For some time now, Google has had a “Search By Image” feature, which shows that the search giant has been able to look at the content of an image and compare it to others online. Combine this with Google’s famously strong stance on duplicate content and many have wondered if Google might be using that image detection tool to look for duplication among images and respond accordingly.
Well, Google through their head of search spam, Matt Cutts, responded to those questions. In a short video, he explained emphatically that using stock photos (or even duplicating photos repeatedly on the same site) does not impact your search engine ranking, negatively or positively.
While this question was put in the context of stock photos, the implications for photographers and artists clearly go beyond that. For example, if an infringer copies and posts a copy of a photo on their site, it doesn’t hurt the ranking of the original photographer and their site.
This is in stark contrast to text works, were Google very heavily seeks out original content and, unfortunately, sometimes mistakes infringers and plagiarists for original sites, demoting the actual authors of the work.
However, this doesn’t mean that the issue is settled either. Cutts mentioned in the video that it was “A great suggestion for the future”, hinting that this might be something Google could weigh in the future.
Right now though, it seems that visual artists are safe from the hazards that writers face to their search engine ranking when they are infringed.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the conversation ends there.Continue Reading