I got a quick question and would love to know your opinion. I develop a CMS that in it's large part is very SEO-centric with many features that allow to control various individual parts of a web page.

For example a web page can have a nice slug (url alias), page title override (other than content title in the CMS), text before footer, after footer, intro text, h1 tag, etc...

Also image file names can be renamed to something more meaningful than a GUID, ID, etc. The CMS also allows me to enter an "alt" and "title" tag (to display as a short image description in a tooltip, enter "tags" for CMS/internal use)

Question is - do you think there would be sense in actually embedding "keywords" and other useful info within each/some uploaded image's EXIF metadata ? Any SEO advantage over just a nice image name and an "alt" tag.. ?

If we're trying to beat our competition SEO-wise, really hard with every possible aspect - why not embed additional keywords metadata on images ?

2 Answers 2


Dennis: If you want to make your CMS the best of the "next generation" IMHO, you'd be better off supporting and preserving metadata standards that are used for describing images such as IPTC-IIM and XMP rather than just Exif.

See my article, "Why Embedded Photo Metadata Won't Help Your SEO (at least without some help)" http://www.controlledvocabulary.com/blog/embedded-metadata-wont-help-seo.html for details about those standards and what can be done.

In order to make keywords (as well as captions) more useful for SEO, they need to be extracted from the images and "exposed" so that they are visible as text on the pages where the images appear. As another post noted, you could also include these as "Alt" or "title" tags for the images as well, but visible text on the page seems to carry more weight in the search algorithms at present.



Not currently, no. EXIF is a binary format, so embedding your own keywords in the EXIF headers will only result in some additional binary in the image file, which (AFAIK) no search engine currently parses for indexing. Whether you want to start embedding keywords now, in anticipation of this feature from search engines is up to you.

I see limitation to the practicality of indexing against image metadata. Obviously EXIF metadata is embedded in the image, so if the same image is copied across different sites without modifying the EXIF the veracity of EXIF tags is weakened, which would probably cause search engines to respond by devaluing EXIF metadata where it doesn't match site tags, and then what's the point really?

  • Thank you for your answer, your last comment re:copying the image without modifying the EXIF across other sites makes sense. Here I found a link that is discussing the topic: labnol.org/tech/google-images-reading-exif-data/14211 but there also is a good point in the fact that not only keywords are useful (which I guess could be linked to your sites context anyway) but additional extended metadata such as geo tagging to determine location relevancy. So it is still an open question - what do you think... ? Commented Jan 24, 2011 at 13:44
  • oh and possibly you could include the original source URL (as a field in exif) the only source that would get credit (in case of copying to many places) - just as a possible remedy to this .. ? :) Commented Jan 24, 2011 at 13:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.