Each time this comes up there is always a debate in the community. Eyes are rolled, pitchforks are brought out, and scuffles take place. The debate dies down for a year but low-and-behold it comes back every single time there is a major change to search algorithms.
But this time… are we really moving beyond SEO?
What we are seeing in this modern age of the Web is a mass migration away from long-form content in place of visual content. Memes are commonplace, image macros are plentiful, services like Instagram is flourishing, and the #selfie is ruling the social.
People want visual content because it’s easy to consume.
Over a billion images are shared each day:
- 75% of Tumblr posts are images
- Facebook is littered with eCards, image macros, and auto-play videos
- Twitter is quickly becoming visually dominated versus the text tweet
SEO has long since relied on the written word as a major part of what helps rank in search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. The searches were about keywords… not images and videos.
SEO needs to evolve.
Visuals are shaping the way SEO is going and it breaks down into three major considerations:
1. Not just keywords but uses
Let’s say you sell mountain bikes.
Your typical, keyword rich description may be something along the lines of “12 speed mountain bike, blue, sturdy frame, 18 inch tires, and shock resistant”. The description is what we come to expect because that’s how it’s always been.
How it’s changing…
When people search they are looking not just for the image but how it’s used. They want to see the product in action so instead of a mountain bike set to a white background they’d like to see a rider taking it through the trails.
The keywords you begin to use describe the situations which opens the flood gate of long-tail keywords so that basic description morphs into something like “The ideal 12 speed mountain bike for rough terrain – tested in the Rockies and built tough for the professional mountain biker”.
2. Leverage the consumer point of view
Quick: What is the first thing that pop into your head when you think of an iPad?
Gut reaction may have you thinking it’s a tablet that allows you to have many different things from work to play. It’s portable, can play media, and is all around a very neat alternative to a desktop computer.
But what does the consumer see?
The gut reaction may be something along the lines of:
- It’s a tool to help teach my children through school apps
- It’s my primary source for when I want to read books
- It’s what sits on my night stand so I can watch movies until I sleep
Use those insights in the product descriptions and visual creative (it really is what works when it comes to using social at its finest).
People “get” that it’s a product that fulfils some form of need or desire but don’t expect them to pick up on the nuances just from looking at the sales page, image, or video. Collect how people use a product/service and place that into the description to give it an organic feel. Match the visuals to the lifestyle and people will engage because they want that experience.
3. Let it speak for itself
Following on the last paragraph is the concept that we all have heard “a picture is worth a thousand words” but think beyond that to “a picture is worth a thousand reactions”.
GoPro is a great example of marketing done right. Instead of touting the camera features, hardware, and all that technobabble they relied on the experience people had when using the camera and now it has them at the forefront of their market.
Visual stimulation can hit you like a ton of bricks where words can be forgotten. Remember this when piecing together your creative. Try to have your visual stand out on their own so there isn’t a need for text to go along side what’s being shown.
A great image will quickly spread around the Web. Once piqued in interest the leads will follow.
Let’s rewind and go back to that gloom and doom of “SEO is Dead”.
Is it? No, it’s simply evolving with the times.
SEO is shifting away from keyword rich content to that which is heavily dominated by imagery because that’s what people want. People bond with a great visual because it’s easy to understand without very little commitment. Use that to your advantage in whatever area of your website, marketing, or advertising you may be doing at this time.
Post inspired by MarketingProfs.