The human brain processes an image 60,000 times quicker than they do written words. Although texts provide clarity and understanding to the audience, they aren’t enough. Studies show that 90 percent of information processed by the brain is visual.
Visuals have a greater impact and help products become more memorable. As a result, companies that use visual content can expect to see more engagement than those who choose not to use them in their digital campaigns.
Blogs featuring visual content tend to increase traffic 12 times quicker than those who choose not to, tweets with photos get retweeted 150 percent more than those who don’t have them, and Facebook posts containing images increase interaction rate at an average of 87 percent, compared to texts or links, which get 4 percent or less.
The Power of Visuals
Visual content such as images, videos, infographics, graphs, GIFs, and presentations are effective because these elements present information in a way that is stimulating, engaging, and attractive for most people.
This makes it easier to tickle people’s interests. Also, because the brain processes visual information quickly, it’s easier to understand, requires less effort, and is more enjoyable for your audience.
With machine learning helping in visual recognition, this means that the internet will become more visual, much more than it is now.
Visual content is a powerful asset that can enhance brand awareness, engagement, lead generation, and retention. However, it’s important to make sure that you’re implementing and using it the right way.
Here are the best practices in visual content marketing that will help you dominate search rankings in 2021.
1. Have Clear Goals
Determine what goals you’re trying to accomplish with your visual content. Ask yourself what you want people to do after they see or interact with your content.
The clearer your goals are and what you want to happen, the easier it will be to brainstorm and come up with ideas.
2. Develop the Right Visual Content Ideas
Brainstorm with your team and come up with ideas that align with your goals and audience. Before you go do a photoshoot, create an infographic, create a blog, or publish an e-book, you work with your team to come up with an idea that can be translated into a solid creative brief for any visual content you want to publish.
A creative brief will help everyone understand what needs to be done and stay on the same page.
Here are the elements you have to discuss and put into your creative brief :
Project or campaign name – The title of the campaign.
- Description of the campaign – Details and goals of the campaign.
- Budget – Allocated budget.
- Timeline – Schedule of the campaign, including its deliverables and duration.
- Target audience – This contains information about the audience for the campaign.
- Core brand thought or message – This can contain the tagline or the big idea.
- Supporting rationale – The explanation behind the brand thought or message.
- Tone – This is the specific tone that your brand will use in this campaign.
- Execution specifics – This indicates the format and other elements that are involved in the creation of the campaign
When brainstorming, make the problem clear to everyone; what the campaign or project is going to address and the goal the brand is going to achieve.
Always keep these questions in mind:
- How original is the idea?
- Does the idea fit your brand?
- What are the actions that you want your audience to take?
- Will the idea compel them to take action?
- Is your audience going to find the idea interesting?
- Does the idea align with your goals?
3. Choose the right format
When it comes to content, may it be visual or text, you have to take into consideration the format you’re going to use. Choose the format early since it will influence you to create the content and tell your story.
Visual content comes in many forms and different formats will require more work than others.
Conduct your research and look at what competitors are also doing. As you start exploring your options, keep in mind the cost, production time, and format.
4. Have a Strong Story to Tell
Visual content is about storytelling, and you want to connect with your audience by highlighting your brand’s values while solving your customer’s pain point. You want them to know who you are and what you can do to help them.
Here are some guide questions to use when crafting a story:
- Why do you want to tell the story?
- How is it unique?
- What value will it provide to your audience?
- What can they take away from it?
5. Ace your Design
The success of visual content relies on the design. When it comes to content marketing, a professional handling a campaign will help you get favorable results as well as prevent costly mistakes.
Here are some points to keep in mind when it comes to visual design.
- Establish a coherent visual hierarchy. Having an organized and obvious visual hierarchy will help your audience absorb information the right way. Whether it’s web design or an infographic, a cluttered design can confuse your audience, causing them to leave your website or abandon your post. Focus on simplicity and think about how to communicate your message so that users immediately understand it.
- Align your visual content. Stick to a grid and use consistent spacing throughout sections. Double-check your design to make sure that the simplest things like aligning your header (where the header starts) and the footer (where the footer ends) are consistent.
- Use illustrations sparingly. Visuals are used so that your audience can better see and understand your message. Every illustration should have a purpose, so don’t include an element that contributes to the clutter and not the message.
- Plan out your color scheme from the beginning. Use colors to enhance your visual content. Visualize what colors you want to use from the beginning and make sure they’re appropriate for the campaign or topic.
6. Image Format is Important
When uploading images on your website (logos, blog photos, and other elements) you have to be conscious about what format you’re using. The correct format will improve the overall site performance and speed, which will ensure that you rank higher on search results.
For example, the JPEG format is smaller in size and can increase website speed, however, the image quality isn’t that impeccable. On the other hand, using PNG images offer you better quality, but they can come in larger file sizes and can slow down your site.
Choose the right format and make sure that you maintain the balance between retaining the appeal of your visual content and optimizing your website.
7. Compress File Size
Although image format is important, it’s also necessary to be particular in the size of the file you’re uploading. The bigger the file size, the more time it will take to load. Research suggests that an average of 39 percent of visitors are more likely to leave if a page takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
You can maintain the quality of your images by compressing them correctly. This will reduce the size of the file, load quickly while having a good resolution for viewing.
8. Optimize Alt-Text
Alt-texts or alternative texts are words that appear when a photo fails to load. One of the main uses is to describe an image so that search engines can understand them better. They also help search engines like Google crawl and index your webpage more accurately. Alt-texts are also used for screen-to-speech translation to help convert content to the visually impaired.
Make sure to fill out the alt-text and optimize the image for SEO by inserting an important keyword. Inserting one or two will help boost your ranking. But refrain from using too many keywords to prevent a penalty for keyword stuffing.
9. Use the Right Keywords
Nailing the right keywords is important because they connect your content to people. With advancements in machine learning, search engines are becoming more effective in understanding images. Because more people rely on search engines to find what they need, It’s important to implement SEO whether it’s for texts or images to further increase your campaign or posts’ visibility to people who matter.
10. Implement Effective Link Building Strategies
SEO doesn’t just mean optimizing your website so that it can be crawled and indexed properly, it also involves off-page initiatives that will help boost your rankings.
Incorporating effective link building strategies is one example of enhancing your off-page SEO efforts. Link building is essentially the method of having other websites link back to your site.
This can be done by listing your site in trustworthy directories or having a site drop your link in their content or page.
Incorporating quality visuals in your website’s content attracts more links. This is especially true when talking about infographics.
Google has confirmed that links are important and they’re one of the main ranking factors aside from high-quality content. But always adhere to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines when it comes to link building. Any behavior that’s manipulative or violates the guidelines will be penalized.
Dominate Search Engines with Visual Content
Visual content plays a huge role in promoting your business, in gaining trust, and in influencing customer behavior. Apply the best practices so that your visual content reaches and engages people, and allows them to share it easily on other platforms, earning your content more clicks.
About the author
Itamar Gero is the founder of SEO Reseller, a global digital marketing solutions provider that empowers agencies and their local clients all over the world. When he isn’t working, he’s traveling the world, meditating, or dreaming (in code)..