Amanda DiSilvestro gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice ranging from keyword density to recovering from algorithm updates. She writes for HigherVisibility, a nationally recognized SEO consulting firm that offers national and local SEO services to a wide range of companies across the country.
Now that the fireworks are over, businesses are back to the drawing board to try and figure out how to stay competitive and set themselves apart in the industry. One of the most important things that a business can do is look to the future and try to prepare for some of the upcoming 2013 trends that experts are expecting to see. When it comes to SEO, social media, web design, and even content, there seems to be one thing in common—the importance of visual.
It might sound obvious, but visuals are going to be more important than ever because more and more people are trying to tap into the blog sphere, more websites are beginning to put a focus on SEO, and readers’ attention spans are dwindling because of it. In 2013 readers will expect the best and the most interesting, and visuals will be key in making this happen.
Top 5 Reasons Why Visuals Are So Important
Before getting started analyzing where visuals can be used in a company website, it’s important to understand just why they’re going to be so great in the first place. 2012 was a good starting point for the case of visuals, but 2013 is going to step it up a notch by accomplishing a few very important things:
- Catches Attention. Quite obviously the biggest reason visuals matter. Readers are going to have more and more choices when it comes to blogs to read in 2013, so you need something to catch their attention. They should be able to look at your website and decide if they want to read the article; not the other way around. It’s usually best if the visual is related to your content, but something just for attention works occasionally (hence the photo on this article!).
- Easy to Understand. Visuals help add something to a piece of content (or in the case of infographics, add everything to a piece of content). People find visuals easy to understand, so it will help make your website a popular place to understand complicated information.
- Easy to Create. This point is cheating a bit because creating visuals isn’t always easy; however it can be in certain situations. While working with web designers and creating infographics is a lot of work, some of the simple visuals are an easy way to improve your website. Find funny pictures and put them in your articles to add something a little bit extra.
- SEO Benefits. You can optimize all of the visuals on your website to help improve your SEO. By creating descriptions for your photos using your keywords and creating keyword-rich infographics, Google bots will crawl your site and help you rank for these specific terms. You can learn more about image optimization here.
- Follow the Leader. If everyone else is upping the visuals, you probably should too if you want to remain competitive. It’s as simple as that.
It’s also important to keep in mind that you should never stray away from the meaning of your website just to incorporate more visuals. If you don’t want your website full of pictures, it doesn’t have to be. You can make visuals work while still keeping within the theme and feel of your website, it just takes a bit of creativity.
Top Areas Where Visuals Will Help Your Website Thrive
A few places where you can really take advantage of visuals include:
- Social Media. Getting visual with social media means posting more pictures and sharing more articles that focus on visuals (such as infographics). Most social networks have made it incredibly easy to share photos and videos, so take advantage this year.
- Web Design. The design of your website can allow for either more or less visuals. Always remember to design your website a way that is true to your company, but try to create a layout that gives you enough space to add in some reader engagement.
- Content. One of the easiest ways to bring in visuals to your content is by incorporating infographics into your content strategy. You can learn more about creating infographics here. It’s also important to focus on the visuals that are incorporated in your content, which includes pictures and screenshots.
Although there is quite a bit more to know about getting your website ready for visuals, it’s really as simple and making an effort to find the right pictures and the right videos. Be relevant and be creative, and the rest will fall into place.
How to Get Started
In the majority of cases, it makes sense to focus on the visuals of your web design first. People should still appreciate great content, so you will want to make sure that the quality content is there first, but in terms of visuals specifically, it’s the web design that will draw people in to read. Focus on the layout of your homepage, and then start moving into your social media strategies and content visuals.
Have you had a different experience getting started with visuals? How are you going to use visuals this year to help bring in more readers? Let us know you thoughts in the comments below.