13 Visual SEO Strategies Proven To Boost Your Google Rank

Marketing experts can advise you that using visual aspects in marketing requires an understanding of proportion. Too much imagery makes a design look busy, yet too much white space leaves the content lacking in some profound way. 

The perfectly planned proportion brings the reader’s eyes to the related images while simultaneously conveying a message.

When you work images into your articles and other marketing materials, you can keep readers on your pages longer, and you can ultimately boost your website stats. And this can lead to huge improvement in your search results. 

A lot of marketers fail to pick up on the important role visuals play in your SEO. That’s why we are here to help.

To point you in the right direction as to how to place images and what images you should consider placing, here are 13 visual SEO strategies to improve your site’s search presence through imagery.

Besides making sure your pictures visually illustrate the subject, make sure you dig a bit first to ensure the imagery is acceptable for and relevant to your target audience.

Particular visual modes will appeal more to specific audiences, while some will have the opposite impact. If you can’t specify the proper style, consider using imagery that might appeal to as broad an audience as possible, so the user doesn’t have to interpret your message.

Then, as your readership begins to grow, you can dig a bit deeper and see which posts your readers engage with more, which ones they share more, and you can even ask them which ones they like via surveys. This can allow you to fine tune the imagery you use on your site.

  • Ensure Visuals Enhance The Content

Make sure that your imagery adds to and strengthens the context of your content. Putting a product picture next to product detail can be vanilla and boring. Where are the frills? Yawn…

While you do need to place a photo there, you can go beyond that. Maybe think about adding a product video or add an infographic that explains the benefits of the product in a visual way.

And as far as the product image itself, go beyond the basic wide shot. Zoom in on the coolest features and aspects and highlight those as well.

  • Make Sure Your Images Stand Out

When someone shares content on social media, on most channels the social media post will grab the picture from the article and showcase it along with your written content in the post.

The photo is the initial thing people notice, and it provides a vision of what users can discover when they click through. No one visits your site and says, “Wow, look at that font.” Unless, of course, they are a website designer. Then fonts rule!

Designer MIkiya Kobayashi pulls visitors in immediately
Image: Designer Mikiya Kobayashi pulls visitors in immediately – Source
  • Don’t Use Stock Photos

Own your purchases, throw away product photography. With actually branded imagery, your subject becomes promptly recognizable.

With custom photography, your website will stand out. If you opt for stock photography, people will likely notice that they’ve seen the same images you’re using on 100s of other sites.

I often illustrate to customers the advantages of having a photoshoot, where the director can factor in forthcoming use cases for the images. Make sure you sit down with your team and plan out what images you need to capture and for what purposes. Then you can build up your own stock of photos, but they will be custom and far more engaging than the stock images you can buy online.

Just look at this excited scientist for proof of how ridiculous stock photos can look!

Bad Stock Photos
Image: Example of a bad stock photo – Source
  • Optimize For Each Platform

Optimize your pictures for the forum they are being used on. Regarding social media, consider that your photographs are being viewed on a considerably small screen.

If your images are short, too small, blurry or not noticeable, you’ll ultimately stop the scroll. Make sure you test the images you use across multiple devices, and know whether they are being viewed on social media, your website, printed marketing collateral or another type of content. 

  • Highlight People

Pictures that show people tend to do better in terms of engagement. As viewers, we tend to see ourselves in the photos of people that businesses use on their websites, if done properly, and so we feel more engaged with the content.

If you can work in photos of your actual team members, this provides a transparent glimpse into the inner-workings of your company. When people see that your team is made up of humans, and not just a digital presence online, the connection deepens. 

So, use photos of REAL people. Recall the stock image warning. By adding images of real people using your products or your team looking fun and approachable, you can really help boost the relationship with your audience.

  • Optimize For Search

Optimizing your images for search plays a vital role in your on-page SEO.

Pictures that are well-optimized boost the relevancy of the page and strengthen the topic. Search engines like the right combination of layout, title, article, and other elements that go into image SEO, and they’ll award your page for it. 

Make sure you craft a solid description. While search engines are getting better at recognizing images on their own merits, it’s still very important to give them a little help by adding a clear description of what the post represents.

  • Don’t Be Cliche

Stay away from image that portray your concept in a cliche way. For example, the 50-something healthcare worker  with a gray beard smiling  and shaking hands with his patient. Super cliche. That’s something you want to avoid.

Make sure you are avoiding cliches and portraying situations in a way that’s overdone and that people are tired of. This can send visitors running from your site. It can also lead to a lack of credibility.

