We have all heard the expression, “a picture is worth 1000 words”, and this couldn’t be more true within the context of digital marketing and blogging for business in 2017. Although it is true that blog images have always mattered, 2017 puts an even greater stress on their importance? Why? Any reputable digital marketing agency will tell you that mobile SEO is paramount to one’s online success, and it is the future of search engine optimization. That said, in order for a site to rank well, get a high CTR, and convert viewers into buyers, the following must be in place:
- Intriguing meta descriptions that reflect the page’s content
- Enough optimized text for Google bots in terms of ranking
- The right kind of optimized text to feed the artificial intelligence and machine learning components of RankBrain
- Content that makes an emotional connection with human readers (and Google)
- A strong user experience that doesn’t overwhelm readers with too much text, but that also is too thin on content to inform, entertain and educate readers.
- Using images that attract, entice, and convert.
Blogging is an ideal way to brand while promoting products and services to consumer audiences. What with the need to scale down text to accommodate a mobile-friendly minimalist aesthetic without it running thin, images can help pick up the slack. Just make sure they are laid out in a thoughtful design, the ALT tags are in place, and they compliment the text in a way that captivates viewers. In order to make the most of your blog images in 2017, here are some tips and considerations.
Posts That Please
If you want a blog post that is aesthetically pleasing to your readers, images are a must. To hold the interest and attention of your reader, use images in ways that break up big blocks of text and white space to render a professional appearance. As study after study has shown, the attention span of the average visitor to a website is extremely low. Because of this, SEO agencies always recommend that blog postings look high-end and not cookie-cutter from some template. But if you are using a standard WordPress theme, use HD images in a parallax effect to give the design a modern feel that will delight the eye. Even if you have the greatest images, they won’t pack a powerful punch unless the post is, overall, buttoned up.
Lure the Reader
There are some people out there who still say images don’t matter. Yet blogs with images attract 90 percent more viewers than bare words alone. Even if your blog has the most fascinating words ever written that make John Steinbeck look like a 5th grade theme, chances are it won’t hold a viewer’s attention if it doesn’t have images that are eye-catching and relevant to your written content.
One way to attract readers is to use images that are relevant yet unexpected. I swear, there are still companies out there that use those idiotic “Content is King” image with the 2005 font, or those keyword cluster images, or the snore-worthy images that show businessmen shaking hands, street signs that indicate a path for failure and success, and some lady trying to climb the cliche career ladder. JUST STOP USING THESE! Instead, use an image that pokes fun using a pun, is funny, or that captures a playful metaphor. According to multiple studies, humor is the number one way for attracting readers to a blog. If you are writing some content for a general business blog, and the title is “How Entry-Level Employees can Beat Out Veterans for a Promotion”, don’t rely on those vanilla overused images of the businessman giving the thumbs up with his cheesy grin. Instead, find one of a little kid in boxing gloves that just knocked out a heavyweight fighter, or a kitten fighting a large dog; something playful, funny, and complimentary to the subject will attract more readers than “Paul the CS manager” sticking his thumb in the air.
Images Enhance Search Engine Results
Images play a significant role in ranking content. When tagged properly, they are indexed and appear in the SERPs leading viewers to your webpage. The onsite SEO aspects also help rank pages. Also, because more than 90% of readers engage blogs with images, your analytics will read positively. A lower bounce rate, more page views, number of sessions, and average session time will improve thus giving your site more authority.
Killing a Big SEO Myth for 2017
Some people are preaching on about how social signals don’t improve SEO. They are wrong. A number of studies by top SEO agencies in Los Angeles were presented at several search conferences showing that, indeed, social shares helped with ranking. If Google sees a blog post with multiple shares, it will determine that readers favor the content thus adding some fuel to its authority. With various social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter (sort of), and Pinterest being more popular than ever, having a blog post filled with unique or highly creative images is a virtual guarantee it will be shared by numerous people. By having interesting images that peak the curiosity of one viewer after another, you’ll soon find your blog post being shared by thousands of people. And as digital marketing agencies are well aware, the image caption should always be worded so that it’s not only informative, but thought-provoking, funny, or edge–all triggers that get people to share content.
Long, Substantive Posts
While in years past most blog posts were often no more than 200 words, today’s blog posts are much longer and substantive. In fact, 2016 saw the average blog post containing 900 words, which is a 10 percent increase from the prior year. With RankBrain into full swing analyzing searcher intent and trying to pair the best results according to human needs, longer content will win all day long. In fact, if you want to avoid sending your website to Google hell for displeasing online audiences, keep your blogs around 1000 words. By using blog posts that are longer and convey much-needed information, you’ll be providing a need for your audience–finding useful and inspiring words that increase readers, followers, and social shares. Your image is going to sell your content, as most people are visually stimulated. Let several clever images make your long blog post shine.
Where to Buy Images
While some people may feel an image is an image, that’s not the case. If you want to ensure your blog posts will have the best possible appearance, plan on spending a few dollars for top-quality photos. Sites such as Getty Images, Shutter Stock, Dreamstime, and Think Stock are considered some of the best sites available for images on nearly any topic. By having a wider range of images available, you’ll be able to expand your range when it comes to writing compelling and interesting blog posts.
Just make sure you pay for them. Getty Images are known as the Nazis of copyright infringements; if you take an image from Google Images owned by Getty, they will sue you if they find you. Getty Images even goes after the mom and pop little sandwich shops suing for thousands over the use of a few simple images. Play it safe, and find a image site that fits your budget, as some are less expensive than others.
2017, Your Blogs, Your Images
To really make the most of your images in this mobile dominated landscape of SEO, align your ALT tags with longtail keywords that play into H titles within your content. Creating a holistic SEO approach that united images, text, and meta will please Google bots, and let’s face it, your competition probably isn’t doing this, so why not be the first to start capitalizing on a true robust strategy?