Well-designed websites are possibly the best way to reach customers nowadays. The internet has replaced yellow pages, newsprint, and even billboards in terms of reach, effectiveness, and the amount of information that can be conveyed to potential customers. Customers can even purchase from websites directly, which further drives sales because people can go straight from window shopping to actual buying.
If webmasters or business owners want to get the most out of the internet, they need to invest a significant amount of time and effort into creating their websites to ensure that they entice customers enough to keep them coming back. This is the reason why search engine optimization (SEO) exists and why webmasters strive to maintain a high ranking.
SEO typically focuses on quality content and links, so graphics, visuals, and images are not often considered to be critical to the overall SEO strategy. However, as recent news has reported, improving visual elements can actually get you higher SEO rankings as well as customer engagement.
Original Images vs. Stock Photos
One of the biggest reasons why images and photos are seldom given attention is because getting original photos or images is hard while utilizing stock or free images is easy. The problem is that stock photos are often cheap-looking imitations of real-life situations. When faced with choosing a stock photo or generating a unique one, the convenience factor usually wins, which results in a website littered with generic photos that do nothing to grab or maintain a reader’s attention. The news here is that according to a recent comment made by a senior webmaster trends analyst from Google, John Mueller, having unique images can help both your branding and your SEO.
The way that it works is this: if you have unique images on your website, they are more likely to show up at the top of the search results page in the box images results section. These images can sometimes grab the attention of consumers better than a catchy title or description. A lot of times, too, customers who are browsing for specific information will sift through products using the image tab of Google until they find an image that they like. These clicks can translate into sales and page hits. Basically, unique images won’t directly increase your rank, but having them can get your website some positive visibility.
Better Images, Better Branding
In most cases, when people search for a particular keyword, images will appear as a result. Original images that best relate to the keyword are likely to be featured on the first results page, and SEO research shows that the higher you are on the results page, the more likely people are to click on your link. This will indirectly increase traffic to your website, thus driving up your organic traffic which is also a big factor for SEO ranks.
All in all, original images are just better for your brand because they can convey information exactly how you want it. You can show actual pictures of your product and let people know that your items are genuine. The common problem with stock photos is that they often come across as fake or insincere. Generating unique images may cost you a little bit more time and money, but these expenses are worth it in the long run for both your brand and your SEO stratification.