Can Google read embedded text in images? Most experts agree that Google can and probably does read what is embedded in photos. In this article I’m going to investigate and answer that question.
Some say that search engines, like Google, do not take into account embedded text in photos and that the practice of embedding text in photos is generally a bad idea.
It is known that Google is making significant efforts in the area of image recognition technology, so it’s hard to believe that photo-embedded text is not something they are interested in.
What Google Can Read in an Image
By using Google Lens we can better understand what Google can read and understand in an image.
In the image below, which is the YouTube thumbnail for the video, you can see that Google Lens has identified three objects: watch, person, packaged goods. Not all of these objects were identified correctly, but we are more interested in what Google can read.
When the Text tab is clicked we can see that Google recognizes the title and even the letters “SEO” on the computer screen in the image. So, we know that Google can read clear text embedded in an image.
Should We care About Images Being Read by Google?
We know that Google can read text in images, so what are they going to do with that information? Can they use the information gathered from the photo to rank the page that its on higher? They certainly could, we just don’t know if they are or how much of a ranking factor it is.
Analyzing Images from a Website
Let’s look at some images from a location page for a carpet cleaning company.
This company is located in Largo FL and they want to rank in St. Petersburg FL by creating a location page. In the screenshot below you can see they have a photo of a man with a cap that have the name of the business and behind him a sign that reads “Saint Petersburg.” What they are doing is showing Google that they are doing business in that city even though they don’t have a physical presence there.
Further down the page we see two more images with the company van in front of Saint Petersburg landmarks. This offers further proof to Google that they are doing business in that city. These images could make a difference in ranking that page for their intended location.
This is a clever way you can use images on your website and Google My Business (now called Google Business Profile) to influence search engine rankings; and yes, I do believe text in images can improve your SEO if done correctly.
If you need help with your online presence, contact Blue Lacy SEO.