Do Pixabay Images Hurt SEO?

If you aren’t using your own pictures, do Pixabay images hurt the SEO of a WordPress site?

To help you determine whether or not to use Pixabay images on your site, we asked SEO experts and business leaders this question for their best insights. From images never being a smoking gun to websites being better off with their own images, there are several considerations for whether or not Pixabay images hurt SEO.

Here are eight considerations for using Pixabay images on WordPress:

  • Images Are Never a Smoking Gun When It Comes To SEO
  • High-Quality Images Are Worth It
  • Remember To Give Credit To Pixabay Creators
  • Focus on Name, Size, and Alt Tags
  • Stock Images May Convey Inauthenticity
  • Consider That it May Hurt Your Brand
  • Pixabay Images Don’t Help SEO
  • Any Website Is Better With Its Own Images


Images Are Never a Smoking Gun When It Comes To SEO

The majority of websites on the internet reuse images to different degrees and there is no evidence that stock or shared images have a negative effect on WordPress sites.  Yes, image relevance is a minor ranking factor, but that can be handled with proper alt tags. In my opinion, if you’re seeing a traffic or indexation drop in organic traffic, images are never the reason and should be pretty far down your “fix it” list if you can even find anything to improve.

Quincy Smith, ESL Authority


High-Quality Images Are Worth It

As long as you’re using high-quality Pixabay images, it shouldn’t hurt the SEO of your WordPress site. I suggest crediting the photographer by linking back to their site and not overdoing it in terms of how many images you use. But the pros outweigh the potential cons. Free, high-quality images can improve the visual appeal of your website, which can increase traffic and your conversion rate.

Melanie Bedwell, Olipop


Remember To Give Credit To Pixabay Creators 

There is some debate regarding the effects of using Pixabay stock images on a WordPress site. Some SEO experts believe that because Pixabay images are often widely used by multiple sites on the internet, using them on a WordPress site could result in duplicate content issues and therefore hurt the SEO of the site.

On the other hand, Pixabay can be a useful resource, especially for smaller sites, because it offers free stock images that anyone can use. As long as Pixabay images are not used excessively on a site and credit is given to the original creator, using them should not have a negative impact on the SEO of a site, as Google’s algorithm is unlikely to flag these images as duplicate content.

Ravi Rouvier, Markitors


Focus on Name, Size, and Alt Tags

While stock images don’t hurt the SEO of a WordPress site, they’re not a substitute for on-page SEO. If you don’t optimize the images you use, you could be leaving traffic on the table. Correcting course is a simple three-step process; first, rename the image to a keyword you’re looking to target. Google is more likely to recommend user-friendly image filenames, especially those containing descriptive and relevant keywords. Then, compress the image and convert it to a JPG for faster page load times. Google prioritizes fast-loading pages and penalizes slower ones.

Finally, write descriptive alt tags. Your alt tags contribute heavily towards your overall ranking in SERPs by aiding accessibility, offering context on what is being displayed, and allowing search engine crawlers to index your images accurately. These steps should improve your visibility in image search results and increase the visual appeal of your website, meaning that you can use Pixabay images without repercussion.

Patrick Casey, Felix


Stock Images May Convey Inauthenticity 

Whilst using stock images like those from Pixabay may not directly affect SEO, many users are looking for authenticity when searching online — this is especially prevalent in certain areas like product reviews. Having genuine imagery instead of stock photos could be the difference between someone reading through your entire article and bookmarking your site, or immediately clicking off when they know you haven’t actually tried and tested the product. If a user clicks through to your site and then clicks back to the search engine within seconds, this could have an effect on your search engine rankings.

Ted French, Content Plans


Consider That It May Hurt Your Brand

Pixabay (or any stock) images won’t hurt your SEO as long as you resize and rename them. However, they will hurt your brand. Stock images normally can’t tell as strong a story as photos specifically taken of your brand/product/service. If you can’t get your own photography, consider getting original illustrations done instead. On the Butter website, for example, we use stock images and videos to simulate video call participants, but otherwise, we use original illustrations and screen captures of our product.

Eric Doty, Butter


Pixabay Images Don’t Help SEO

No, Pixabay images don’t hurt the SEO of a WordPress site or any site. However, they don’t help your SEO. Page 1 results of Google are filled with content that says the exact same thing. Rarely do these page 1 results have unique images which drive the point home.

So much content out there is commodity content, everyone is writing content that’s based on page 1 search results. So the content is going to be similar. Unique images are a simple way to break away from the crowd and be heard by Google.

Zukais Mohammed, Aware Digital


Any Website Is Better With Its Own Images

Search engines are becoming smarter in understanding what a “low-quality” website looks like, and one of the easy ways to tell is if thin content is used alongside Pixabay or generic royalty-free images.

Using your own images is not only great for image SEO, but it also shows to search engines that you’re legitimate in that you actually have access to what you’re writing about e.g. if you’re writing product reviews, you actually have your own pictures of them.

Holly Lawton, Pearl Scan

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