Long ago, we discussed how you can use images to score points in SEO (search engine optimization). Since then, things have changed. However, just because the online marketing world has moved does not mean that it will impact your law firm, and we think that this is the case with the recent developments in image SEO.
Google’s “View Image” Button
The recent developments in image SEO all go back to Google’s “view image” button.
Back in the year 2012, whenever you did a Google Image search and clicked on one of the pictures in the results page, you would have to visit the website to see the image file.
In January, 2013, Google decided that its users would rather have access to the image quickly, and without stepping foot into the website’s domain. So Google added a button in the results page that allowed users to do just that.
Web traffic from Google Image searches plummeted approximately 60% in the days following the addition of the “view image” button. Websites that had large amounts of images—and who relied on those for web traffic and, through all of that traffic, their high ranking in the results page—suffered.
Getty Images sued, and in February 2018, Google removed its “view image” button as a part of the lawsuit’s settlement.
For those asking, yes, these changes came about in part due to our settlement with Getty Images this week (see also https://t.co/a5uFldOcih). They are designed to strike a balance between serving user needs and publisher concerns, both stakeholders we value.
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) February 15, 2018
Since the button was removed, websites have experienced a significant uptick in web traffic from Google Images searches.
What This Means for Your Law Firm
Pretty much nothing.
Removing the “view image” button really only helped websites that derive much, if not most, of their web traffic from people using search engines to find a picture.
That is rarely the case with law firms.
You can find out if your law firm’s website is one of the exceptions to this rule by looking through your web traffic metrics and finding out where your viewers are coming from. We’d be surprised if more than 5% of them came to your site from Google Image searches, because that’s just not how people look for attorneys.
Red Herrings Aren’t Just for Law School Exams
This is just another development in the search engine marketing front that will only have tiny and tangential relation to the legal marketing field.
Unfortunately, attorneys are typically too concerned with the legal field—their chosen profession—to have the time, energy, and knowledge base to see through what seem to be major developments in the online marketing world like this one, and realize that they can just relax and carry on.
That is why having professional online legal marketers like the legal bloggers at Myers Freelance can be a huge help to your firm. By hiring our team to write and maintain your legal blog, you also get access to our marketing knowledge and expertise, which can be what it takes to avoid spending time and money chasing a red herring down a rabbit hole.
Does This Mean that Images are Useless for SEO?
Just because your law firm’s website is not bringing in visitors from Google Image searches does not mean that you should skip on pictures for your legal blog, landing pages, or website. Your images can still score SEO points by sending signals to search engines about your site’s content using alt tags and image titles. Additionally, once a viewer is on your site (and even if you’re just using stock photos) images go great lengths to keeping them interested and entertained, and also grant your website the credibility that you need to convince them to call your firm and hire you.