The Hidden SEO Ranking Factor You’re Probably Deleting

Are You Using Blacklisted Backlinks? Check Now

I wanted to test a hidden ranking signal that not many people talk about.

So last year I built a series of sites to see if embedding hidden image exif data into images affects rankings…

…and I’ve been able to answer that question with quite some success-

YouTube video

Are You Deleting This Data Accidentally?

If you’ve being following traditional image SEO advice and tools like Google’s page speed insights that tell you to compress your images…

google page speed advice removes this data

…it’s likely you’ve installed a plugin like WP Smush, Shortpixel or Imagify.

The problem with that, is these plugins often strip this valuable hidden exif data when optimizing images to reduce image size-

Image SEO is for optimizing images beyond just alt text

So if you have being following traditional image SEO & site speed advice.

You might want to take a closer look to make sure you’re not stripping out this hidden image SEO benefit accidentally.

How To Add Exif Data To Your Images

Luckily for us adding exif data to images is both quick and free!

All you have to do is go to and upload an image-

exif setup 1

Then click on the little blue “” button.

That will open a popup that allows you to edit all of the image exif data to your hearts content-

image exif setup 2

I like to play around with the following fields-

Exif General Tab

  • Artist
  • OwnerName
  • Copyright
  • ImageDescription
  • UserComment

IPTC Tags Tab

  • By-line
  • By-lineTitle
  • CopyrightNotice
  • Writer-Editor
  • Keywords
  • ObjectName
  • Headline
  • Caption-Abstract

XMP Tags Tab

  • Creator
  • Rights
  • Title
  • Description
  • Rating
  • Label
  • Headline

Once you are done:

You can just click the blue Go.eXifing button here-

save file

It will take a little moment to process the image…

…then you should see a green message like this one at the top of the page-

exif saved

Now just close the editor…

…and download the final image-

download image

Then upload it to your site and insert it into a piece of content.


You should also double check that the hidden image exif data you just added isn’t getting stripped out automatically.

How To Check For Hidden Image Exif Data

If you are following this process for the first time, I highly recommend you double check everything.

First get the current public facing live URL of your image and save a copy of it.
(or save this sample image)

Then head over to and upload the image.

This will reveal all of the embedded exif data-

viewing image exif data

If you do not see the data you added here, then it’s likely the data is being stripped out.

Double check the settings of plugins like Shortpixel, Imagify or WPSmush and even some CDN‘s like CloudFlare Polish will strip this data out.

Fix whatever the problem is then re-upload the image again and repeat the test.

Wrapping It Up

So, does embedded image exif data influence rankings?

Yeah it seems so!

But if you’ve being following most traditional SEO advice, it’s likely you are stripping out this hidden image SEO advantage unknowingly.

So make sure you are paying close attention!

What do you think about using hidden image exif data as a ranking factor?

search logistics

141 Responses

  1. Surbhi

    I am new to your site…i have doubt is this really working?

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 7th, 2022 at 8:34 am

      Only one way to find out… try it!

  2. Michel Gomide

    great content, congratulations. The question is, is this tactic still effective today 2022?

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 19th, 2022 at 10:15 am

      The best way to find out is to try it!

  3. Chloe

    Hi Matthew, great post! Do I need to do this for all of my images in a single blog post? Or just the main image?


    • Matthew Woodward
      July 1st, 2022 at 8:33 am

      Hi Chloe. It would be best if you did it for all your images.

  4. Atrium Academy

    Well informative blog

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 6th, 2022 at 7:08 am

      Thanks :)


    Thanks for the post. I just have a quick question. Does it mean that we should not use the WP smush or other image optimization plugins on WordPress?.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 27th, 2022 at 9:11 am

      No, you can still use those plugins

  6. Chirag

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I hadn’t heard this before.

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 21st, 2022 at 8:05 am

      Glad you learned something new! Cheers :)

  7. John Ravi

    Hi Matthew,

    Great post! I did not know about this, and I feel I am making this mistake. Thanks a lot for bringing my attention to this mistake, I will fix it as soon as possible. I am extremely grateful for you putting this post, it will help a lot of people who are making the same mistake. I will also be sharing this resource in my network to help them out. I appreciate you taking the time and curating this article.

