If you have been around the SEO industry for a few years, chances are you’ve seen the same topic blogged over and over from different angles. The core concepts of SEO change infrequently so you tend to see the same topic written from different angles by different people. If you are one of those people doing the writing, you understand how hard it is to come up with a fresh angle and a new look. If you are looking for ways to spice up an old topic or reuse content, consider using different types of images to mix things up.
For example, I recently found an article on Search Engine Watch on the basics of SEO. Yawn right? Well yes the topic has been done to death but keep in mind not everyone reading SEW is an expert, this article will appeal to newbies and people looking for more info. For this crowd, the SEW article is a great primer written in an entertaining way. Author Victoria Edwards (aka @TallChickVic) used three different types of fun and bright images to breathe new life in an old topic and keep you moving down the page. These are good things since the goal of most webmasters is to keep visitors on their pages and engaged for as long as they can.
The article used three different types of images:
- a piece of clip art
- a photo (picture)
- a strategy visualization
Let’s take a look at each one for a couple of comments and ideas.
Honestly, I wouldn’t recommend the use of clip art for every site, if you have a serious subject it might not be the best use of images. But if your topic warrants, it can be a great burst of color and comedic relief!
Here’s a list of free clipart galleries you can pull artwork from and use:
A picture is worth a 1000 words right? Absolutely, and can also be worth a handful of links if you own the image. In addition to helping promote your post and explain a point, images can be used to attract links. If you own the image, think about letting others use it provided they link back to your site. Don’t suggest an anchor or a page, just ask they link back to you in exchange for using the photo. This is one way you can help mix up the anchors used to link to your site and draw less “keyword footprints” back to you.
Images are visual support to a greater message, they convey moods, stimulate ideas and elicit reactions. If your goal is to reuse content be sure to replace the images with something equally if not more compelling. Consider going outside the norm of static pictures and use an cinemagraph such as this:
I know, this is kinda Stepford creepy but I love it because it reinforces my point: images can and will attract links if you use something compelling, something different.
You’ve probably noticed I’ve bolded the phrase if you own the image several times, I can’t stress enough how important it is to either give photo credit or get it from people. Theft is theft and when it comes to images, photographers and the stock companies go to great lengths to protect their copyrights. It’s pretty easy really, unlike content which can be rewritten to the point of being unrecognizable, images can’t be changed.
Search engines like TinEye can find a photograph in seconds:
You can also use Google Images to find sites hosting a photo, just pull the image into the search bar:
Searching for images this way pulls double-duty, you can search for content thieves and for link building opportunities by finding find new sources to host your image content. See where I’ve circled 701 results? That means about 701 pages have been returned hosting a cake image. If you are in a topically relevant niche and actively looking for link partners, you just found a bunch of sites to contact and evaluate for guest blogging, additional image hosting or whatever. Great way to get your cake and eat it too!
Heck you can even use the content thieves for link building if you wanted, if someone is using your images without proper credit, ask them nicely to give you credit and link to your site. If they don’t – well – you have to decide to send an email, use a DMCA or go to an attorney. That is a post for another day. 🙂
Data visualization is a fancy term for a drawing that shows and/or interprets written data. It is not a new concept, we’ve seen it in newspapers and magazines since print was born:
The SEW article used this image:
Plain but effective. They are also easy to make,if you have PowerPoint you can create a visualization by clicking on the Design option in your slide deck.
Infographics are a type of data visualization, as are maps, graphs and anything else that visually tells a story using data. If you don’t have an image on hand, creating one is easy (see my PowerPoint comment), they are also easy to keep track of and can be tweaked repeatedly and reused at no cost (but your time) with new data.
What I love best about this type of image is the way they can be used to tell a complex story. I can spend three paragraphs telling you the value of an Olympic gold medal and that would be informative but showing you would be better and increases my chances of having the content linked to:
If you are recycling content from old articles or blog posts or looking for new ways to secure links, consider using photos, clipart or data visualizations.
If you have an idea on reusing old content or how to use images to attract links, share it in comments!