Images are a valuable component of any visual marketing strategy on a website. The attention span of human beings is very short. There is also so much content to consume in the digital space. The use of images significantly increases engagement.
Human beings process visual content faster than text. Research shows that the brain will work 60000 times faster to take in visual information. Anyone interacting with the content will have a 65% recall, up to 3 days later.
It is important to understand the best visual marketing image SEO practices. Our article will show you how.
Exploring the Meaning of Image SEO in your Marketing Strategy
The simplest definition of image SEO is any step you take towards optimizing images on your site. You do it intending to make the work of the search engines easy. A Google Visual SEO marketing strategy will result in better rankings. But, only if the search engine can find and read your images.
Many marketers do not know how to take advantage of proper image or visual optimization in their strategies. Most will not even factor in hiring a professional photographer. Instead, they rely on stock or low-quality photos taken with their phones.
Several factors go into website image SEO optimization such as:
- The type of image
- Size of the image
- Loading time
- How you use Image SEO keywords
- Image SEO alt descriptions
- Image file names
Image Search Engine Optimization; Best Practices
Proper implementation of best practices in search engine optimization will help increase your visibility online. It has become a must-have element in any solid marketing strategy. Many marketers may not know the importance of having a separate section that specifically deals with visual SEO.
In writing this article, we got the best visual marketing optimization tips from visual marketing strategists. We also picked some gems from experts in blogger outreach services and SEO experts.
Here is what they had to say about building visibility with a strong Visual SEO marketing strategy.
1. Start With an Image Optimization Audit
Before you start any visual marketing activity around image search engine optimization, you need a benchmark against which to measure your performance. An image optimization audit should be your number one priority. It requires you to:
- Create an inventory of the visuals you already have on your website
- Carry out a diagnosis to determine shortcomings, if any. Critical components include size, formatting, and image description optimization.
- Determine whether you need those images. You may find that you have too many images. You could easily replace some of them with illustrations or creative use of fonts.
- Take note of the image formats. The most popular options are PNG and JPEG, but they have their limitations. We will discuss this further below.
- Have you optimized image file names with the right keywords and alt text?
- Check the quality of the pictures because it has a direct impact on engagement. No one has time or patience to look at grainy, low-res pictures.
2. Picture Formats and File Size
The format of the images will determine page loading speeds. Heavy files can reduce the speed, which will impact search engine rankings. You have different options when deciding the best format to use.
- JPG files are not heavy and work well for photos. You may, however, compromise image quality when resizing. They work best if you want big images on your site.
- PNG are heavy but work well for logos, custom graphics, and screenshots
- SVG files give the same functionalities as PNG. You also get greater flexibility because you can resize them without losing the picture quality
- GIFS are ideal for moving graphics or animation
- There are new formats you can explore for your visuals optimization. Such include Web Project from Google, HEIF, and FLIF. Talk to your web designer for the best advice on which to use.
Ensure you optimize the image file sizes. It helps with indexing on the search engines. Your best option is to go for moderate sizes. It may require you to compress a file to about 150 kB. Avoid using previews or thumbnails if you can. Such do not contribute much when it comes to your visual SEO marketing strategy design. Take due consideration of the display options. You stand better chances of clicks on those that are 4.3 or landscape.
Resize images before you load them onto your site. There are image SEO tools you can use to make the task easy.
The use of visuals in your marketing strategy does not need to be challenging. Take advantage of tools such as Google PageSpeed insights for useful reports. You get a breakdown of what could be contributing to slow loading pages. Your website image optimization best practices must include this critical step.
It allows you to take corrective measures so that you increase the page loading speeds. Always have it at the back of your mind that slow pages result in a poor user experience. The result is high bounce rates resulting in low rankings.
3. To Use or Not To Use Stock Visuals in Your Marketing Strategy
Stock photos are convenient because they already exist. You can purchase them on sites like Shutterstock or Adobe stock. Most come ready to use because the vendors have taken the time to make them user-ready. You also have the convenience of not needing to hire a photographer, which can be time-consuming and expensive.
But, you do not get a lot of leeway with regards to creativity or originality. You must take them as they are and try to work your way around them.
Consider it as an investment to take your photos for your visual marketing design needs. It allows you to be unique, and you have more flexibility. You also get the main advantage of getting images that are relevant to your audience.
SEO visual marketing guidelines require that you add value. Try customizing the stock image with tools like Canva or adding annotations and screenshots with tools like Markup Hero to create truly unique marketing visuals. The value will result in a better experience for your site visitors.