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 29th, 2021 at 9:46 am

      Please, if you try this, let me know if it works for you!

  8. Denny

    Hi, Matthew Woodward

    I’m really impressed with your blog. It was informative. Moreover, how precisely you have described the topic. I will eagerly wait for more and more creatives from you.

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 3rd, 2021 at 9:04 am

      Glad it was helpful. Cheers Denny :)

  9. Harsh

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful blog. Keep sharing more infromation,

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 13th, 2021 at 8:43 am

      Thank you for reading!

  10. Yourstore

    Great blog

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 29th, 2021 at 8:40 am


  11. Saisha

    Good blog

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 27th, 2021 at 10:40 am

      Thanks :)

  12. Yourstore27

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful blog
    Keep posting

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 13th, 2021 at 10:16 am

      Cheers :)

  13. majid ghiasi

    very great, i really enjoy visiting your site

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 19th, 2021 at 5:21 pm

      Glad to hear that, thanks!

  14. Garden decor

    Great Article. Thank you so much for typing these awesome words for us. I read your blogs which you posted recently, Blogs are too interesting and I will also connect with your blogs in future. Thanks again for this fantastic sharing 

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 7th, 2021 at 7:48 am

      Thank you- Glad it was helpful!

  15. Bob

    such a piece of amazing information. keep it up.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 24th, 2021 at 7:57 am

      Thanks, Bob- Cheers!

  16. Sheharyar Riaz

    Thank you so much Matthew for sharing such nice articles.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 19th, 2021 at 1:36 pm

      No worries! Always happy to share my tips with my readers!

  17. Sehrish

    Mathew you are great man, keep posting such an amazing content.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 19th, 2021 at 1:44 pm

      Don’t worry, I’ll!

  18. Peter Patrick

    Great post shared by you…. It was great experience at your post and thanks for sharing with us.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 17th, 2021 at 8:05 am

      No problem, Peter!

  19. BOB

    Thank you for posting such a nice article.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 12th, 2021 at 8:45 am

      No worries! More cases studies are coming!

  20. BOB

    This is a great post.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 7th, 2021 at 8:28 am

      Thank you!

  21. simran

    very informative…

  22. Ivan

    Interesting. This may be the reason why ecommerce sites with better images tend to perform way better.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 14th, 2021 at 9:17 am

      This was my guess as well!

  23. Abhijit

    Good list of SEO factors, I like all of your blogs, Matthew sir I’m a learner and I request you to have a complete detailed guide on Local SEO, how to optimize and rank Local listing for atleast 5 keywords. I’m confused and seek help from you to get smart SEO tips.

  24. Syspoly

    This information is very useful.

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 22nd, 2021 at 9:24 am

      Thanks! Cheers!

  25. abhishek rathore

    SEO is one of the most important parts of your blog thanks for this information

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 10th, 2021 at 8:30 am

      No problem!

  26. Abhijit

    I really like the way you put content, simplified, straight and conextual. Thank you Matthew sir!

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 5th, 2021 at 8:47 am

      Glad to hear that, thank you!

  27. Abhijit

    Thank you for sharing this advance SEO tips.

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 3rd, 2021 at 8:56 am

      No problem!

  28. Josephine Martin

    very nice blog and i want to tell you thanks

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 19th, 2021 at 11:17 am

      No worries, Josephine!

  29. Mike John

    Thanks for the great content. Please share some tips on increasing traffic to an affiliate blog.

  30. Sam Nag

    Thank you for share your wonderful thoughts.

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 20th, 2021 at 9:28 am

      No problem, Sam! Always happy to help

  31. newscast

    Much thanks to you to such an extent! I just took a gander at my pictures and understood a ton of this data isn’t there. I don’t have the foggiest idea why I didn’t think about this since I do it for my mp3’s in my webcast.

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 30th, 2020 at 10:42 am

      No problem! It’s an easy fix anyway :)


    thanks for this info

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 14th, 2020 at 9:48 am


  33. Webindia Master


    Thanks for sharing such an informative and helpful content, I learnt something new and unique.

