#EmailMeTweetMe: What Visual Content in SERPs Could Mean For Marketers

Content Creation Tips

From: Jeff Puklin <jpuklin@skyword.com>

To: Digital Marketers

Subject: A Visual World Needs a Visual Search Engine

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Hi Marketing World,

Welcome to the first “#EmailMeTweetMe with Jeff Puklin.” I hope everyone had a nice weekend! Today we’ll be chatting about Google’s recent search engine results page (SERP) tests, which show the search engine may soon include visual content in the form of rich snippets.

Google’s search engine has always been a simple yet extraordinary tool. It connects millions of people to a web of content, helping them solve problems, answer questions, and interact socially. Search engine optimized (SEO) content is one of the many ways digital marketers can increase the likelihood that their content is seen in Google’s search results. By developing quality content and experimenting with SEO best practices, a marketer can cut through the clutter of the web to ensure that his or her company’s brand voice, tone, and message reaches the right audience.

Google is constantly testing and tweaking their search algorithm, which determines where a marketer’s content ranks in comparison to a competitor’s site. (See Panda & Hummingbird updates.) The search engine has also made it a priority to improve user experience by enhancing its user interface. One of the most recent tests could provide a huge lift for both organic and paid content marketing efforts. Here’s what visual content in SERPs could mean for marketers trying to increase traffic, click-through rates (CTRs), and conversions with their content.

  • Visual content has already been successfully introduced to Google SERPs in the form of Google Authorship. This feature connects a content creator’s Google+ page to the contributor section of a blog or website, providing credibility and authority to digital content. Google Authorship pulls a thumbnail image from the contributor’s Google+ profile page and inserts it next to the article’s Title Tag, URL, and meta description. This rich snippet of information draws the eye to the image and has been shown to result in an increased click-through rate. In its recent test, Google appears to be pulling images directly from a blog post and converting it into rich media snippets (similar to the way Authorship syncs with Google+). As if we didn’t know images were important for SEO already, this enhancement could support an even larger argument for including high-quality images in web content. SEO content best practices, which include optimizing photos for image search, will continue to shift toward a model of configuring visual content to appear higher in traditional SERPs. Because so much research has been done to show how consumers respond to images and videos, Google must pivot to place these content formats front and center.
  • Marketers will have to start building image libraries to accompany their written assets. Skyword’s partnership with Bigstock, a leading provider of professional-quality stock images, provides clients with easy access to relevant imagery that they can use alongside their content. For most marketers, it will be hard to build a library of brand-aligned photos in-house. Take advantage of royalty free sites such as Flickr, Wikimedia, and companies like Bigstock and Shutterstock to gain an edge over the competition. Brands can also post user-generated content (UGC) to increase engagement and provide a customer-centric approach to their sites.

I hope this quick SEO update helps you keep on top of the latest trends in search and content marketing. Do you agree with my analysis? Will visual content in search impact brands’ bottom lines and content production programs?

Leave your comments below, shoot me an email, or send me a Tweet using the hashtag #EmailMeTweetMe, and I’ll incorporate your feedback into my next blog post.

All the best,
Jeff Puklin
Content Strategist at Skyword (@JeffPuklin)

Jeff Puklin graduated from Muhlenberg College in 2011 with a B.A. in Media & Communication. He is currently a Content Strategist at Skyword in Boston. Prior to Skyword, Jeff worked for two years as the New Media Producer/Social Media Strategist at Connecticut College.

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