Geotagging is not new. It’s been practiced in website development for over a decade now.
However, not all business owners know how to utilize geotagging to boost their search engine optimization game.
In this article, we will discuss the importance of geotagging and how to do it.
What Is Geotagging?
Geotagging is the process of linking geographical coordinates to your images, videos, website, or any social media content that can be found online.
This way, location-specific data can be embedded into a website to help users and search engines know the geographical location of a site.
Why Should You Geotag A Photo?
As we are now living in the information age, geotagging has moved from being a novelty to a necessity. People are now searching for information from their mobile devices.
To give you more relevant and accurate results, web search engines factor the person’s current location into the search results they deliver.
So, if you don’t have good, clear, tagged photos on your website, your business won’t come up in an image search. Meanwhile, geotagged photos will appear at the top of the local search results page.
This strategy is crucial in increasing your digital presence.
How To Geotag Photos For SEO?
To dramatically improve your chances of ranking higher in local search results and getting the click-throughs and sales leads you need, you can geotag the photos on your website by doing the following:
Use Photo Sharing Services
To easily geocode an image, you can use image sharing services such as Picasa, Panoramio, or Flickr.
These services allow you to upload photos, add titles, descriptions/captions, tags, and associate images with locations by dragging them over a map.
The longitude and latitude geo-coordinates associated with the map location are then taken and stored with the image’s information.
The syndicated feeds of the images from these services will be read by Google Maps and use the geo-coordinates to pinpoint them in the images layer in Maps.
You may either leverage the hosting through the image-sharing service and then display the images on your site or link to your site from the image-sharing service’s pages. Both are effective in increasing your local search signal.
Use GPS-Enabled Cameras And EXIF Data
The most straightforward way to geotag is by using a GPS-enabled camera in taking the photos that will be uploaded in photo-sharing services and used for your page.
GPS-enabled cameras store geo-coordinates in the image file’s EXIF (Exchangeable Image File Format) data. It contains information about the image such as date, time, geolocation, color profile, and type of camera used to take the photo.
From the EXIF, photo sharing services will read out the geolocation and translate it into geo coordinates when mapping the image.
Use An Image Sitemap
You may also opt to geotag your photos by storing them directly on your website and then adding an image sitemap file.
Search engines receive metadata regarding the photos embedded on your website through the image sitemap.
Although how Google utilizes the geolocation info from image sitemaps is still unclear, it appears to be mainly geared towards enabling Google’s Image Search to find and rank pictures.
It only affects the relevance of the image to a query, given the geolocation of the searcher or if local qualifiers like city name are included in the query.
So, you could include specific street addresses or even geo-coordinates into the image sitemap for more precise pinpointing.
Embed Image Location Data Manually
To manually geotag your photos, you can use an EXIF editor and embed the longitude and latitude coordinates into it.
One of the programs you can use in editing the photo’s EXIF data is Exifer.
Although it hasn’t been updated since 2002, chances are it will still work on your system. This is also a method you could use to upload with Panoramio, Picasa, or Flickr once it’s geocoded.
For ease of mapping images, enable settings to allow automatic mapping of geocoded photos once loaded. It will then be spidered and made available via Google Maps.
But make sure that the image upload service you use does not make any mistakes reading the coordinate pair to avoid displaying incorrect locations on a map.
Flickr and Picasa also generate map interfaces and EXIF content pages wherein you can check the image’s mapped location.
In terms of optimization, embedding the geolocation in the EXIF part of the image file is the best route to take. It allows you to connect your images with maps through image sharing services and allow images to be stored on your website.
This helps location data in augmenting further all the other basic local SEO methods you’re using.
Schema.Org As A Geocoding Technique
Using schema.org is an image geocoding technique that allows you to tag individual images on your web pages using Micro Data. This method allows you to use the ImageObject type and embed a content location property within it to specify the place.
This method certainly has its advantages. However, it is still too early to effectively leverage. Likely, the location content is not yet being absorbed by Google’s Image Search, Google Maps, or other search engines.
It is promising though. So, we can expect that schema.org can become a de facto standard along with embedded geolocation in EXIF data soon.
Which Method Is the Best?
Ultimately, you can get more local search benefits from uploading geocoded images to image sharing services mentioned in this article as these are well-integrated with Google Maps.
But as cameras, phones, and gadgets become more advanced, location data are easily integrated into image files. This kind of information can also be easily harvested and utilized in local search ranking evaluations regardless of its storage location on the internet.
Get Help From The Pros
One thing is for certain though – hiring a reliable and knowledgeable SEO marketing expert is the best way to boost your business’s SEO. They can help you give your website an overhaul or a facelift with new photos that contain important metadata or geotagging information.
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Big Easy SEO is a web design, SEO, and digital marketing agency that strives to help small to medium-sized businesses boost their brand in the online market and search engines.