As webmasters, a spot in the top three positions, on page one of the SERPs is our goal.
While many webmasters focus on building links, many forget the all important factor of User Experience, UX. User experience is how your visitors feel and interact with your site. If your site is a mass of mismatched text, jarring colours and Flash animation, even if you are at the top of the search results for your selected keyword, visitors will leave as soon as they land.
While many webmasters generally know what makes a web page look good, they still fail at the proper use of images.
As humans, our natural inclination is to pay more attention to something that is visually interesting instead of plain text. Smart webmasters take advantage of this primal inclination and use photos, graphics, drawings, graphs/charts and infographics on their sites.
The Power of an Image.
It has been proven that ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, so why not let the image do the work for you? This is particularly important when you are writing about a new item, a person or a place. A clear picture can answer plenty of questions that words just cannot express. Talking about the sleek lines of that yacht or attempting to describe the cosy appeal of that new mattress in words, only goes so far, but a picture of that new car or adorable bed and breakfast will close the sale.
Images touch our emotions as we try to relate to them, no matter how abstract they are. The power of those emotions attracts us and compels us to take some kind of action. It may be to click away from the page, or be drawn into the text on the page.
This emotion is the main driver for the business of brand recognition through symbols. Each of the major social media sites post statistics regarding the success of sites and the one thing that the most popular sites have in common is the use of images and easily recognisable brand logos.
Make the most of the exposure.
Another big benefit of using images on your site is that if you upload the image to your site and optimise it, your site can be found in the search engines for that keyword. Adding a relevant title and tags to the image can attract visitors using Image Search.
Associating a keyword with an image file allows your site to be found when the keyword is searched for. This helps you to attract many more visitors to your blog. As you increase the usage of images in your blogs, it is a good idea to create your own database with all your images for easy access.
Placement: Right or Left?
Proper placement of the images improves their overall effectiveness. While you want to engage them, you also don’t want pictures that disrupt the flow of the text on your page. The picture needs to be clear and able to be viewed in a larger format, when the visitor clicks on it.
Opinions differ on the ideal location for the first image in your post, but there is a consensus that the top left or top right of the first paragraph should include a relevant image. Other places to intersperse your images are halfway through your content and at the bottom of the post. The brain’s ability to process this type of visual information makes this a much faster, more effective way to communicate your message to the visitors to your site.
Getting images can be an obstacle for webmasters, as there is the issue of copyright infringement. DO NOT just search for an image in Google and use the first picture you see. You will be infringing on someone’s copyright. Many photo sharing sites allow you to use the beautiful, relevant and quirky pictures people upload, as long as you follow the guidelines for their attribution.
Watch your rankings rise.
When used properly and creatively; think line drawings or even graphs, images add to the positive UX visitors can get from your site. If your site is known to be useful and people share your URLs, your site will rise automatically in the SERPs.
Utilise the power of emotion and association with visuals to draw more attention to your posts and enjoy the higher rankings that come with it.