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 23rd, 2020 at 12:31 pm

      Glad to hear that! Keep it up!

  34. Lisa Manderino

    If you were to do this would be it sufficient to just do the cover image on a blog page or should you do this for every image?

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 20th, 2020 at 9:46 am

      If you really want to see results you should apply this to every image on your blog.

    • rodiw
      December 1st, 2020 at 4:19 am

      it is very good blog.

  35. maulik shah

    Thanks for sharing this blog, very informative.

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 18th, 2020 at 11:37 am

      No problem, Maulik :)

  36. Greytics

    Thank you so much for this valuable information, it helps me a lot. I will keep all these points now.

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 4th, 2020 at 9:30 am

      That seems to be a good idea ;)
      Let me know how it goes for you!

  37. Jiwan

    great post Matthew, it would more help me to optimize my post image…hope get good ranking

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 29th, 2020 at 9:21 am

      Thanks – Hope it helps, Jiwan!

  38. sanu kumar

    Hey Matthew

    Thanks for sharing this valuable stuff. Hats off.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 23rd, 2020 at 10:14 am

      No problem Sanu – Hope it helps!

  39. Imagesday

    Nice article good information keep it up

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 21st, 2020 at 9:12 am


  40. Victory

    This is quite helpful to me, Matthew.

    Thanks for sharing this for free, it means a lot. Let ne get on working then.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 16th, 2020 at 9:49 am

      No problem! Good luck!

  41. AvtarSingh

    article is grateful and very beneficial to listen

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 16th, 2020 at 10:04 am

      I am glad it helped!

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  43. alisbha khan

    I love this article its great

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 9th, 2020 at 9:46 am

      Thank you!

  44. Loreal Fernandes

    Thanks Mathew for sharing such a wonderful article. It had solve my purpose. Keep updating such valuable post.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 9th, 2020 at 9:53 am

      Thank you, Loreal! Don’t worry, I will!

  45. josh

    It seems that the site no longer works, any alternatives?

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 9th, 2020 at 9:47 am

      Hey Josh – Which sie?


    Thank you for this wonderful post.Interesting article.It is really important useful of this content.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 2nd, 2020 at 9:14 am


  47. Dianahost

    The pleasant idea of data about computerized advertising on the web (or) disconnected both. I might want the think about in subtleties of web-based promoting focuses. A debt of gratitude is in order for data.

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  49. Cristian

    Brilliant! Thank you for this information. Great post. Keep up the good work.

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 12th, 2020 at 12:31 pm

      Thank you, Cristian! Glad you found it useful!

  50. janet tompson

    What about of image seo when you are listing eCommerce product?

  51. oluwaseun adeniji

    This post just gave me an insight into what i have been taking for granted since i started my blog. Does this really affect automotive site since some articles might not really require images. Is image optimization a must-have for a site to rank well?

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 24th, 2020 at 10:17 am

      Well, if your posts/articles don’t need images, then don’t force it. It doesn’t worth it.
      But, if you do have to insert an image, then you should consider ‘exif data’. It’ll give you a little push to rank.

  52. Paul Tansley

    Interesting post. As a photographer, it’s become norm to strip this stuff out, to reduce file sizes, as we have a lot of images on each page often. Looks like I might have to change that way of working. Thx.

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 22nd, 2020 at 9:30 am

      Hey Paul,
      Underestimated “exif data” is a very common mistake, don’t worry.
      Just give it a try and see if you get any positive results!
      Let us know!

  53. Vinod Jose

    This is the first time I happened to read that “image exif data” is important. I used to be just content with Image file name and ALT. I am definitely going to implement your inputs.

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 17th, 2020 at 9:22 am

      Great! Try it and tell me if you get any positive results!
      Would love to hear your feedback!

  54. Danny

    Surely you can just right click the image on your pc and add exif data – apply – save.

    That’s what I do. Surely its the same?

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 17th, 2020 at 9:25 am

      There are different methods to do it.
      It doesn’t really matter how you do it, the only thing is to put the right info in the right place!