Your images should stand out and capture your visitors’ imagination, they shouldn’t bore them to tears and make your blend into the crowd. The digital space is too crowded. Take every opportunity you can to stand out.

  • Keep It Short And Sweet

Images are attractive eye-catchers, and videos are even more fascinating to the eye. Keep any videos utilized in your marketing concentrated and tight — the more precise, the better.

Viewers desire to get access to data quickly and efficiently, so making sure the video gets to the point at the get-go will assure a more optimistic end-user understanding. 

Try to keep videos to 1 minute or shorter and convey your message in a concise manner. It’s easier than you think. A lot of longer videos actually contain a ton of fluff and could typically be cut back significantly.

  • Focus On Visual Appeal

Editing your pictures to improve each image’s quality to draw in your readers is so important. Editing can take an ordinary photo and really spice it up.

Look at this example of an edited photo vs. an unedited photo. Which one is more appealing? And which one make you think, “Wow, that’s unprofessional!”?

edited vs unedited photos
Image: Example of an edited photo vs. and unedited photo – Source

Never drop your first image option into your site. Any time you take photos for placement on your website, make sure you edit them and only place them on the site once you’ve got them all fancied up and looking top notch.

  • Bring The Emotion

Pictures should indicate the feeling that the marketing subject is to convey, not necessarily just repeat what you are saying.

Rather than finding photos that depict the content, find impressive images that represent the overall quality or present the concept in an abstract way. Think about the subject, and go beyond what you might traditionally consider to be the “right” image to fit the post. 

For example, if you are writing about the importance of passion in being a successful blogger, rather than using a featured image that depicts someone in the act of blogging, try using an image of a flame or something similar to depict passion through the concept of burning or being on fire (with a fiery passion…for example).

abstract image passion
Image: Abstract image to express concept of passion – Source
  • Leverage A/B Testing

Here’s an important thing to understand about any kind of content, visual or otherwise. You never actually know what content will reverberate with people, so it can be a bit like playing the lottery sometimes.

To maximize your opportunities to win over your visitors, start by experimenting with various visual components in your campaigns. This way, you’ll be able to recognize what performs the best and then keep tweaking your visuals until you get optimal performance.

It’s always good to compare. If you only try one way to do anything, you’ll never know if there’s a better way.  

  • Use The Pattern Interruption Method

The pattern interruption procedure uses the element of surprise to add visual attraction, like an animation on a static web page or a sudden color change on a video.

It can also involve dropping in sound effective, a video suddenly playing, unexpected background patterns or other elements. Either way, just when your visitors might be getting bored, you throw them for a loop and pull them back in.

In video, it could be as simple as switching the view from a close up that’s been running for 30 seconds to a wide shot of the background environment around the subject with a full shot of the subject. Just as the viewer may be losing their attention, they are pulled back in.

This method enables you to keep a consumer’s eyes on your subject rather than losing attention and clicking away.


Ultimately, SEO strategies that incorporate visual components can instantly elevate your Google rankings.

Images can give a huge boost to your SEO strategy.  

Make sure to follow the steps above, and also optimize those images with the right descriptions. As you start to incorporate images into your marketing effectively, you’ll notice your site’s search results improving.

And as your search results improve, your business will grow!

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Ella James
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8 thoughts on “13 Visual SEO Strategies Proven To Boost Your Google Rank”

  1. These are great tips. I never thought the way Ella told us why using stock photos can be bad. You need to be very careful with the images you upload on your blog. If they can get more social shares they can certainly annoy a visitor. Thanks for the heads up! I’ll be more concerned when choosing images.

  2. Great article! Optimising your images is really important because majority of the internet users these days are on their mobile phones. When the images you used end up blurry or worse they cause your site to lag for more than 5 seconds, then you’re in trouble because those visitors will immediately move on to “better” and “faster” websites.

    • Very true. No matter how amazing your content is, if you trip up your readers and pull their attention away with poor quality images or slow loading speed, they will go somewhere else. No matter what niche you’re in, there are always alternatives for your readers to check out, and they will definitely do just that if they aren’t happy with the experience on your site.

  3. As for including people in images Ella, my selfie pictures always get way more pop than images sans me. I feel people enjoy seeing me because they can then picture themselves living in and blogging from tropical paradises all over the globe. Plus, people form that simple, deeper connection with other human beings as we are social creatures, biologically.


    • It’s a great strategy, Ryan. You are your brand, so it’s hugely important to be the face of it all. And the blogging from around the world part is a great touch. I mean, who wouldn’t want to travel the globe and follow their passion! Always enjoy the content you put out – wherever in the world it might be crafted at the time. 🙂


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