Can I Use Images from Google on My Website?

March 08, 2019    Reading Time: 2 Minutes

No.

When you’re viewing images on Google, that’s not a treasure trove of free images. These are images owned by others. Google obtains these images from other websites and shows them to you.

We had a customer who found an image online and used it on their website without our knowledge. A couple of years passed, and they got an email saying that they were using an image they didn’t have rights to and they were going to be sued unless they paid a fee.

The customer ultimately paid the fee, but it was very nerve racking. Plus, the image wasn’t unique. It could have been purchased on a stock website for a couple of dollars. Instead, the customer paid around $800 (plus, stress) to get out of this mess.

The lesson was simple. Only use photos you have rights to use. 

The best images to use in your marketing material are images you’ve taken. Photos of your leadership team, staff, equipment, buildings, etc. They work better.

Nothing speaks lazy more than a photo of a some random cheese-eating grin.

Sometimes, you need a photo and don’t have the resources to get that photo taken. In that case, make sure you avoid random people just smiling at a camera. Those are overblown and overused. Extremely generic.

Use photos that show people working if you need people in the photo. The photos need to be realistic. Not awkward. 

There are many stock photo and video websites that sell very high quality photos and videos. 

There are also many free stock photo websites

I’m not a lawyer and this is not legal advice.

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Last updated on May 04, 2020. Shawn is the President of Graticle, Inc.

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