Make absolutely no mistake about it: SEO or “search engine optimization” is still one of the most important factors to consider in terms of your digital presence on a daily basis. The vast majority of all online interactions still begin with a search engine and the first few links on a page retain the lion’s share of the clicks for those particular terms – which means that not only do you want to rank prominently on an engine like Google, but you want to be as close to the top as you can possibly be.
To that end, one of the best ways to actually improve your SEO rankings has to do with the careful and strategic use of visual content. Whether you’re talking about images, videos or some combination of the two, there are a number of critical ways that visual content can dramatically boost your SEO efforts that are certainly worth exploring.
1. Visual Content Attracts Far More Backlinks
While it’s certainly true that Google keeps the specifics of its powerful SEO algorithm under lock and key, there are a few things we know for sure – like the fact that the more organic backlinks your content is able to generate, the higher it will rank for appropriate search terms.
According to one recent study, posts with video content in particular have a tendency to attract three times the number of backlinks than posts with only text – meaning that the simple act of including a video in the first place is enough to give your SEO efforts a significant bump.
2. Visual Content Increases Engagement
Another major factor that Google uses when determining page ranks has to do with engagement. Are people clicking on your link, skimming the content and then hitting the “Back” button, or are they genuinely reading, viewing and enjoying it? Obviously you always want to make sure you’re in the latter category, and visual content is the perfect way to do it.
Studies also show that including relevant images tend to produce engagement rates that are up to 650% higher (yes, you read that right) than those with only text.
3. It Helps on Social Media, Too
Your social media presence will also play a big part in the SEO rankings of your larger domain, as more social activity generally points to a more reputable website, which Google considers when compiling SERPS for various keywords.
When you consider that another recent study revealed that tweets with images earned A) 18% more clicks, B) 89% more “Favorites” and C) 150% more retweets than text-only tweets, it becomes very easy to see why this is such a good idea.
4. It’s What Your Audience Wants
Regardless of the type of business you’re running or even the industry you’re operating in, visual content is the trend that just won’t quit. Audiences all over literally can’t get enough of it and, in fact, at the end of 2017 video content alone represented 74% of ALL Internet traffic.
This is why OTT apps and services like Uscreen have become so important. Not only do they allow you to create, distribute, and monetize the type of content that your audience actually wants, but that mechanism also helps to dramatically boost your larger SEO efforts as well.
5. It Broadens Your Reach
One of the reasons why video content in particular can make a big impact on your SEO has to do with what it allows you to do when leveraged properly. When you make the decision to sell videos on your blog, for example, you’re giving yourself yet another chance to connect with a large segment of consumers who are already interested in products and services like yours. Consider the fact that in 2015, 21% of people who responded to a survey said that they watch online videos to learn something new. Another 14% say they watch videos to pursue a hobby or interest and 13% use videos to learn or progress in a particular task.
When you employ video content in ways like this, you’re moving beyond the realm of marketing and into the educational space in the best possible way. The content itself becomes the product to be sold, bringing a new layer of engagement to an already valuable relationship between you and your consumers at the exact same time.
6. It Can Take Your Niche Website to the Next Level
If you’ve already started making an effort to nichify your online presence – and you should be – video content can help take your niche website to the next level in a number of powerful ways. Never forget that regular visitors to niche sites tend to be very committed to those sites as opposed to sites that attract a larger (and less engaged) audience. Because the content is focused at a smaller group of people, it gives you a chance to get very specific and personal with what you’re doing. That in turn builds loyalty and enthusiasm, which gives way to engagement, which generates the same types of SEO gains that we were talking about earlier.
Niche websites may be difficult to monetize, sure – but again, that’s where OTT services have you covered. By creating video content that you can then sell to your users (on something like a subscription or piece-by-piece basis), it gives you the chance to get a genuine revenue stream up and running. As your site rises through the SERPS on sites like Google, that revenue stream will only become more powerful as a result.
7. Visual Content Helps With Awareness Significantly
Finally and perhaps most importantly, visual content can help dramatically improve your SEO efforts because it plays directly into the way the human brain works in the first place.
Human beings are visual learners – this has always been true and it always will be. According to one recent study, when people hear information, they’re usually only going to remember about 10% of it three days later. When you pair that same information with relevant visuals, however, that number jumps to 65%.
Visual content not only helps you make a better and more effective connection with your audience, but it actually helps you provide them with the value they’re looking for in the first place. This in turn creates a more loyal, passionate audience, and your SEO is only going to improve as a result.
PJ is the founder of Uscreen, a platform that helps anyone make money by selling videos online. PJ enjoys spending time outdoors, biking, and he never stops learning.