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I have a feature that allows users to "pin" images to their profile. Much like how Pinterest allows you to browse and pin images to boards.

When pinning, the user has the option to enter a name for the image and include tags (for filtering / categorization). For example, a car image can be named as "Chevrolet", with the tags "luxury", "racing".

Does allowing users to add tags and enter a name for the image affect SEO? Why and why not?

  • Much depends upon your code. Can you provide an example? Or is it just an image link like any other image link? Cheers!! – closetnoc Dec 28 '16 at 19:41
  • It is an image link like any other. So the user saved the image to their profile. I don't have code, this is still being designed and this question came up. So if image name and tags can benefit SEO, what steps should I take to make sure it does? – Nicolas Hung Dec 28 '16 at 20:35
  • It would provide little benefit. Much of the benefit would depend upon the URL, image file name, and alt text. It is best to give as many semantic clues as possible. Most of where image links are beneficial are in image search. For text search, they benefit most within content and not within the header, footer, sidebar, or any other templated content such as an authors signature, though the authors signature may benefit almost as much as content since these are recognized as being somewhat important. Cheers!! – closetnoc Dec 28 '16 at 20:51
  • How would Google know whether or something is user contributed? – Stephen Ostermiller Dec 29 '16 at 3:02
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As always, it depends. You give your users pretty much permissions - this causes responsibility in form of constant surveillance.

I see some causes to dispense with user generated content in the form you describe. The causes are i. e.:

  • User could upload images containing malware,
  • User could upload child porn,
  • User could upload images causing DMCA to your site,
  • User could add tags not matching content,
  • User could add redundant tags, as duplicate of existing tags, just in different spelling,

Even if everything goes OK, you'll be forced to set all of your tag pages as noindex, because such pages would display same images in slightly different sorting and generate nearly duplicated content.

The optimal SEO-minded way would be imho:

  • instead of tags use categories, where images would be displayed in unique order,
  • !!! don't publish images uploaded by users automatically !!!. Firstly look at images, check, whether images and image names given by users are OK. Then apply meaningful alt tags, sort images into correct category and publish.
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The simple answer is yes. Every tag or detail adds to the available information for the image. This will help the search engines further describe the image.

However, just like the posts above, manually approve added content for security purposes.

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