Written by Ian Miller, one of Evolve’s summer interns Imagine that you have the option of reading a textbook that provides complicated statistics in paragraph form or viewing an image that shows a graphic analysis of the same stats. Which would you choose? While each might have its own advantages, the majority of us would go with the infograph over the text.
Let’s Face It. We Love Pictures.
Visuals not only result in a more interesting article, they make for great SEO too. There are several factors contributing to the importance of images. The first is, simply, that people like pictures. Visuals alongside text help people understand the content. In fact, according to this study (which ironically doesn’t include images), pictures help people learn in both the imagery and verbal parts of the brain. So not only are people more engaged in your post, they’re learning more!
Words can only get you so far in some situations. Sometimes a graphic can allow readers to see the whole picture. For instance, wouldn’t you rather quickly view the graphs to the left than read: “In 2008, customer satisfaction was at 68%. In 2009, it was 60%. In 2010, it was 83%. In 2011…”? I thought so. Pictures deliver an overview of your page so your readers can efficiently grab important information from your grab content.
What about the SEO?
So now you know how pictures can attract readers to your articles, but how will they help your SEO ventures? Well it might require a bit more work on your part, but your efforts will pay off! It is important to effectively name your images; be sure to include relevant keywords in each file name. Remember, these images are indexed by search engines and can provide inbound links if properly titled. Finally, use descriptive alt text, which for an image is equivalent to the anchor text of a link. Alt text is important to the engines and humans alike, as it gives a description beyond keywords. (Confused as to what I’m talking about? We explain this in Chapter 9 of our SEO Guide for Beginners.)
Don’t Abuse Your Power.
As the author of a blog post, it’s your responsibility to provide visuals that actually support the article. Rather than choosing the first page results of iStock for what you’re trying to convey, you can search on Flickr for images with a creative commons license or even snap a photo yourself. If you can’t seem to find a visual to pair with your article, take a few minutes to rework the post, add an analogy or reference, so it can be supplemented with a relevant photo that will increase reader engagement. Additionally, you have the power to decide how many pictures to include on your page. While an appropriate number of pictures can assist the reader, too many can be distracting. An overuse of images can divert people from the point of your article. I’ll leave you with a Pro Tip: the best bloggers see their sites as digital equity, so clicking the “publish” button doesn’t necessarily signify the end of the road for a particular post. Once you’ve strengthened your articles with useful visuals, it’s imperative that you:
- share your insight via social networks, and
- find ways to repurpose the information you’ve harnessed.
An example of the second tip would be to reformat the data, process, or opinion into an aesthetically pleasing infographic. Then pour yourself a cup of strong coffee, don your noise canceling headphones, and start link building. In essence, it’s all about using your publishing power wisely. If you write for humans, not search engines, you should put a proper amount of “oomph” and effort into each post you promote. Effectively utilizing visuals on your blog posts can yield a return for your hard work. And we love a good ROI.