affiliate linkThe digital world has become overwhelmingly complicated, brimming with a greater number of businesses trying their best to rank higher and to get more online visibility. Strategies based on trends, marketing research, and vast scope of diverse content formats are deployed every day in the aim to push a business’s presence into the forefront of digital attention. Alas, none of it really matters if you don’t understand how SEO evolves and introduces new methods as preferred ones. Enter: visual SEO. Although your underlying code, your written content, and your link-building efforts are all still very vital in the chase after better ranking in the SERPs, visuals are getting more relevant every day.
As humans, we love visual stimuli. This behaviour translates into our online habits, and surveys and studies support this. So, based on a single HubSpot survey, 58% of consumers expressed a desire to see more video content from the brands they love and support. Essentially, even at this rate, we still want more visual content, no matter how abundant it may be, since we have specialized platforms the likes of YouTube to deliver them daily. How does this work in favour of your search engine ranking? Let’s take a look at several useful strategies to use your visuals to boost your SEO.
Storytelling with visuals
Google’s ever-changing algorithm aside, quality content consistently tops as the most vital ranking factor a brand can produce. No authentic creativity means no reason for users to spend time on your website or social media pages, and poor interest will ultimately push you down the search results well. When you craft content that’s valuable, educational, and trendy, with a unique angle as well, you have a better chance to put your brand on the map.
However, now that content comes in many different formats, your business needs to keep up with your audience’s preferences, and consuming visual content is a significant part of our digital behaviour. With every business publishing high-quality videos and images, you need to make sure that yours are at least on par with those of your competitors.
Now, in addition to diversification and its impact on your web visitors’ interest (and subsequently your ranking), focusing on visual storytelling is also a must since your users will leave your site unless you inspire genuine interest in less than 15 seconds. Capture your visitors’ interest with a brilliant, but brief video introduction, as well as brand-specific images that represent your values. Reduce your bounce rate through engaging visuals, and your ranking will inevitably improve over time.
Localizing your visuals
If you’re a Singapore resident, do you really care that much about a gallery opening in Vienna? As much as globalization has enabled businesses to erase borders, search engines, as well as humans, are intertwined with locations. Your business presence in a region (one that can be confirmed and verified) adds great value to your SEO, so why not enrich your visuals with the same local values that you stick to in your written content?
For instance, if a Texas business wants to garner more local interest and inspire more website visitors as well as more physical store visits, adding a visual approach makes perfect sense. Different strategies should encompass written formats as well as rich visuals such as videos and imagery that reflect the local culture. To make sure their strategy works in the local area in question, more companies are using Dallas SEO services and their specific target markets to deliver unique content relevant to the region. Showcase your Texas offices, your storefront, your local employees during team building, invite your local customers to tag your brand when they’re using your products or services, and the like.
Written content isn’t the only format that can be “localized”. On the contrary, if you give your visuals the same, local-specific approach, you’ll be able to elicit a genuine emotion, connect with your audience, start trending for relevant content, and increase your CTR for the links that go with your videos. All of these efforts combined will translate to greater authority for your brand, and better recognition from search engines.
Repurpose old content in visual formats
For brands that have been in the game for a very long time, you might be wondering how on Earth you’re supposed to produce new content on a regular basis to compete with all the up-and-coming names in the industry, keep it fresh, and stay relevant. Truth be told, it’s very difficult to produce SEO-relevant content that hasn’t already been published in one form or another. Plus, if you’ve been here long enough, you might already have your highest performing blogs that are impossible to surpass.
Here’s where you can actually use videos! You can repurpose your original content to give it a fresh angle, and present it in a visually appealing manner. Plus, video content with subtitles is more easily digestible than several thousand words of text, especially for your modern customers who are on the go, and will most likely enjoy a video on their phones, on their way to work.
As we’ve already established that regular, consistent quality content is the essence of powerful SEO, repurposing your old content is one of the best ways to improve your SEO game and diversify your content. Think about all those studies you’ve done, whitepapers sitting idly in a folder somewhere waiting to become an intriguing podcast, or dry numbers waiting to come to life in an infographic or a video. These will surely inspire more shares, views, higher CTR, and more dwell-time on your website – ultimately skyrocketing your ranking in the SERPs.
Inspire user-generated visuals
Sometimes, it’s not about what you and your business can do in order to drive your ranking, but what you can do to inspire others into taking action that will help you soar in the search results. When your brand is associated with many different visitors, customers, and your digital footprint expands, your brand instantly gains more authority with search engines, as well. Google notices that you’ve managed to garner the interest of your audience by inspiring them to share industry and business-relevant content, and the engine will reward you for your trustworthy behaviour.
But what about content generated by your audience in relation to your brand? If you can inspire and encourage users to showcase using your brand’s products or services online, whether it’s through videos or images, the “shareability” of that content can grow very quickly. This might be the kind of “second-hand” content that’s not fully in your control, but the right marketing campaign or a contest with a giveaway can quickly generate a significant number of visuals that promote your brand, in a context that is relevant for the rest of your audience and potential customers.
Fortunately, Google appreciates and understands such content and chances are that the search engine will get those visuals in front of other people online with similar interests. This is especially easy to achieve via social networks, hence the need to do your best to spread your digital wings with the right visuals – even when you’re not the one creating those visuals. People have already shown a greater tendency to share images and videos than text alone, making this a great opportunity for you to disseminate your brand more effectively.
Pay attention to image optimization
A high-quality image can easily fly unnoticed if you don’t do your absolute best to help search engine crawlers understand its actual content and relevance. Add to that, the image optimization process is yet another step that allows you to implement the right keywords that will help search engines connect the dots and utilize your visual content fully for the purpose of better SEO.
Videos and images actually give you plenty of space to use very specific keywords that will provide crawlers with relevant data. This is especially vital if your business has competitors and content that has already taken the prime Google spots for those more general terms, such as “shoes” or “bags”. Is there a video showcasing the production process of your latest purse collection? Then add a description with keywords and phrases such as “a hand-crafted faux leather purse”. The more specific and detailed you get, the better search engines will be at placing you closer to the top when such a search occurs.
Make sure not to use generic, but catchy and authentic titles, and always keep an eye on your alt tags and header tags, even though they might seem irrelevant, they can help push you even higher on the results page. When a visitor cannot load the image for whatever reason, or if the person doing the search is visually-impaired, the alt description can help them understand the context of the missing image.
While technical SEO and traditional strategies will never wane in relevance, you need to prepare your brand for the constantly growing emergence of new trends that will reshape how you’ll be ranked in search engines. A visual strategy is a clear example of how SEO changes with the times, so give your business a chance to utilize visuals and retain its relevance in this visual age.
Also published on Medium.