  55. Michael Martins

    Hey Matt. Awesome should be your middle name. Thanks for this I am definitely implementing it. But I am a bit confused about where in the image details to place the keywords I intend to rank for. Please shed some light on that, thanks

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 14th, 2020 at 3:31 pm

      Hey Michael. It’s all written in the article, you just have to follow the process and you’ll see.
      But, to answer you, it should be in the “IPTC Tags Tab”.
      Good luck!

  56. Mariam Saeed

    Hey I don’t know how you do it @Matthew Yet another brilliant and informative guide. Always love your content. Thanks for sharing keep writing these type of articles and help people to get more knowledge.

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 8th, 2020 at 8:58 am

      Hey Mariam! I’m glad you like my content!
      I really enjoy sharing my experience and knowledge with my readers!

  57. emelina geurgin

    Nice concept of information about digital marketing online (or) offline both. I would like the know about in details of online marketing points. Thanks for information

  58. Vlad

    Hey, thanks a lot for this hidden ranking factor! I will start to implement this still from my next blog post!

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 26th, 2020 at 10:16 am

      Happy to help!

  59. Ishita Gupta

    Hi. thanks a lot for the helpful tips. you make it sound ‘doable’ so i’ll go right ahead and try them out!

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 5th, 2020 at 8:05 am

      Let me know how it works out :)

  60. deanbutt

    Awesome information. Thank you for sharing.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 15th, 2020 at 6:47 am

      No problem :)

  61. Noor

    Thanks, Matthew,
    I’m going to drop my appreciation, you are really doing a great job. Each time I got an email notification from your site, I learn something new and unique.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 28th, 2020 at 6:06 am

      Great news! There’s plenty more on its way.

  62. Carl

    Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

    I checked in Photoshop what’s hidden in the images… It ranged from nothing when saving with tinypng to EVERYTHING… including the layers/folders to where I had saved the file previously thus exposing my name… gotta love Photoshop…

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 25th, 2020 at 11:29 pm

      No problem Carl

  63. Paulo Surya

    All of my sites are missing this data and probably missing out on important SEO points.

    Thank you for always sharing relevant SEO content.

    I always follow your posts, read everything and apply when possible, improving my results.

    Thanks for everything

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 24th, 2020 at 5:16 am

      Glad you found this post then Paulo! Hope it proves helpful.

  64. Aksara

    I’ve Been following image optimization for most of my sites and this one is not definitely on my list. Thanks for the amazing video and write up :D

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 24th, 2020 at 5:18 am

      Make sure you add it to the list :)

  65. Shishir

    Very valuable information

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 22nd, 2020 at 9:22 am

      Thanks :)

  66. Thomas Joyce

    Thank you so much for sharing these methods. I will definitely use these methods.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 11th, 2020 at 1:47 am

      Glad to hear it. Let me know how you get on Thomas.

  67. ken moo

    Wow, this is cool! Really refreshing to learn since most blogs are regurgitating the same thing

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 24th, 2020 at 6:04 am

      Cheers Ken! Keep an eye out for more tips like this :)

  68. Scott

    Awesome video Matthew.

    We are building a new website for my photography business. Timing is perfect

    Thank you

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 21st, 2020 at 4:42 am

      Brill, thanks Scott and good luck!

  69. Dino Adnan

    OMG! How come i didn’t think about this befor! That the expression when I read this article. I will obviously try this valuable tips for my articles and blog. Thank you for the great article!

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 19th, 2020 at 6:12 am

      Haha, let me know how you get on with it Dino!

  70. Tess

    This is a great post. I have been using for GMB image optimisation but hadn’t thought it made a difference in organic results. Thanks for an excellent post.

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 19th, 2020 at 6:13 am

      No problem Tess :)

  71. Arinze Ewuzie

    Splendid….thanks for this info

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 19th, 2020 at 6:20 am

      No problem Arinze! Hope it helps :)

  72. Short Scary Stories

    Thank you so much! I just looked at my images and realized a lot of this info isn’t there. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this because I do it for my mp3’s in my podcast.

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 19th, 2020 at 6:17 am

      No problem!

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