Humans are visual creatures. We absorb a lot of information just from imagery, and that translates to content marketing. Visual content can hook users and be instrumental in search engine rankings. So, the question is, do you have an SEO strategy for visual content?
If it’s not currently part of your content strategy or it’s not a current point of emphasis for your enterprise content team, it’s time to rethink its value in terms of SEO.
What Is Visual Content?
Before we get into strategy, it’s essential to define visual content. It describes any online content that’s image-based. Common formats include:
- Diagrams and charts
When executed well, visual content can be very impactful to your audience. It illustrates or explains points in more sensory ways than just words.
How Visual Content Impacts SEO
Visual content delivers a host of SEO benefits for your brand. Here’s how you can leverage it to improve organic ranking. Your SEO strategy should focus on these points.
Buyers Consume Lots of Video
Video is one of the most popular types of visual content. Audiences consume it like crazy and prefer it over text in many situations to learn. In fact, 96 percent of people watched an explainer video to discover more about a product or service. This same survey also revealed that 85 percent of people want to see more videos from brands.
The fact is that video is quickly becoming the biggest part of online content hubs. According to an internet report, online videos will account for 82 percent of all traffic by 2022. That’s astounding and should be a prompt for your company to become video masters.
These trends mean it’s essential for SEO as well. Video on its own has SEO properties via transcripts. There are other ways to leverage it, including inserting videos into posts. This can extend time on page, which is a state that Google looks at for ranking.
See what we did there? If the data on video engagement holds true, then you just spent more time on our site watching that video.
Visuals Keep Readers Engaged
Beyond videos extending time on page, visuals, in general, keep users engaged longer. Blog posts can be lengthy, especially since longer content seems to win for ranking. However, your audience doesn’t want to dive into a huge block of text. That might just nope right out of there.
Visuals help break these things up and guide your buyer through the content in a more effective way. There are many options here, from static images to embedded infographics to data visualization charts and more.
What’s important to remember here is that the visuals should add to your story. They should present new information or provide some more context. Be authentic with your image selection. If you have physical products, then most images should showcase them.
Customizing stock images is an option as well. However, if you do use unedited stock photography, choose those that are modern and natural.
Optimizing Visuals Is Essential
SEO for visual content won’t have the boost you desire if you don’t optimize. By optimizing, we mean that it’s:
- Compressed to the right size so it doesn’t slow down site speed, which can impact rankings
- High-quality and not pixelated
- Embedded by a link for video versus a direct upload, which again could impact site speed
- Tagged correctly with alt text that describes the image and uses keywords
By following these SEO best practices, your visual content should drive the results you expect.
It’s Attractive for Backlinks and Social Sharing
Backlinks from other sites to yours are an essential pillar of SEO. The higher authority the domain, the better. Visual content is effective in obtaining these. A content study conducted by Backlinko found that infographics receive 25.8 percent more links than “how-to” posts.
We can certainly relate to this. This infographic (below) started as a how-to/list post, but we repurposed it into an infographic and it went viral. Even to this day, it’s one of our all-time most popular pieces of content.
Visual content like infographics and charts is also highly shareable on social. When shared, this can drive more traffic to your website and get the attention of your audience. Some profiles are completely visual-driven, like Pinterest and Instagram, so there’s no other route to go.
In all other profiles, you are likely to see more engagement for your visual content shares than just words. That’s because images and videos immerse the user more so than text. If you want to determine what visual content is driving social media engagement, refer to your content analytics.
The insights you find here can help you plan your content calendar more effectively and focus your resources on what’s most enticing to your audience.
Off-Site Search Options Offer SEO Value, Too
Example: DivvyHQ’s YouTube Channel
Your visual content doesn’t just live on your owned media. It’s on social media websites, and you likely use YouTube or other platforms to host your videos. This offers another opportunity for visual content and SEO.
YouTube is the second largest search engine, second only to Google. So your ideal buyers may be on the site right now looking for information and education on a challenge that you can solve. Take advantage of this by:
- Developing engaging, valuable video content (this doesn’t mean you need a blockbuster budget, but rather it’s about being creative)
- Ensuring you optimize the video with keywords and tags so it’s visible in search results
- Adding lengths to your website in the description section to entice viewers to explore your brand more
Get the most out of your video and expand its SEO value by optimizing your YouTube listings.
SEO for Visual Content: Up Your Search Game
Images can be powerful, grabbing attention, sharing information in new ways, and contributing to SEO. By improving on all these tactics, you could see a bump in rankings. What’s important is to be consistent and purposeful.
If you’d like to learn more about improving rankings with content marketing, check out our post with six ways to do it well.