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Google Doesn’t Care What’s In An Image

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Google’s web search algorithm doesn’t care what’s in an image. All that matters is it’s marked up with the correct structured data.

Whether it’s an award-winning photograph, or a blank square, it’s all the same in terms of the SEO value it adds to the page.

This is discussed during the Search Central SEO hangout with Google’s John Mueller recorded on October 22.

A site owner named Andrew Sychev joins the Q&A to ask Mueller about using placeholder images in conjunction with lazy loading.

Sychev has his site set up to load images further down a page as grey squares until a visitor starts scrolling.

When a visitor gets closer to where the image is located on the page, the grey square is replaced with an actual photo.

This is done to improve page speed and to prevent a page from shifting around in a visitor’s browser, which may happen when a bunch of images are loaded all at once.

Since Googlebot doesn’t interact with web pages, and therefore won’t see the images, Sychev asks if there’s any harm in using this set up.

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While this question relates to using lazy loading as a way of improving cumulative layout shift (CLS), the answer given by Mueller applies to SEO in general.

Would using your own photos add more SEO value to a page than using generic stock images?

Can Google recognize when an image contains useful data, such as a chart or an infographic?

These are all questions that come up around images and web search— and here’s the answer.

Google’s John Mueller On Images & Web Search

As it relates specifically to web search, not image search, Google doesn’t care what’s in your photos.

Google’s only concerned about signals such as structured data and alt text.

That’s what’s important to web search as it can help Google understand the page better.

“I don’t think we care, to be quite honest. I don’t think for web search we look at the specific images on the page and say oh this is a nice image and this is a boring image.

We basically use those images in image search and that’s where we care what the content of the images care. But within web search we don’t really care if it’s a gray square or if it’s a picture of a beach.”

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To answer the original question, substituting images for grey squares in a lazy loading setup would be perfectly fine.

Mueller reiterates that structured data communicates all the information Google needs.

“It sounds okay. I think for the core web vital side, the CLS side, that’s something you can test where you try it in one way or the other way. With regards to indexing what is important is that we have information about the images on those pages.

So what you can do if you’re not sure if your lazy loading is recognized by Google is use the image structured data. On the pages themselves, give us the structured data for those images and then we can definitely pick that up.”

Keep in mind this information is applicable to Google’s web search algorithm only. What’s in an image does matter to the Google Images algorithm.

More important than that— it matters to visitors.

While Google may not care about the work you put into crafting the perfect graphic for a piece of content, your visitors will.

Images can impact how a person feels after consuming a piece of content. If the images made a difference to how much they enjoyed it, then they’re probably going to come back.

Hear Mueller’s full response in the video below.

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Featured Image: Beach Creatives/Shutterstock

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Google Workspace vs. Microsoft 365: What’s the best office suite for business?

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Google G Suite vs. Microsoft Office

Once upon a time, Microsoft Office ruled the business world. By the late ‘90s and early 2000s, Microsoft’s office suite had brushed aside rivals such as WordPerfect Office and Lotus SmartSuite, and there was no competition on the horizon.

Then in 2006 Google came along with Google Docs & Spreadsheets, a collaborative online word processing and spreadsheet duo that was combined with other business services to form the Google Apps suite, later rebranded as G Suite, and now as Google Workspace. Although Google’s productivity suite didn’t immediately take the business world by storm, over time it has gained both in features and in popularity, boasting 6 million paying customers, according to Google’s most recent public stats in March 2020.

Microsoft, meanwhile, has shifted its emphasis away from its traditional licensed Office software to Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365), a subscription-based version that’s treated more like a service, with frequent updates and new features. Microsoft 365 is what we’ve focused on in this story.

Nowadays, choosing an office suite isn’t as simple as it once was. We’re here to help.

Google Workspace vs. Microsoft 365

Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 have much in common. Both are subscription-based, charging businesses per-person fees every month, in varying tiers, depending on the capabilities their customers are looking for. Although Google Workspace is web-based, it has the capability to work offline as well. And while Microsoft 365 is based on installed desktop software, it also provides (less powerful) web-based versions of its applications.

Both suites work well with a range of devices. Because it’s web-based, Google Workspace works in most browsers on any operating system, and Google also offers mobile apps for Android and iOS. Microsoft provides Office client apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android, and its web-based apps work across browsers.

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