As much as keyword use, topic relevance, and readability increase your SEO, your blog post visuals can make or break your posts. Google algorithms are constantly changing, and they don’t just apply to the written word.
For the most engaging and search-worthy articles, bloggers and content managers must have a discerning eye to top-quality images that add interest and “wow” to the material they produce. It turns out that blog photo selection is about more than picking something pretty or cool or cute.
Join us as we outline how to choose winning photos that back up your content while up-leveling your search rank.
If you’d rather focus on serving your clients and running your business than the details of high-ranking content, contact Romain Berg. We’re a full-service marketing agency with the highest quality content production services.
Fill out our contact form today, and we’ll help you create and implement a content strategy that converts.
Who cares about pictures, anyway?
Why are pictures even a thing in blog articles? To answer that question, you might search Google for blogs on your favorite trending topic.
Once you’ve pulled up a few posts, notice which ones grab your attention and keep you focused on the content.
Is it the ones with the text walls that offer no visual break as you scroll? Or the ones that raise your eyebrows with a photo of a skier just before she throws herself down a mountain face? (If you’ve Googled “How to be an extreme skier,” for example.)
We would bet big money on the second option. Google notices when users stay put with articles. It’s called a “bounce rate,” and the longer your bounce rate, the higher your search rank.
Images should always add value
The primary objective of your blog photos is to add value so that visitors stick around longer and remember your name and products.
As you’re selecting imagery for your article, your first question ought to be, “what value does this photo add to my content?” We’ll get to the brass tacks of photo selection and boosting photo SEO right now.
Here are a few examples of images that add value to blog content:
- Visual aids for a process you describe
- A flow chart
- Pictures of the finished dish sprinkled throughout a recipe blog
- Photos of the cooking process as it unfolds
- A diagram of a specific product with specs
- Images of people enjoying a service you provide
- Values-based photography–capturing people displaying caring, honesty, offering help or assistance
- An organizational graph to back up your text
- Branded visual templates with rotating thematic infographics
- Screen shots
How many visuals do I need?
There is no hard and fast SEO rule for an optimal number of photos in a post. We recommend inserting at least four visual media per 1000 words of text, give or take.
Trust your intuition here. When you preview your post and the photos you’ve put in, do they make sense? Do they back up the material you want to emphasize? Does your post seem cluttered with photos? Is there a good “flow” of text to visuals?
These questions all help you compose the right blend of visuals and text. Reach out to an internal focus group, or even a few trusted friends to see if your pictures resonate with them the way they did with you.
People are powerful SEO boosters
Photos of faces or active bodies tend to build trust with your audience. It’s okay to choose stock photos of groups or individuals, but make sure the people you choose match the text you’re publishing.
Instead of a smiling, handsome man at the beginning of a paragraph, show that same man finding success doing the thing you’re showcasing in your article.
If you’re writing about the health benefits of volunteering for a community service project, show a group of happy, exuberant people pitching in to build a house, or serve food to hungry people. You get the idea.
If you’re promoting yourself as a service provider, post quality headshots, or action shots of you doing your thing and solving your client’s problems. Your audience needs to trust you.
When they see you, they can begin building a relationship with you by spending more time with your content, which boosts your search rankings.
Keep it legal, sharp, and relevant
Though it may seem obvious to some of our readers, making sure your images are legally downloaded or reproduced is a sound foundation from which to build your visual library.
When you subscribe to photo services like Adobe or Shutterfly, your subscription allows you to legally download and reuse the photos they curate on their sites. Other sites like Pixabay and Canva offer free or very low-cost downloads for many of their photos.
Instead of searching up pictures of kittens and then posting them willy-nilly, protect yourself and your business by vetting your photos for licensure with a trusted subscription service.
The photo quality is usually miles better than the rogue alternatives, and your audience will engage more reliably with your quality choices. If your customers can trust your content, they’ll also begin trusting your overall service or product integrity.
Make your own quality visuals
Speaking of Canva, they also allow users to create a wide variety of quality images at no cost.
You can create all kinds of branded templates like flow charts, pictographs, backgrounds, and more that fit smoothly and relevantly into your blog posts. You can upload your own high-quality photos to add to your creations (think food blogs) or purchase from the Canva library at only $1 per photo.
Once you’ve created your templates, you can download them for free and use them over and over again. You can also save your branded visuals to your Canva account and tweak them a bit for each article you write.
PNG, JPG, or GIF? What matters most for SEO is file size.
Uploaded blog visuals may as well be alphabet soup. However, regardless of which file format you choose, be sure to shrink the file size of your photos once you have them in your post.
Large size photo files will increase your site loading time, which can impact your user engagement. If your photos take too long to load, your reader will head to another link from their original search.
JPG files are widely supported and generally smaller in size, so a JPG file may be your first choice. However, if your JPG file comes out blurry when you preview your blog post, try a PNG file instead for the sharpest results.
Then, follow the instructions in the link above to improve your site loading speed as much as possible.
The proof is in the alt tags
An alt tag is a text description of what’s going on in your photos. Google uses these to crawl your posts and look for keywords and other descriptors to place you in searches.
WordPress makes editing alt tags a snap with their media upload dashboard. When you upload a photo, you’ll get a window with spaces to add or edit alt tags, picture titles, captions, photo size, and more.
We don’t love captions because they tend to clutter your post landscape in most cases. But, we always edit alt tags to provide a written photo description, using keywords wherever possible.
You can be as descriptive as you like in your alt tags because only Google will see it. That is, unless you run into a slow photo load, in which case your audience can still read what the picture is about. Visually impaired users can also gain access to alt tags as well for a description of your imagery.
Partner with Romain Berg for images that blow up your SEO
Some owners love writing, curating, and publishing regular, relevant content. Most owners may want to do this task, but have little time to do it well.
That’s where we come in. Content curation and optimization is one of the many marketing skills we do well, and we have the metrics to prove it.
When you’re ready to create content that converts site visitors to customers, we have you covered. Contact us today and find out more about how Romain Berg delivers results, not hype, for your blog.