I am wondering just how important pictures are in a hub, i have about 30 with pictures and about 30 without, but i havent seen a major difference in traffic or scores so is there a need for pictures and can they increase traffic.
Also on the same note if i get a picture from a website without asking permission is it umm legal?
The importance of pictures depends on the subject matter. In general, images are seen as enhancements on HubPages.
With respect to copyright, you are only entitled to use public domain images and free images that are licensed for commercial use. If you use other images without permission, it is a copyright violation.
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The google bots cannot read pictures, to them a picture is just a blank space. Adding pictures is an enhancement for the reader, it also aids to break up the text, which can give your reader a break, especially if you have written a long hub.
Adding pictures are visually appealing, and not, I feel, traffic pullers.
Although google bots can't read images, they can read the description you add to the image. For example if you are writing a hub about frogs and you include an image of a frog, someone searching google images for frogs will find your image which will take them to your web page.
As always it is about keywords. Use the right keyword in the description of your image.
And any image you use on your hub must have the explicit permission of the owner of the image. You can't just take them from google images and put google images as the source attribute as some do.
If income is your goal, a slide show can produce a fair amount of income. I probably see 1/4 to 1/3 of my adsense income coming from slide shows.
A hub with at least 5 photos can have a slide show...
You can't use most images found on the web, because they're copyrighted. While I was searching for some info last night, I ran across a sad case of a blogger who had to pay $4000 in damages for using an image he'd found on the web that turned out to be copyrighted-- yikes! It seems the copyright holder had an aggressive lawyer, and wasn't satisfied with the blogger taking the image down after receiving a nasty email.! So it's wise to be careful and responsible.
Luckily, there are sources for images you can use. If you google site:commons.wikimedia.org plus the thing you need a picture of, you can usually find an image there that you may use with credit and a link back.
You can also search for special Creative Commons images on Flickr, which again you may use with credit and a link back. On Flickr, choose Advanced Search, then scroll down and click the Creative Commons and Commercial Use Allowed checkboxes.
Those sites are enough to hold me most of the time. If you need more places for legal images, try googling "free legal web graphics." I made a list for myself and fellow writers several years ago with links to a lot of free clip.art and stock photo sites!
One thing I don't understand about Hubpages and graphics. I've had good luck getting traffic to pages elsewhere by using descriptive image filenames, but Hubpages strips those names and replaces them with numbers. Isn't there some way to tack a short number on after the filenames and maximize SEO? I see Hubpages stores the picture description as the image's alt name, so that helps somewhat with image search traffic, but Hubpages puts the whole caption into the altname, which seems a little long to me. I don't know, but i miss being able to use image filenames as traffic fishhooks!
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