Both Google and Bing search engine result pages are becoming more visual. There are image snapshots, video thumbnails, image search results showing up all around search results.
Consequently, creating high-quality images is quickly turning into one of the marketing priorities for a conversion-driven image SEO strategy.
For a couple of years now, Google has shown image thumbnails in mobile search results.
Furthermore, there are image search results blended within general organic search results – both on mobile and desktop devices.
On top of that, there is often an image inside Google’s featured snippet, which appears on top of Google’s organic search results in the most prominent place.
In addition, Bing’s search results have always been even more visual, showing carousels, video thumbnails and more.
How Do Increasingly Visual SERPs Impact Buying Decisions?
Image thumbnails scattered around Google’s search results are changing the SEO game. Images are well known for their ability to steal attention and clicks across the board.
- Articles with images have been found to get 94% more views. Other studies claim that it’s actually 650% better.
- Tweets with images earn up to 18% more clicks.
- Well-designed images increase people’s desire to read content by 80%.
- Eye-tracking studies of Google’s SERPs show a strong influence of visual and enhanced results on click-through, as shown in the heat maps below.
An older eye-tracking study also confirms the impact of images on click-through.
Moz did that eye-tracking study back in 2011 when Google was just starting to show video thumbnails in search results, when there were fewer of those than we see these days.
The study concluded that each of the subjects’ eye movements focused even more on the first video thumbnail than they did at the first organic result.
Have you been investing in a long-term SEO strategy to finally achieve that #1 or #2 position for your target query?
Well, it’s likely that you’re now losing clicks to a visual featured snippet appearing on top of your sought-after SERPs. Or your lower-ranking competitor may be attracting more clicks than you do thanks to a more clickable search snippet.
Apart from an obvious impact on click-through, images are able to set and transform expectations so that people arrive at your landing page knowing what your content holds for them. And you’d better deliver.
On top of that all, visual content is known for creating brand recognizability and memorability. Studies show that people remember 65% of the visual content they see for up to three days.
So unless you create consistent visual presence in Google SERPs, you may be losing that opportunity to a competitor.
How to Create a Conversion-Driven Image SEO Strategy
1. Point Google to the Correct Image
There’s one confirmed method to ensure Google will pick a correct – if any – image to display inside your search snippet in search. However, if you use all of the following ways, your odds are pretty high.
- Use fundamental image optimization tactics as well as newer image SEO tricks and other top SEO trends, including structured markup.
- Specify image thumbnails by adding a PageMap – a block of code – to the <head> section of your page.
- For articles and blog posts, make sure to specify a featured image, which will be a strong signal showing Google which of the on-page images is the primary one.
2. Match Image Content to Search Intent
Remember how I mentioned above that images inside Google’s SERPs are likely to influence both organic click-through and on-page engagement by forming a certain expectation?
This is exactly why matching your on-page image to search intent is so important.
Before creating your page primary image, make sure to do the following.
- Search for your target query on a mobile device to see which images are currently showing up in search and what kind of a signal they may be sending to a user.
- Use Text Optimizer, a semantic analysis tool that clusters your target query into underlying concepts helping you to better match Google’s and users’ expectations.
Use concepts suggested by Text Optimizer to create a more relevant image as well as create a better-matching copy surrounding it.
Close context surrounding an image sends a strong signal to Google as to what the image is about and whether it’s likely to be useful to Google’s users. So building a semantically optimized copy will help Google pick and feature the right image.
3. Use Consistent Branding
Use consistent branding (and colors) throughout all your visual assets to create brand recognizability. The most effective way to create consistent visual marketing is to set your branding kit inside Visme.
By using the feature, you can establish each of the following for your brand.
- Logo (to use as a watermark, for example)
Once you establish everything, let your team use your kit every time they need to create images for content or social media marketing purposes.
4. Label Images for Commercial Intent
Include an image in your product structured markup for those images to be labeled with “product.” This could drive additional clicks to your webpage.
This is especially important for those search queries that trigger image results. This is where images can actually steal most of the clicks as visual shopping is very powerful.
Some of those images will have the “Product” label making it clear you can buy the product.
This is where images can actually influence buying decisions, and it better be your images rather than your competitors’.
When developing a product page copy, make sure there are powerful product pictures available and that the page uses structured markup.
When the page is up, always run Google’s testing tool to ensure the code is verified.
5. Reuse Your Featured Image in On-Site CTAs
So you got Google to feature a correct image inside your search snippet.
Now make the most of that success by personalizing your users’ experience using the same image inside opt-in forms and/or CTAs.
By reusing images that appear in organic SERPs in on-site CTAs and forms, users may feel more willing to engage after seeing a familiar asset that drove them to the site from search results in the first place.
You can use a software like Finteza to create an on-site campaign that would include the same image as a banner.
You can even set up a personalized campaign to only serve these CTAs and banners to those who landed on your site by clicking Google search results from a mobile device – so they must have seen that image in SERPs.
If the campaign performs well, consider using the same image further inside your sales funnel to ensure your site users feel confident as they follow the path to a conversion.
6. Reuse Your Image on Social Media
Finally, to create a consistent cross-channel presence, reuse your primary images across your social media channels.
This can be effectively achieved by using collaborative sharing dashboard like Agorapulse to handle multi-level social media sharing to Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
With Viral Content Bee, you can get other people’s help to promote your image and build brand recognizability. When adding a new project, add your image for “Allow people to tweet” and “Allow people to pin on Pinterest” options.
This will ensure VCB users will be promoting that exact image when sharing your article.
It’s also a good idea to reuse the same image in Facebook remarketing campaigns to reach site visitors who clicked the specific search result but left without converting.
Naturally, with so many channels you can’t reuse the same image as it as because different platforms have different requirements in terms of image dimensions.
Conversion-Driven Image SEO Takeaways
- As Google SERPs are becoming more visual, images can directly impact your online visibility by influencing organic click-through and consequent on-page engagement – and hence conversions.
- To point Google to the best-fitting image, use fundamental image SEO principles as well as structured markup.
- Match your on-page image to search for intent to set the correct expectations.
- Use schema.org to label product photos as “products.”
- Reuse images appearing in Google SERPs in on-site CTAs and across your social media channels.