based on your keywords: https://searchlogistics.com/seo/on-page/website-content/Building links: https://searchlogistics.com/seo/link-building/strategies/So now, you have everything you need!

  2. Much thanks to you to such an extent! I just took a gander at my pictures and understood a ton of this data isn’t there. I don’t have the foggiest idea why I didn’t think about this since I do it for my mp3’s in my webcast.

  3. If you were to do this would be it sufficient to just do the cover image on a blog page or should you do this for every image?

  4. Awesome write-up, thanks for sharing this info with us. This info is very helpful for me to rank my Sunrise Hospitals.

  5. Thanks Mathew for sharing such a wonderful article. It had solve my purpose. Keep updating such valuable post.

  6. The pleasant idea of data about computerized advertising on the web (or) disconnected both. I might want the think about in subtleties of web-based promoting focuses. A debt of gratitude is in order for data.

  7. This post just gave me an insight into what i have been taking for granted since i started my blog. Does this really affect automotive site since some articles might not really require images. Is image optimization a must-have for a site to rank well?

    1. Well, if your posts/articles don’t need images, then don’t force it. It doesn’t worth it. But, if you do have to insert an image, then you should consider ‘exif data’. It’ll give you a little push to rank.

  8. Interesting post. As a photographer, it’s become norm to strip this stuff out, to reduce file sizes, as we have a lot of images on each page often. Looks like I might have to change that way of working. Thx.

    1. Hey Paul,Underestimated “exif data” is a very common mistake, don’t worry. Just give it a try and see if you get any positive results! Let us know!

  9. This is the first time I happened to read that “image exif data” is important. I used to be just content with Image file name and ALT. I am definitely going to implement your inputs.

    1. Great! Try it and tell me if you get any positive results! Would love to hear your feedback!

  10. Surely you can just right click the image on your pc and add exif data – apply – save.That’s what I do. Surely its the same?

    1. There are different methods to do it. It doesn’t really matter how you do it, the only thing is to put the right info in the right place!

  11. Hey Matt. Awesome should be your middle name. Thanks for this I am definitely implementing it. But I am a bit confused about where in the image details to place the keywords I intend to rank for. Please shed some light on that, thanks

    1. Hey Michael. It’s all written in the article, you just have to follow the process and you’ll see. But, to answer you, it should be in the “IPTC Tags Tab”. Good luck!

  12. Hey I don’t know how you do it @Matthew Yet another brilliant and informative guide. Always love your content. Thanks for sharing keep writing these type of articles and help people to get more knowledge.

    1. Hey Mariam! I’m glad you like my content! I really enjoy sharing my experience and knowledge with my readers!

  13. Nice concept of information about digital marketing online (or) offline both. I would like the know about in details of online marketing points. Thanks for information

  14. Hey, thanks a lot for this hidden ranking factor! I will start to implement this still from my next blog post!

  15. Hi. thanks a lot for the helpful tips. you make it sound ‘doable’ so i’ll go right ahead and try them out!

  16. Thanks, Matthew,I’m going to drop my appreciation, you are really doing a great job. Each time I got an email notification from your site, I learn something new and unique.

  17. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.I checked in Photoshop what’s hidden in the images… It ranged from nothing when saving with tinypng to EVERYTHING… including the layers/folders to where I had saved the file previously thus exposing my name… gotta love Photoshop…

  18. All of my sites are missing this data and probably missing out on important SEO points.Thank you for always sharing relevant SEO content.I always follow your posts, read everything and apply when possible, improving my results.Thanks for everything

  19. I’ve Been following image optimization for most of my sites and this one is not definitely on my list. Thanks for the amazing video and write up 😀

  20. Awesome video Matthew.We are building a new website for my photography business. Timing is perfectThank you

  21. OMG! How come i didn’t think about this befor! That the expression when I read this article. I will obviously try this valuable tips for my articles and blog. Thank you for the great article!

  22. This is a great post. I have been using thexifer.net for GMB image optimisation but hadn’t thought it made a difference in organic results. Thanks for an excellent post.

  23. Thank you so much! I just looked at my images and realized a lot of this info isn’t there. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this because I do it for my mp3’s in my podcast.

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