Why You Should Geotag Images For Local SEO 

Geotagging can improve the search engine ranking for location-specific websites and businesses. Geotagging refers to the process of adding geographical metadata to various media such as a geotagged image or video. This metadata usually consists of latitude and longitude coordinates, though it can also include other information like altitude, distance, accuracy data, place names, and more. 

Geotagging isn’t new. It’s been around in website development for well over a decade. Its importance, however, is growing and is becoming a necessary component of local SEO. As more potential customers search for information from their mobile devices, search engines are factoring the person’s current location into the search results they deliver.

“Geo” means a single point or a single location. Wherever you are on the planet, there’s a specific geo-location coordinate that places you on the earth. Geotagging relies on a computer representation of address points, the street/road network, together with postal and administrative boundaries.

When used for local SEO purposes, Geotagging defines a specific point of where your business is located. The “tag” part refers to embedding the geo or location-identifying information into the image itself.  

Incorporating Images into Your Overall Content Mix For SEO

Incorporating images as part of your overall content mix is a good idea for search optimization in and of itself. Images can provide additional opportunities for keyword signals on a page, and they represent good opportunities for ranking in search results under Universal Search. If the images are also associated with places properly, they can convey additional location signals, helping your business and/or website to be considered even more relevant for local searches.

Not ranking as highly in search engine results means that potential customers may never see your business online. The number one site from an online search has a 31.52% click-through rating. The percentage drops dramatically as you move through the top five site results, dropping to less than 2 percent click-through rate by number 8 on the results.

In addition to ranking, one must also consider conversion. According to Google, 90% of customers are more likely to visit a business with images and video. (Check out these staggering video marketing statistics). Having a local SEO strategy and process around photos and videos only makes good sense.

Local SEO, Geo-specific SEO or Geo-targeted SEO 

The major SEO value of optimizing and geotagging images is that it gives power to the relevancy of the location of the business you are trying to rank for – otherwise known as local SEO, geo-specific SEO or geo-targeted SEO. An example would be a file name with a city plus keyword such as this example: Seattle (city) commercial cleaning company (keyword). 

An optimized file name is the first step in ensuring that Google and other search engines know your image is related to a particular geographical location. And just as an appropriate file name will help identify your image as being relevant to local searches, so too will embedded alt text that includes a target keyword and location name. 

Geotagging gives Google very specific and reliable information and the more information Google has about your business, the more confidence it has for ranking it for a specific keyword. Google looks at the consistency of your business name, address, and phone number across the citation listings on the web. When these are consistent, it gives your business relevancy.

Geotagging Images used for Google My Business  

Geotagging is essential for Google My Business (GMB) because each listing is based on an exact location and Google Maps. Google looks at the consistency of your business name, address, and phone number across the citation listings on the web. When these are consistent it gives your business relevancy. 

If you currently have a Google My Business listing with existing images that are not optimized, it would be in your best interest to download those images, rename them with keywords (example:  janitorial company-Tacoma.jpg” instead of ” floors-image-001.jpg” and geotag the image before re-uploading them to your GMB listing. This process may seem time-consuming but will be time well spent in the long run.

Embedding Geolocation in EXIF Data 

A technique for geotagging an image would be to use an EXIF editor and manually embed the longitude and latitude coordinates into it. There are several programs available that allow you to edit an image’s EXIF data. I personally use GeoImgr, an easy-to-use web tool for geotagging images. However, make sure that whatever image upload service you choose is correctly displaying the image’s location on a map and doesn’t make any mistakes reading the coordinates.  

The takeaway here is simple. You’ll get more local search ranking benefits from optimizing and geotagging your images. If you don’t have geotagging information on your website, you aren’t ranking as highly as your competitors who do.  

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