Innovative, eye-catching visuals can lead to a gold mine of website and blog engagement. There’s that age old saying that a picture speaks a thousand words.
Using graphic features as focal points will attract reader’s eyes automatically to its location, according to the gestalt principles. First impressions are quickly made so put the strongest content close to the graphic focal point for readers to see early on.
Adding quality images, videos, infographics and slideshows is a top method of encouraging user engagement.
Using Open Graph to reach social media networks
Tapping into the networks of social media users is a fast track way to increasing your traffic, if done properly. So when a blog post gets shared, you better make it sure it looks good and is functional.
Facebook initiated Open Graph but now Twitter, Google+1 and others have evolved to recognise Open Graph tags, which allows bloggers to take advantage and grab people’s attention, enticing them to click-through.
First impressions are crucial and what looks better? A visually appealing link: complete with a bold image, a creative title, a clear and concise meta description, or a basic underlined hyperlink.
You need to chose the og:image whether by a WordPress plug-in, otherwise you will have to do it manually for each page. These are examples of title and description Open Graph meta tags:
<meta property=”og:title” content=”Insert title for share link here”/>
<meta property=”og:description” content=”insert meta description here”/>
It is recommended that og:image resolution is 1200×627 pixels at a 1.91/1 ratio and below 5MB. When your image is formatted to the recommended resolution, it will dominate the link – catching eyes and drawing attention.
Optimise images on web pages
Compensation is needed for technology’s inability to subjectively judge the quality of an image or video.
For this reason, providing images with image titles and alternative text is essential to give them value with search engines for SEO purposes. Both image title and alternative text offer lucrative opportunities to tag keywords.
WordPress plug-ins such as SEO Friendly Images makes attributing titles and alternate text for images much easier, and is also good for correcting un-optimised graphics.
For those who prefer to work in HTML, including a simple tag will optimise images with alternate text and titles. We’ve put the relevant parts in bold for you.
<img class=”alignleft size-medium wp-image-2204”
alt=”insert alternate text for image here” width=”300” height=”200”
title=”insert optimised title for image here”/>
If Google’s crawlers can find your image through the image and alternative text then it has a chance of ranking on Google Images as well as Google Search.
Bloggers should take every opportunity to get recognised and indexed by search engines to increase organic search traffic.
Choosing the right image
Beware of using thoughtless, low-quality stock photos. Don’t underestimate the negative effect of tacky graphics on click-through traffic.
Before finalizing the best image for the web page or blog post, you have to ask yourself if you get satisfaction from seeing the image on screen. Is it thought provoking? Does it make a bold statement? And does it provide contextual guidance for searchers?
The more reactions you ask for, the better you can predict the consumer’s reaction. After all, it’s them you want interacting with your web pages so you want to make the best impression.
Where to find the best images?
Unless you’ve got a natural talent for photography or graphic design, or you’ve got a budget to pay for professionals, then producing high quality images is difficult. The alternative is to look for stock photos that have relevance to the content.
Royalty-free images don’t grow on trees, so you’ll need to locate photos elsewhere. The last thing you want to do is infringe copyright laws, so be careful of just picking graphics off Google images as they would often require permission for use.
There are plenty of professional-quality sources for stock photos online, such as Image Source, that will offer subscription based service; some even offer limited access for free.
Image Source is a subscription service for quality stock photos that you can find in no time. Simply search for the desired photo content and filter the query with options such as: photo composition, orientation of photo, license type, number of people in photo and ages of people.
Make sure you carefully select and arrange your visual content to catapult user engagement. High quality information and dynamic visuals combined will boost shares on social media and increase the number of websites and blog posts linking to your web page.
If your web pages impress readers so that they continue looking, returning and spending longer amounts of time on your content, then Google’s crawlers will recognise those statistics, boosting the web page’s ranking.
So considering that impressive visuals can result in: more social shares, links to your web pages and a boosted Google ranking – it’s clear that graphic features are vital to success.