Five ways to improve your SEO with Visual Content

Increasing sales, driving engagement and interaction with prospective customers, extending the reach of your brand to new audiences - just three reasons why visual content is such a critical part of your marketing content strategy. Irrespective of the size of your business, first impressions count, and similar to the real world, judgements can be made as quickly as a tap of the ‘esc’ button.

According to HubSpot, 32% of marketers say visual images are the most important form of content for their business but, selecting visual content for your brand covers so much more than a few pretty pictures. It is a multifaceted challenge. Do I use stock or create my own? How will I consistently capture the essence of my brand and my products? How can I ensure everything works on mobile and desktop devices while at the same time improve my ranking on image searches?

Here are five tips - some techie, others more brand experience related, that combined will help you to optimise your visuals and up your chances of being found and liked on the web.

1 – Keep your audience top of mind

If you take nothing else away from this article, remember this, when it’s time to select or create visual content, prioritise visuals that your audience will find engaging and not just what will rank well in search engines.  Platforms like YouTube, Google Images and Pinterest show users search results that are relevant and useful based on the search they have made. If a user clicks onto your result, sees an uninspiring, poor quality, or irrelevant image or video they’ll just bounce right back to the search engine and, the SEO effort will have been a complete waste of time. So, never compromise content quality for SEO superiority. Enough said! But more than that, create a picture of your audience - what does your typical customer drink / wear / go / do? What do they value or aspire to? Spend some time constructing a strong image of your audience so that you can start to recognise content, not just visual that is either on, or off point.

2 – Only use stock imagery when you really have to

The imagery you choose to represent your brand needs to set you apart and distinguish your products. Stock photography has its place but it doesn’t always cut the mustard. Custom imagery, however, will capture the uniqueness of your brand and give you more control over your visual elements. You can also be certain that no one else will be using the same imagery. Custom photography and video footage give consistency to the overall look of your visual content and help establish or confirm your brand identity.

3 – Tag your images

One mistake that’s easy to make is not tagging your images. Tags are simply keywords used to describe a piece of data, whether it's a web page, a digital photo or another type of digital document. Search engines consider tags as relevant content. They need only be a simple brief description, nothing overly verbose or technical. By tagging your images you will help people discover your brand, find your products and share your content. They’ll also give you a leg up on competitors who may not have tagged their images! Also, for double points, make sure you name your image in a way that helps it to be found - avoid: photoshoot10057 and instead save your image with a description of the content - e.g.: mens brown brogue shoes - autumn2018.

4 – Consistency is king

This is an important one. If you are to attract a loyal following and grow your audience you need to be consistent. From a visual perspective, consistency doesn’t mean monotonous. It means recognisable. Visual consistency builds your brand through the use of colour, tone and imagery. Your brand reputation is built on being recognised across multiple platforms. Brands that use imagery to help connect the dots along the various customer touch points provide a more cohesive and reliable experience for shoppers. From a practical point of view, start pulling together a mood board of your favourite images - what works well, what connects them - whether it is texture, colour, subject etc… Write down a list of likes and dislikes. Then compare this to your ‘picture’ of your ideal audience. How would they react?

5 – Think mobile first

Search engines are becoming increasingly focused on the experience and behaviour of mobile users, Mobile traffic is surpassing desktop traffic, which means it is now even more crucial to optimize images for different device sizes. To ensure your visuals work as well on a mobile device as they do on a desktop, be sure that your web developer uses image optimisation techniques. Images should be properly sized for fast loading and in proportion for the best possible customer experience.

SEO & Visual Content: Final thoughts

Creating brand specific, audience relevant visuals that are compelling, properly labelled and optimised for different sized devices will boost audience engagement, brand discoverability and overall customer experience. It’s a creative, fun experience, which combines both art and science. Taking time out to really evaluate where you are now and the brand direction you wish to take, will help you accelerate your visual identity, as you move forward.

Need help or advice with your visual content?

Here at Glassmint, we’re dedicated to delivering exceptional imagery and video content for our clients. If you think it’s time your visuals put your audience first, then we’d love to talk to you about how we do that. Get in touch today and let’s talk about how we can create visual content for your brand that gives both consumers and search engines what they’re looking for.