Apr 6, 2017
There was a time where SEO success could completely depend on text. Today is no longer that time. As tempting as “keyword stuffing” is, keywords can’t substitute for quality content. Quality content on a site provides valuable or relevant information that is worth coming back to and engages viewers for longer. For that, a wall of text just doesn’t cut it anymore.
The answer: engaging, appealing visuals to accompany concise, clear content.
You may think that cutting down on text for visuals offers less information and thus less quality content. However, visuals can in fact offer greater comprehension of more information for the viewer.
Because of a human’s ability to process visual information so quickly, sharing information through visuals actually offers a better chance of delivering more information in a short span of time. This causes the reader to gain more quality content. In addition, one image can condense multiple pieces of information that the viewer can quickly comprehend, whereas in text the information would be wordy and unengaging, losing user interest quickly.
Why are visuals so valuable to SEO?
SEO is only successful when readability is high. Even with keyword use, if readers are not impressed or pleased with content, fewer users will continue to engage with the site, and the site’s search engine ranking will drop. Visuals improve readability by breaking up text into easy-to-follow sections and increasing aesthetic appeal. Having clean, pleasing aesthetics in digital marketing also displays greater professionalism and credibility to readers.
Also, visuals in marketing produce:
The brain is more able to retain and recall information when tied to visual memory. Visuals also give readers a chance to engage with a website or blog, especially with visuals like video or GIFs. More engagement encourages the user to stay on the site longer, improving SEO.
Plus, visual information produces more stimulation in the brain, producing an emotional response (whether it be laughter, sadness, anger, surprise, etc.). Emotion and memory are controlled in the same area of the brain, so greater emotion causes greater memory. Greater retention of information indicates more quality content to the reader.
As an example of the emotional power of visuals, The Washington Post produced a slideshow of some of the most iconic images in the world. How do you feel when you see these images?
In three images, a great deal of information is shared. These images stimulate deep emotional responses in many, and seeing them both helps to recall the information tied to each and helps to further fortify that information into long-term memory.
Particularly in social media marketing, visuals are crucial to user engagement. Social media users are significantly more likely to engage with a post or page when visuals are used.
Visuals allow users to view, share, and like content that they may otherwise dismiss or ignore if it is only displayed as text. This understanding makes it even more important for sites to be connected to social media. Visuals used directly on their site should be available to be shared, liked, retweeted, etc. so that the user can be more engaged. In addition, that involvement offers greater reach to other users who exist in the social circles of their current users.
Types of visual content that can be used include:
Using a variety of visuals offers the reader more information and more interest, which leads to greater engagement and higher SEO ranking. Quality text is only half the story with successful search engine optimization. With quality visuals, both you and your users will discover what your site can really offer.