Picture Perfect: The Role of Visual Content in SEO Strategy

In SEO Strategy by Marius Badenhorst

They say a picture speaks 1000 words, and any SEO that has experienced the benefits of a well-executed image strategy will tell you it also has the potential to generate Return on Investment in the thousands. And according to industry insiders, image SEO strategy isn’t a mere flash in the pan – visual content is more popular than ever before, and it won’t be fading into the background anytime soon.

As a long-time SEO copywriter, my knee-jerk reaction is to defend the tools of my trade and say that words will always be superior to images when it comes to SEO strategy; that a carefully-worded article crafted to perfectly balance optimisation with creative expression will do more for any SEO agency’s strategy than a simple “pretty picture” ever could. However, as a copywriter I also know that searchers respond better to articles that draw the eye easily to relevant points in the content by using:

•    Short and concise paragraphs;
•    Headings and subheadings;
•    Bulleted lists;
•    Infographics;
•    Images and video content.

This points towards a decidedly visual culture online, and highlights the need for agencies to adjust their SEO strategies accordingly. Like it or not, searchers are undeniably fond of those pretty pictures, and if you’re still in any doubt, the stats speak for themselves:

Approximately 250 million photographs are uploaded to the social network daily, and according to a study by Harvard Business School, activities cantered around visual content account for around 70% of all Facebook activities. This includes image uploads, comments and Likes.

MediaVision has blogged before about the role Pinterest could play in SEO strategies, and the social photo sharing platform really is red-hot right now, with over 11 million registered users. These statistics have led SEO agencies to include Pinterest as part of their strategy for clients, particularly those in the retail sector.

According to Shareaholic, Pinterest is currently driving more referral traffic than YouTube, Google Plus and LinkedIn all put together! In fact, Pinterest could soon be giving Twitter a run for its money – check out Shareaholic’s referral traffic report for more details…

This platform is a photo sharing favourite worldwide, attracting its first 1 million users a mere 2 months after launching and soaring to 15m by the end of last year, with a rate of 60 image uploads every second.

While skilled copywriting, both in onsite and meta copy, will always remain an essential component of any SEO strategy, it would be unwise to dismiss the importance of the role played by visual content; this is the age of the image, and the time has come to embrace visual content as a part of the “bigger picture”.

About the Author

Marius Badenhorst