The Hidden SEO Ranking Factor You’re Probably Deleting

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-

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel Now –>

Are You Deleting This Data Accidentally?

If you’ve being following traditional image SEO advice and tools 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 being following traditional image SEO & 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 hearts 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.

Wrapping It Up

So, does embedded image exif data influence rankings?

Yeah it seems so!

But if you’ve being 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

78 Responses

  1. Webindia Master
    11.21.2020

    Hi,

    Thanks for sharing such an informative and helpful content, I learnt something new and unique.

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 23rd, 2020 at 12:31 pm

      Glad to hear that! Keep it up!

  2. Lisa Manderino
    11.18.2020

    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?

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 20th, 2020 at 9:46 am

      If you really want to see results you should apply this to every image on your blog.

    • rodiw
      December 1st, 2020 at 4:19 am

      it is very good blog.

  3. maulik shah
    11.16.2020

    Thanks for sharing this blog, very informative.

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 18th, 2020 at 11:37 am

      No problem, Maulik :)

  4. Greytics
    11.4.2020

    Thank you so much for this valuable information, it helps me a lot. I will keep all these points now.

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 4th, 2020 at 9:30 am

      That seems to be a good idea ;)
      Let me know how it goes for you!

  5. Jiwan
    9.25.2020

    great post Matthew, it would more help me to optimize my post image…hope get good ranking

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 29th, 2020 at 9:21 am

      Thanks – Hope it helps, Jiwan!

  6. sanu kumar
    9.22.2020

    Hey Matthew

    Thanks for sharing this valuable stuff. Hats off.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 23rd, 2020 at 10:14 am

      No problem Sanu – Hope it helps!

  7. Imagesday
    9.20.2020

    Nice article good information keep it up

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 21st, 2020 at 9:12 am

      Thanks!

  8. Victory
    9.16.2020

    This is quite helpful to me, Matthew.

    Thanks for sharing this for free, it means a lot. Let ne get on working then.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 16th, 2020 at 9:49 am

      No problem! Good luck!

  9. AvtarSingh
    9.15.2020

    article is grateful and very beneficial to listen

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 16th, 2020 at 10:04 am

      I am glad it helped!

  10. best gynecologist in delhi ncr
    9.10.2020

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

  11. alisbha khan
    9.9.2020

    I love this article its great

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 9th, 2020 at 9:46 am

      Thank you!

  12. Loreal Fernandes
    9.9.2020

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

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 9th, 2020 at 9:53 am

      Thank you, Loreal! Don’t worry, I will!

  13. josh
    9.8.2020

    It seems that the site no longer works, any alternatives?

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 9th, 2020 at 9:47 am

      Hey Josh – Which sie?

  14. SOLUBILIS
    9.2.2020

    Thank you for this wonderful post.Interesting article.It is really important useful of this content.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 2nd, 2020 at 9:14 am

      Thanks

  15. Dianahost
    8.25.2020

    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.

  16. maxicom uae
    8.18.2020

    This is cool!

  17. Cristian
    8.12.2020

    Brilliant! Thank you for this information. Great post. Keep up the good work.

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 12th, 2020 at 12:31 pm

      Thank you, Cristian! Glad you found it useful!

  18. janet tompson
    7.27.2020

    What about of image seo when you are listing eCommerce product?

  19. oluwaseun adeniji
    7.23.2020

    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?

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 24th, 2020 at 10:17 am

      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.

  20. Paul Tansley
    7.22.2020

    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.

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 22nd, 2020 at 9:30 am

      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!

  21. Vinod Jose
    7.16.2020

    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.

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 17th, 2020 at 9:22 am

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

  22. Danny
    7.15.2020

    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?

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 17th, 2020 at 9:25 am

      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!

  23. Michael Martins
    7.11.2020

    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

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 14th, 2020 at 3:31 pm

      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!

  24. Mariam Saeed
    7.8.2020

    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.

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 8th, 2020 at 8:58 am

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

  25. emelina geurgin
    6.25.2020

    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

  26. Vlad
    6.24.2020

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

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 26th, 2020 at 10:16 am

      Happy to help!

  27. Ishita Gupta
    6.4.2020

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

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 5th, 2020 at 8:05 am

      Let me know how it works out :)

  28. deanbutt
    5.15.2020

    Awesome information. Thank you for sharing.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 15th, 2020 at 6:47 am

      No problem :)

  29. Noor
    4.25.2020

    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.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 28th, 2020 at 6:06 am

      Great news! There’s plenty more on its way.

  30. Carl
    4.24.2020

    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…

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 25th, 2020 at 11:29 pm

      No problem Carl

  31. Paulo Surya
    4.23.2020

    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

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 24th, 2020 at 5:16 am

      Glad you found this post then Paulo! Hope it proves helpful.

  32. Aksara
    4.23.2020

    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 :D

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 24th, 2020 at 5:18 am

      Make sure you add it to the list :)

  33. Shishir
    4.21.2020

    Very valuable information

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 22nd, 2020 at 9:22 am

      Thanks :)

  34. Thomas Joyce
    4.10.2020

    Thank you so much for sharing these methods. I will definitely use these methods.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 11th, 2020 at 1:47 am

      Glad to hear it. Let me know how you get on Thomas.

  35. ken moo
    3.21.2020

    Wow, this is cool! Really refreshing to learn since most blogs are regurgitating the same thing

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 24th, 2020 at 6:04 am

      Cheers Ken! Keep an eye out for more tips like this :)

  36. Scott
    3.19.2020

    Awesome video Matthew.

    We are building a new website for my photography business. Timing is perfect

    Thank you

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 21st, 2020 at 4:42 am

      Brill, thanks Scott and good luck!

  37. Dino Adnan
    3.18.2020

    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!

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 19th, 2020 at 6:12 am

      Haha, let me know how you get on with it Dino!

  38. Tess
    3.18.2020

    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.

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 19th, 2020 at 6:13 am

      No problem Tess :)

  39. Arinze Ewuzie
    3.17.2020

    Splendid….thanks for this info

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 19th, 2020 at 6:20 am

      No problem Arinze! Hope it helps :)

  40. Short Scary Stories
    3.17.2020

    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.

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 19th, 2020 at 6:17 am

      No problem!

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