Experts can offer whatever reasoning they want about why sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest became successful, but at the end of the day it’s a no-brainer that they turned pictures into the ultimate addictive hook to their sites and apps. We are visualizing creatures. We love to see things more than we love to read about them.
On social media, images rule.
On search, images can help you rule.
This knowledge is why it’s so baffling to me why there are so many websites that don’t take advantage of pictures. I’m not talking about adding images to the top of blog posts or putting pictures of your products on detail pages. I’m talking about full blown picture pages, what many wrongly categorize as galleries, that give multiple opportunities and an abundance of reasons to share the page on social media.
If your website doesn’t have visual triggers, people won’t share it if you’re not the Huffington Post or NY Times. It’s that simple. With the rise of social signals as an important component to the search ranking algorithms, a lack of picture pages on your site is a huge mistake. Here’s how it all works:
Single Image Page
Sometimes, we can focus all of our efforts into a single image. It needs to be an epic image, of course, and as with any piece of content that you put on your website it should be accompanied by text with a full description, but despite the ease of creating these types of pages you have a tremendous impact on your search while giving you great content to also post on your social pages.
In the example above, the image is large and lovely. It’s on a Chevy dealer website, and while they aren’t likely to have a ’67 on their lot, they definitely have Camaros. Because dealer websites often have a challenge getting social signals to their domains, content like this on an individual page can help with the overall ranking of the website. This particular piece of content had a modest 11 Facebook likes, 14 Google +1s, and 27 retweets, but the 73 Pins were a nice boost. Despite being low by many sites’ standards, this level of social signals is hard to come by for many business sites.
Note as with any piece of content and particularly with images, it’s important to always include link attribution to the source. If you didn’t take the picture, give credit where credit is due.
Multiple Image Page
Sometimes, it’s best to focus on a single topic and put multiple images on a page to flesh it out. This is exceptionally important for location-based topics. The screenshot above is from a page that shows 10 images of the Seattle Space Needle. For a local Seattle business, this is an ideal type of page to get customers and potential customers to share the website through social media because it’s something they’re proud of and have completely familiarity with. It did better than the previous single image post, getting 24 Facebook likes, 27 +1s 192 retweets, and 55 Pins.
These type of content pages obviously take more time, but remember that sharing them on your own social pages is easier with multiple images. It can be the gift that keeps on giving because you can share the same page multiple times while keeping the content fresh by highlighting a different image every time.
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Social media is about images. You are probably posting images today from other sources onto your social media profiles. By adding the step of putting that content on your own website first and sharing it from there, you’re able to double-dip the social sharing. In essence, you’re keeping your own social profiles interesting while spreading the search benefits onto your website rather than nowhere or onto a different website. We’re normally not fans of adding extra steps, but this time it’s worth it.