I firmly believe that both content and copy should be written with the intention of being read by people first, and Google second. It won’t matter if you show up first in the search engines if you can’t connect with your target audience.
That being said, it also doesn’t matter much if you produce great content and your target audience can’t find you.
There’s no question that search engine optimization (SEO) is a necessity for every business who wants to build an online presence (which should be all businesses). There are some aspects of SEO that can be complicated, like creating site maps, but there are other tactics that are easily used even by those without in-depth technological knowledge.
In this post, you’ll learn how to improve your SEO through visual content with these easy-to-implement strategies that are accessible to all businesses, no coding required.
Having On-Page Images Automatically Boosts SEO
It’s worth pointing out that having on-page images will automatically give you an advantage when it comes to SEO, particularly when you choose keyword-rich image titles. Users of the Yoast SEO plugin may know this already, since the plugin will ding you and remind you to add more images to your blog for SEO benefits.
When uploading your image into WordPress, you’ll see that below the URL section, there’s a spot for you to enter in your image title.
This title will be invisible to users, but it’s what makes your images crawlable by Google. If you can make your content keyword-dense through multiple mediums, you’ll get better results. As an added bonus, if people are doing just an image search on your keyword, this gives you the opportunity to have your content pop up there. This can send users back to the full post if they click, giving you more traffic.
Use Alt-Image Text
Alt text tags on images give you another place where you can optimize for your the keywords you’re targeting. Like image titles, alt text tags are crawlable by Google, and will actually appear in place of an image if it can’t be displayed for whatever reason. Some screen readers also use alt text tags.
Ultimately, if there’s any additional way to optimize for your chosen keywords, always take it. It can help improve your ranking and show Google that your content is relevant to more users. I’ll not only put the main keyword in alt text, but also secondary keywords that are still likely to be used in relevant searches.
Choose Images with Small File Sizes
Sometimes the most stunning, high resolution images come in great big file sizes so that they can be displayed in full glory. These images might be beautiful, but those massive file sizes aren’t doing your SEO any favors.
Instead, they could potentially hurt you if the file sizes are large enough that they’re slowing down site loading speeds.
This is significantly for several reasons. The first is clear, with users being likely to abandon a site that doesn’t load within just three seconds. While this is a big enough reason on its own, having slow site loading speeds can also ding you when it comes to your SEO.
As of 2010, Google has taken site loading speed into account, and if your site is loading on the slower site, you can expect to see your rankings fall in the SERPs. To prevent this, use smaller image file sizes for a faster loading site. You should also limit the number of images and videos you put on the mobile version of your site for best results.
Not sure where your site stands on loading speed? Enter your URL on Pingdom and you’ll get a good idea of whether or not your site loading speed needs improvements.
Place Embed Code on Infographics
Infographics are designed to be easily digestible despite being loaded with information; they often contain facts, statistics, or processes that your target audience will inherently derive value from. Because of this, both your peers and your target audience is likely to share this type of content on their own sites.
Make it easy for them while also ensuring that you’re getting the proper attribution and backlinks to get those SEO benefits. Create an embed code for your infographic so that every time users are inspired to, they can quickly share the infographic on their own site while automatically giving you that valuable backlink.
This is easier than you’d think. After you create an infographic with any one of Snappa’s completely customizable pre-made templates, utilize a tool like Siege Media’s Embed Code Generator. You’ll be up and running (and getting those backlinks!) before you know it.
Accompany Infographics with Descriptive Text
Infographics are highly shareable, especially when you keep the goal for sharing in mind and make them valuable enough to appeal to your target audience. Whether they’re entertaining or informational, there’s no denying that infographics are a power house when it comes to shares on both social media platforms and other blogs.
Readers love infographics. You know who doesn’t? Google.
Even though infographics often contain an enormous amount of information– often even including great big chunks of text on the image–, all of that information is lost to search engines because they can’t process an image like you and I. Google can’t read the text, because all it sees is an image file. Side note, if you’re looking for infographic ideas, we wrote a full blog post on the most popular infographic templates!
Keep this in mind, and make sure that your infographics are fully optimized to help give you a boost in SEO by including complete text explanations in the post you share it with. This information will be registered by Google, and helps your infographic reach its full potential in terms of helping your site’s SERPs.
Add More Video to Your Site
2017 was the year of video, and 2018 is looking like it’s going to continue that trend. While your marketing strategy shouldn’t rely purely on video for multiple reasons (including them being slow to load and taking significant amounts of time to make), it should still be an essential part of your marketing strategy.
A picture is worth a thousand words, after all, and a video is worth exponentially more. 1.8 million words of text, to be exact, is apparently the equivalent of just one minute of video.
Not only is video exceptionally engaging, it’s good for SEO. Google sees a video embedded on your site page or blog post, and believes that the mixture of mediums indicates thorough, quality content. It’s the same reason Google likes to see images instead of giant blocks of text, and it also knows that users are rather partial to video, too.
For best results, use a video that utilizes an .SRT file to create subtitles and a transcript. You can easily create an .SRT file when uploading your video to YouTube. These transcripts will become embedded in the video and become crawlable, giving you even more of an SEO edge.
Use Engaging Visuals to Improve Retention Rates
There is strong evidence that dwell time (or the amount of time the average spends on your pages) is connected to SEO. This makes sense; a higher dwell time indicates high relevance and value, both of which are things Google wants to see when prioritizing content in the SERPs.
High quality, aesthetically pleasing and engaging visuals can help with this. If you click to a site that has images that are interesting to look at, you’ll be more likely to linger on the site a little longer. Similarly, high quality sites often have high quality images, so users are more likely to stick around for a site that they perceive to be more trustworthy and established.
Some examples of how you can use images to improve both CTR and retention rates include:
- Using interesting featured images for your blog posts to get more clicks
- Having beautiful images with text overlay on your homepage to draw attention and get your point across
- Creating high quality graphics that are a part of your clickable CTA
Snappa’s graphic design software can help with all of this. We have thousands of high resolution stock photos that you can mix and match with fonts, graphics, and pre-made templates of your choice. We utilize easy drag-and-drop customization so that each of our templates is fully customizable, letting you create every graphic that you could ever imagine (and then a few more).
While it is crucial to create content that your audience wants to read, you also need to consider how your content will play into SEO best practices. Fortunately, Google has gotten smarter, so it’s able to find content that’s written for readers without an entire post needing to be a thinly-veined dumping of keywords. Similarly, we have more tools and methods to increase sharing, backlinks, and keyword optimization.
All of the strategies discussed in this post can be used to improve SEO with visual content. Even better, they’re all accessible for businesses of all size, especially when combined with Snappa’s affordable graphic design software that can help you create beautiful, engaging visual content in no time at all.
What do you think? How do you improve SEO with visual content? Which strategies do you use? Let us know in the comments below!