How Visual Content Affects SEO
Content creation for digital marketing consists of two overarching goals: creating content that appeals to consumers, and placing that content on appropriate platforms where consumers will see it as they move through the buyer’s journey. In order to optimise your content and get it in front of the right consumers, you will have to use visual content.
Let’s back up for a minute. Optimising content comes with a large checklist: are you using keywords appropriately and often? Is your content user-friendly? Does your content help customers answer questions and move them along the buyer’s journey? Your content can positively answer all of these questions with text-only content, but visuals strengthen your ability to check all of these questions off of your list and optimise your content.
Adding visual content to your overall strategy can feel exhausting, but using this type of content will yield a much higher return than the resources that you put into creating and distributing visual content. Let’s learn why.
Why Visual Content is Important to SEO
It’s more appealing to readers.
Communicating exclusively through text is great for readers and buyers who are auditory learners or prefer to consume text. Unfortunately, this is a minority of your buyers. Over 65% of people are visual learners and retain more information if it is communicated through images and visual content.
It give you an opportunity to tell your story.
Visual content expands your options. Let’s use a testimonial as an example. A customer named Jane, who is 32, leaves wonderful feedback that you want to share on your website. You leave a quote from Jane and leave her name on your website. If you are exclusively using text to communicate social proof and feedback from your customers, you can still get the message across: people like your products. But if you use photos or videos alongside your testimonials, readers can see who enjoys your products or hear their enthusiasm for your brand. Say you include a video of Jane using your product, or just a photo of Jane next to the testimonial, customers who look like Jane or identify as someone similar to Jane are more likely to see themselves using the product.
It generates more engagement and drives more leads.
Readers are more likely to share your content if it contains visuals. Tweets with images are retweeted 150% more often than tweets without images; Facebook users engage with visual content 2.3x more than text-only content. Social media isn’t the only place to consider engagement. Landing pages receive more shares when they contain video; 40x more shares. Visual content receives more attention and communicates a message more effectively than simple text. This attention translates directly to generating more leads and conversions. In an Animoto survey, 76.5% of marketers said that video marketing had an impact on their business.
When readers are engaged longer and react more positively to your content, you are more likely to be recognized as an authority and a worthy business to follow. The more often your posts or landing pages are shared, the more likely they will be used as links or resources. This is a crucial element to optimising your content. Visual content can help your website crawl up the rankings and introduce your business to more potential customers.
Where To Use Audio and Visual Content
Content marketing strategies require content creation for every step of the buyer’s journey and every online platform that buyers interact with before making a purchase decision. Visual content, when planned appropriately, can meet buyers at each step of the way and encourage them to interact further with your business. Visual content is currently helping businesses encourage engagement on the following platforms:
Videos can be used to introduce your product and your business, right on your landing page. A landing page can generate 86% more conversions if they include a video on the page. If you want 86% more conversions, it’s time to start filming.
If you are not already using social media, you are missing out on a big opportunity to tell your story and reach new customers. Almost three out of four marketers (74%) use visual content in their social media marketing. Think about the social media platforms that are available for your business: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. Many of these platforms are based on sharing and posting visual content, and businesses benefit more when they take advantage of visual content on each platform.
Want to share a lot of facts or statistics about your business without boring your customers? Create infographics to accompany blog posts, eBooks, and other long-form content. Infographics are a fun and creative way to blend text and visual content to grab a reader’s attention and keep them engaged. Infographics are also a great way to introduce yourself as an authority on a certain subject. Studies show that infographics can increase website traffic by 12%, and infographics are shared 3x more than other types of content online.
Email newsletters and marketing campaigns can help you create a more personal relationship with leads right in their inbox. Adding visual content to email newsletters doesn’t require creating an entirely new story and video. Repurpose old footage or an already finished video itself and include a link to that video in your newsletter. (Sending a video in the email would take too long to load, anyway!) Customers are nearly 50% more likely to read email newsletters that include links to video. Craft your email subject line to advertise video content and you will see a higher open rate.
When buyers are close making a purchase decision, they will explore different products, features, and how they work. Four times as many buyers prefer to learn about a product and its functions through video content, rather than just text. The more familiar a buyer becomes with a product, the more willing they are to trust that the product will work. Create videos for your YouTube channel or website that show how your product works, and include information tailored to buyers ready to make a decision.
How to Use Visual Content – 2018 Trends
The possibilities for creating visual content are endless, no matter where you plan to place them. As visual content evolves, researchers and marketers are discovering trends and methods for creating visual content that speaks directly to buyers. Consider using the following trends and tips as you create a visual content plan:
Facebook Live, Instagram Live, and live webinars are a great way to promote engagement and speak directly with customers who have questions or want to say hello to your business. Facebook has reported that users are spending 3x more time watching live video than traditional video. Live video can be used for many different events, including:
- Product demos
- Company announcements
- Customer forums and feedback
If you are planning on going live, make sure you let customers know through emails and social media posts ahead of time.
Compatibility across multiple devices isn’t a trend – it’s a requirement. If your visual content only looks good on a desktop or a tablet, your readers will leave your site. Users aren’t just watching video on mobile – 85% of users are watching video on mobile while watching video on a desktop or another device. Consider how your video looks on a cell phone and what users can gain from your visual content as they are consuming other content.
Genuine (rather than generic) content
Adding photos and video for the sake of adding visual content isn’t enough to sincerely communicate your story to customers. Eye-tracking studies show that not all images online are treated equally. Content that is purely posted for decoration and stock photos are overlooked. Photos that have a purpose, or photos that contain real people, grab a reader’s attention and encourage them to look closer at the image. This is one of the reason that infographics are so popular; readers know from first glance that the infographic will contain some sort of information that was purposely added to send a message.
Witty dialogue or wordplay can be a creative element to your videos, but if no one is listening, the story is lost on your customers. A big majority (85%) of videos on Facebook are watched without sound. Test your team to tell a story without sound. If you do have important dialogue in your video, ensure that the video is captioned properly and will appear for users as they scroll through their newsfeed.
Add Visual Content to Your SEO and Digital Marketing Strategy with A Top Melbourne SEO Agency
Visual content is a crucial piece to the content marketing puzzle, but should be considered within your overall strategy and only used when appropriate. If you want to create a comprehensive content marketing strategy based on your customers and how they respond to trends in digital marketing, it’s time to reach out to Digital Squad.
Digital Squad is a leader in digital marketing and content marketing strategies. Our expertise in SEO allows us to optimise each piece of content so potential buyers see it as soon as they are ready to enter and move through the buyer’s journey.
Megan Okonsky is a copywriter and content marketing specialist with Digital Squad. She is originally from Philadelphia but has landed in Melbourne after traveling for eight months in Southeast Asia and New Zealand. She also teaches vinyasa yoga online.