Okay we have all heard the expression “A picture is worth a thousand words” at least one thousand times. But what does a picture do for a search engine; is it worth a thousand words to them? Well yes and no. Search engines love media rich sites and so do your readers.
People are moving more toward experiencing websites and less about just reading them. The more interactive the site is, the longer your readers will stay on the website. This also helps build your readers trust with you and makes your site more of an authority one. If the search engines see your site as an authority site then you move up the rankings.
Images help peak readers’ interest and possibility of them to share the content, thereby creating more traffic to your website as well. No one likes to read an article without a single picture, graphic or video. You must be careful to make sure that your pictures, graphics and videos, flow with your subject of your article. For example it would make no sense to have pretty photos of a horse running through a field if your article was about goldfish.
You should also tag your photos so that search engines understand what they are about. Search engines cannot tell what a picture is about but if you caption or write a description of the media file on the back-end the search engines can understand what it is. The search engines love media rich content on your webpage.
What Pictures Should I Use?
Don’t ever use pictures you do not have the rights to use. You cannot use images from Google. That is just asking for trouble. You should also stay away from cheesy stock photos. While they used to be great to use, the internet and your customers can see right through them and it actually decreases their experience.
You really need to use images you have the rights to use on your blog or website. They should be royalty free images, or images you take yourself. This will decrease the chances that you could get sued for the images.
Where can I find Images?
Here is a screenshot of a search for “Mountain” at Dollar Photo club. There were over 700,000 results but you can see the quality of the photos you can purchase. They have two rules. Rule one all photos are a dollar. Rule two all photos are only a dollar. That is it, they are royalty free images that you can use when you buy them.
Editing the Images
Customizing your photos is easy. Once you have the photo you may customize it to suit your purposes. Add something to it. Put text in the writing, change the way it looks, the list goes on and on. Photoshop is probably the best photo/graphic editor out there. But there are other free alternatives as well. I liked to use Paint.net, it is a great program with lots of versatility and it is freeware!
Here you can see an image of a castle and that I took out the antenna and the vapor trail, the signs on the door and the person’s head in the lower left corner. It is easy to do and only takes a few minutes to complete. In this case I used the freeware Paint.net file as mentioned above. You can find it at GetPaint.net.
It can take some time to find or make a good graphic but it is well worth it in the end. The correct picture can increase your conversion rates; increase your retention time of your readers; and increase your rankings. Once you find them they are easy to manipulate and make custom to your needs. It actually is fun to make the picture your own.
If you have any questions or comments please leave them below, I welcome your feedback.