Google posted a video the other day of Matt Cutts (Head Guy In Charge of Spam) where the question was posed, “Will using stock images impact search engine rankings?” The answer was short and to the point. “no.”
Matt’s answer has long been known in the Design/SEO community and using stock images from companies like Shutterstock or Corbis is not only ok, but encouraged to enhance the appearance of your website design. However, what will impact rankings, is when go to Google, type in, “law firm” and click images, then start putting those images on your site, this will have more than just an impact on rankings, it will also impact your bank account as you are leaving yourself open to a lawsuit.
With all of that being said, there is an inbound marketing angle you have to look at when thinking about what photos to put on your website. Potential customers or clients are looking to see if you are real, they are looking to see who you are. This is why we recommend clients either providing us with images of the business and surrounding areas, or we can recommend a local photographer to come in and take a few pictures that we will use on the site. If you happen to be a home based business servicing the area, take pictures of that area, grab a picture or two of you on site with a client, this will work too.
So rankings aside, when a visitor arrives at your site, you are looking to install a level of trust, posting images of your business and the people the potential customer will be working with is the first step towards establishing a B2C or B2B relationship.