Visual Content SEO: 3 Tips for Better Rankings

“Want to make your visual content more engaging to your consumers? Focus on being useful.”

Jessica Gioglio, global head of consumer marketing for Catapult Sports

By now you’ve either read about or at least witnessed the extreme influx of visual content hitting the Web in droves; images, videos, infographics, and similarly eye-pleasing creations have become inescapable.

The reason for the visual explosion is a cascade effect: People love visual content because it is fun, engaging and easy to understand. Marketers love visual content because it reaches target audiences effectively. And search engines love visual content because people do.

While it’s clear that visual content is effective in driving various goals, what most marketers and business owners find more ambiguous is the tactics for optimizing visual content as a means for greater site rankings.

You can find information about more technical aspects of visual content optimization, like alt tags, title text, file sizes, and image formatting, all over the place.

This article focuses on more overlooked concepts and aspects of the visual content and SEO relationship.

If you’re ready to give your visitors visually-arresting content that also provides your website a lift in rankings, then check out these three core practices.

1. Infographics Need Supporting Text

Infographics are typically sparse in text as they rely heavily on visuals to tell their stories; and that’s OK. Publishing an infographic on your website without creating supplemental text, however, is not as effective as it could be.

If you do (or have done) this, you’ll probably notice that the infographic itself might rank well in image search (if it is optimized), but is nowhere to be found in the regular search results.

This is because there is little to no written copy to accompany the infographic. This could actually result in a penalization to your site in accordance with Google’s guidelines surrounding thin content.

In order for your infographic to drive the maximum amount of traffic from the SERPs and elevate your site accordingly, it is necessary to produce valuable content on the same page that the infographic lives on; this need be nothing more than a blog covering the materials discussed within the image.

Don’t repeat information from the infographic verbatim; use the talking points of the content to expand and enrich the conversation with additional context, statistics, and other valuable data.

2. Learn How to Recycle

Content frequency and consistency are two cornerstones to modern SEO practices. Each new piece of content that is published to your site draws Google’s bots back; the more frequently bots visit your site, the more likely it is that you will rank higher.

By way of example, in 2015 HubSpot uncovered that companies who published 16 or more blogs per month received nearly 3.5 times more traffic than those who published less frequently.

The problem is that this is a lot of original, high-quality content to be cranking out. At this rate, even a small team is likely to run out of ideas sooner rather than later.

This is where recycling or repurposing content becomes a lifesaver and SEO champion.

Once you create a piece of content, use the core information and talking points to spin it out into various other formats. This could mean taking a blog and turning it into an infographic, a video, a white paper, the topic of a podcast, a SlideShare presentation, or anything else that would support the content in a compelling fashion.

Since people consume content in a myriad of ways, this will help you to reach the maximum amount of consumers by creating something that requires minimal effort because the hard part is already done. And all of these creations can be shared multiple times through various channels to ensure that you get your money’s worth.

Sally Kane, an attorney, writer, and director of content for PaperStreet.com was recently tapped to share some insights as a successful online creator and she shared this exact tip:

“Creating online content that generates page views and social shares is time-consuming and challenging. To be successful, content creators must develop creative ways to recycle existing content. . . Repurposing existing content helps content creators work smarter and faster. A unique angle and amazing visuals (such as photos and charts) can increase the potential for your content to go viral.” 

3. Create Video Content

In today’s online world, video rules the roost. Video’s influence has become so widespread that the previous statement isn’t even up for debate; it’s fact.

Video has become so important because it provides consumers with an entertaining means to convey important information, making it a powerful force for communication and inspiring action.

Video has impacted the Internet so heavily that a few years ago it had no baring on rankings. Today, video is recognized as an indication of quality and its weighting will only become more substantial in the years to come.

Considering that Google also owns the world’s second largest search engine, YouTube, you know for sure that the big G is invested in the future of video content.

You can optimize your video content by including your main keywords in the title and metadata fields like descriptions, file names, tags, etc.

Additionally, by transcribing the video’s audio content, you can boost the content’s ranking as this copy is sure to be loaded with valuable keywords.

If your video content does start to slow down your site, however, it can actually harm your rankings. In this situation, use an embedded thumbnail to keep the video from playing until it is clicked.

You’re already spending your time, money, energy, and other resources to generate great content. Get the most out of your creations by including plenty of valuable supporting information, diversifying the content’s format, and by crafting and optimizing plenty of video content. This will not only allow you to maximize your content’s ROI, but it will help your website climb the SERPs and become an information destination within your industry.

What is your biggest challenge in creating visual content? Do you think that YouTube could ever become the world’s largest search engine and surpass Google?


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Conscious online marketer, web executive, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney has been creating and fostering online innovations since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, influencer marketing, community management, lead generation, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, and accomplished life coach.  Learn more on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.

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