4. Provide Relevant Information with the Best Image SEO Practices
Proper Google Image SEO needs you to provide sufficient information to the search engine. The less information, the less likely you will enjoy good rankings. There are specific elements that are important for indexing.
Best visual optimization tactics for marketing success are:
- The use of Alt text for best image optimization; even if a picture refuses to load, the alt text will load. Your web visitor will still get the information they need. Google also depends on such information for a better understanding of the images you have. Include the relevant keywords for better visibility.
- Titles, which provide more information to the search engines
- Captions that provide information on the subject matter
- Have images on site maps for better visibility.
5. Do Your Images Tell A Story?
When optimizing your website with images, focus on creating stories. People want information, but they like to engage with content. Your visual marketing strategy should not be about selling all the time. The use of visuals will give you a lot of creative space for storytelling. Imagery can be impactful, and your audience will remember what was on the site for longer.
Social media platforms are the best examples of the power of images. Facebook content engagement is as high as 93% for posts with photos.
Other interesting statistics will prove the point a little more. An article will receive a staggering 94% higher engagement with images than without. Including other visual cues like videos is an even better idea. The likelihood of achieving conversion and getting quality links rises by 86% and 267%, respectively.
Improve your visual marketing design with these image SEO guidelines.
- Open up your brand with a behind the scenes tour. Your customers or audiences will be happy to know the authentic story behind The Brand
- Create conversation points with the type of captions you use. Some debate will be nice, but please be careful about being controversial for the sake of engagement
- Create visual marketing interaction with user-generated content. Hosting competitions or other reward systems will increase interest
- Create variety within a single situation. Do not present your product in just one frame. Get creative with the presentation. The reactions you want are, WOW, and how on earth did they get this shot.
Some brands have perfected the art of storytelling with visuals in marketing campaigns. Dove will show a range of images with ladies of all skin types. Visual campaigns for promoting self-love and greater acceptance of diversity are other examples. You find a powerful image with women ranging from petite to plus size.
Look at the two photos above for the best visual marketing ideas. A powerful image, few words, and you get the message.
6. Encourage Sharing Of Content
Another image SEO best practice is to get people to share your content. The practice is common on social media. Encourage people to like, share, and retweet.
Hashtags also help with organic search. Anyone looking for information specific to the industry will find you easily. Hashtags are also a fantastic way to generate conversation, especially around trending or hot topics.
But you must give your visitors a reason to share your content. It must be unique, relevant, and engaging. Put yourself in their shoes and be honest about the quality of content you have. If you were a visitor on that site, would you share the content?
If not, rethink your visual marketing strategies. Please have a good understanding of your audience and what they like. Market research is critical when developing a visual marketing plan. It gives you valuable insights into what your audiences are likely to interact with.
If you have the budget, bring an influencer on board. Influencers will continue to have a big impact on the marketing world. If you have the money, it doesn’t hurt to go for a celebrity. You get their audience base, which runs into millions of people. Even without text, you can promote your product.
This picture of Selena Gomez drinking a Coca-Cola is a good example. It has generated almost 7 million likes to date.
7. Optimize Page Speed with Lazy Loading
Lazy loading is one visuals optimization technique you should consider using. Best of all, it has a stamp of approval from the search engine giant as a Google image SEO technique. So what does it mean? Slow loading allows the users to only see above the fold image.
To see more, the user must continue to scroll down the page. It is an excellent SEO technique if you have many images on a page. You help speed up the loading by only giving access to what the users need. It helps avoid the loading of resources that are not critical at that particular moment.
8. Visual Optimization with a Focus on Mobile SEO
Are you crafting your visual marketing strategy? If yes, have mobile experience at the top of your mind. Many people use mobile devices to browse the internet. The quick access to tons of information means they are less patient. You have less than 3 seconds to keep them on your site. You may experience high bounce rates if the page loading is slow.
Mobile-first image optimizing means you design for mobile and customize for desktop.
Optimizing images for search engines is important for visual marketing. The search engines take into consideration different factors when ranking websites. It is so much more than correct keyword use. The type of images and how you use them will also have an impact.
Our visual marketing with a focus on image SEO guide has shared some fantastic ways to build visibility. The use of images in your marketing provides you with flexibility and space for creativity. But, what good are they if you do not have an image optimization strategy in place? Start creating one with the tips above, and watch your rankings improve.