Photo metadata and controlled vocabularies guru, David Riecks has written an article on why search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo ignore embedded metadata and, as such, advice that you might read about including it for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) purposes is essentially wrong:
“It is possible to read metadata that is contained in images on the web. There are online services — like the one built by Jeffery Friedl that leverages Phil Harvey’s ExifTool — which can show you all sorts of information in your image files, including GPS. However, from the tests I’ve conducted, there is no evidence that the various embedded metadata schemas (IPTC, XMP, and Exif) are used by the major search engines (ie Google, Bing, and Yahoo). It is possible that they may be reading this information, but so far there is no reason to assume that it is being used, even if it is part of their algorithm.” [Read More]
David does point out that embedding metadata is still good practice for copyright protection reasons. Also, as semantic web based search systems gain in popularity and search engines are able to identify better signals of trust from embedded metadata that are harder to manipulate then it may increase in significance.
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