A Photo Is Worth A Thousand Links: SMX West
Content Marketing

A Photo Is Worth A Thousand Links: SMX West

15th March 2013

In San Jose the last few days SMX West took place. Gemma Birch is there and reports back on some of the sessions for State of Search.

The phenomenal rise of Pinterest has confirmed that images are more popular and important than ever before. This final session of the day looked at how we can better use images across our online marketing efforts..

Jennifer Evans Cario –  Sugar Spun Marketing

Images are now so effective for gaining both links and traffic. People can digest images very quickly and share them very easily. However, any old image won’t do – you need to use images that will encourage people to click through and come to your site. Getting then shared is just one stage – but not the ultimate goal.

With so much content available, using good quality graphics, images and photography is a way to get your content to stand out and be different.

Tips for integrating better images into marketing

1. Think about content you already have- and find images that match and support the text. You’ll increase shares and engagement.

2. Try to drive consumer images of your product/brand. Jennifer used the example of BirchBox, which delivers samples of luxury beauty products. There are numerous photos of people receiving and opening their BirchBox – which are more effective than the company just posting them itself.

3. Infographics are easier for people to read and digest. Use the content you have, research you’ve done and display it in infographic format.

4. Research  images in your vertical and find out what is popular with your target audience.

Sharad Verma – Pinfluencer

Sharad talked about how the web is becoming more visual – and Pinterest is the first social network which is about objects, things and products – not conversation. It’s the 3rd biggest social network globally, and it is still growing. The number of clicks per pin increased 4 x between September and January. He also shared that the average order value of a Pinterest user is $180, compared to $80 on Facebook and $69 on Twitter.

There is a very high rate of re-pins – and the images represent things people care about, are interested in and want to own. A great way to encourage engagement is running contests and promotions which are generally quite straightforward – just getting people to re-pin a number of images. However they have proved to be effective at improving click through rates and page views.

Chris Silver-Smith – Argent Media

Chris focused his talk on Flickr and Pinterest, as they are the most popular and effective photo-sharing sites (with Instagram hot on their heels!).

Flickr has been leading image sharing sites for a while, its obviously been around for a while so has a lot of value and is also well-built for SEO.

Basic Elements of image SEO on Flickr

  • Image file names  – so include keywords in the title, rather than having nonsense file names.
  • Captions –  gets keywords near the text.
  • Image ALT tag
  • Anchor text
  • Image meta data
  • Freshness

Flickr uses the image name as the page title, and alt text, which is great if you keyword it properly. It allows geo-tagging and keyworded descriptions, which also have SEO value.

How y0u can socially optimise images on Flick

  • Good quality pics – people expect this now.
  • Use high contrast images – they increase links from thumbnails.
  • Share via groups – find relevant groups,and share with them. If relevant groups don’t exist, create some!
  • Use images on your blog post and embed the Flickr code. T
  • Use loose licensing – share in return for attribution. You might get links from valuable sites – news sites , blogs etc…

Pinterest is less SEO sophisticated.

  • The description becomes the page title – so include keywords and don’t make the description too long, as it will be less effective. It also becomes the alt text.
  • The board you pin the image on becomes the first word in the title – so not always going to be ideal from an SEO perspective.

Yet social signals are stronger

  • These come from a range of signals –  the number of followers, repins , comments and commentor authority and likes.
  • If you just talk about yourself and your business – a bit dull and less likely to get engagement. Use pictures from other sources and allow others to add content

Final tip- Snap away!

It’s so easy now to take pictures, so do it. You never know who might be interested in it or what value it could bring to your site.


Written By
Gemma Birch has been working in international search since 2007 and leads WebCertain’s marketing team. She is responsible for managing WebCertain’s online marketing activities around the world as well as organising and programming the International Search Summit.
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