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4 Reasons to Think Visually in Your Content

By Mariah Ore | April 21, 2015

Content may be king, but this doesn’t just mean sentences. Images are an extremely valuable form of content that can boost your traffic, improve your conversion rates, and even contribute to raising your rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Americans have roughly an 8-second attention span (less than the 9-second attention span of a goldfish), which means that marketing materials need to work fast to spark interest. I’m not suggesting you get rid of text by any means, but it needs to be balanced by photos, infographics, and other high-quality images if you’re going to get the most out of the work you put into it.

If you need some great reasons to focus on visuals, see below. I apologize in advance for piling on the statistics -- there are just so many good ones!

1. Including images makes message delivery more successful.

According to a Stern Associates infographic, viewers spend 100% more time on pages with visual content. NewsCred also says that articles with images get 94% more views than those without.

A word to the wise: make that time count.

When you need to make sure you get a message across, you can combine images to gain more readership. In reality, all of your content should be put together with the intent of sending a message, so all of your content should have some sort of visual aid to improve delivery success.

2. Done right, images can help your SEO. 

Bots can’t see images, so in order to get SEO power from the images you have in place, make sure to use best practices.

Yoast advises choosing a filename that includes important keywords, instead of just leaving it as an auto-assigned jpg file. To ensure a fast loading time, which factors into user experience and therefore rankings, make sure you have the proper file size for your platform and that you scale the images appropriately.

And just as important as including an image in the first place is determining how you can use text to make the image more visible. Including a caption or making sure that in many cases, users actually read captions more often than the body text of an article, in which case including a caption seems to be extremely valuable.

However, Yoast advises against making this a blanket approach, as ultimately supporting user experience is the primary goal. “Keeping over-optimization in mind,” writes Yoast’s Michiel Heijmans, “I’d say you should add a caption if it would make sense to the visitor if that caption is added.”

For more detailed instructions on getting the most SEO power out of your images, check out the rest ofHeijman’s article.

social media

3. Image content spreads faster on social media.

Images are central to social media consumption, which means that your content will spread much faster if it contains an image. On Facebook, photos have an 87% interaction rate, while on Twitter, tweets with photos receive 150% more retweets.

Since the point of posting on social media is to increase your reach and encourage engagement, including images (or better yet -- videos) it should be a go-to. And don’t forget to use your resources, such as tags, hashtags, links, and yes, some well-chosen text with a soft, one-line CTA, summary, title, or catchphrase.

4. High-quality visual content conveys transparency & crediblity

Getting back to basics, images are central to branding, building credibility, and showcasing products and services.

From NewsCred: did you know that 46% of people polled said that a company’s website is their #1 criterion for determining credibility? With this statistic in mind, presenting a website with an excellent design, including a pleasing image-text balance and visual evidence of industry success could really boost sales.

And according to Jeff Bulas, 67% of consumers say the quality of a product image is very important in selecting and purchasing a product -- which makes sense, considering that when purchasing from an ecommerce store, users are about to buy something they haven’t seen with their own eyes.

Wrapping up…
Incorporating images into your marketing mix is probably something you’re already working on, since it’s old news and here to stay. But are all your images working for you? Take this opportunity to make sure there is intent behind your photos, and remind yourself that this is an area that deserves time, budget, and attention.

And don’t forget to have fun with it!

Mariah Ore

Though she’s not great at writing bios, Mariah can write case studies, articles, and even emails (wow!). When she's not working on Logical Position’s blog or marketing materials, you can find her salsa dancing, writing poetry, exploring Portland, and just hanging out with friends.