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Five tips to help marketers and SMBs use stock images and videos to drive stronger SEO

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Five tips to help marketers and SMBs use stock images and videos to drive stronger SEO


When thinking about how to up your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) rankings, the most common things that probably come to mind are keywords, content, backlinks and  metadata. These are undoubtedly important to the SEO workflow. VP of SEO for iStock, Matthew O’Such, explores the ways to drive stronger SEO.

However, marketers and SMBs often forget that high-quality images and videos are essential. It helps to take full advantage of how to get content in front of potential customers. Spanning web search listings to Google News, Google Discover, Image Search and more. 

Hubspot found that around 76 percent of ANZ marketers reported using inbound marketing as the primary approach to marketing. Fifty-three percent noted that driving traffic to the website is a top priority. The most common challenges for brands though is generating traffic and leads (63 percent). Another challenge is managing the website (19 percent). This highlights a disconnect where marketers understand the importance of SEO, but perhaps don’t understand how to improve the rankings.

Optimising imagery has become increasingly important over the last few years, and many search results now contain or even require imagery in order for you to rank in them. 

As such, here are five tips to help SMBs and marketers boost SEO strategies. It involves using stock images and videos to drive strong SEO:

Say yes to stock, authentic, and relevant visuals 

There’s a common myth that stock photos and imagery are not good for SEO. It’s been spread that original imagery is needed to rank a brand’s content. However, when it comes to SEO, having imagery that helps customers identify with your brand, the content you’re creating, and its goals should be your first selection criteria as this helps your content grow its audience driving potential.  

Stock imagery and video is used around the world every day. It works very well to represent the content it is paired with for organic search. I know this from the amount of iStock’s content that I see in search results today used by our customers. 

Think high-quality and use more video

Nearly all Australian adults (99 percent) have access to the internet according to the ACMA. Online videos make up more than 82 percent of all consumer internet traffic by this year. This is 15 times higher than it was in 2017. To cut through all the noise, video may just be the deciding factor to grab consumers’ attention and, ultimately, drive them to purchase. In fact, a video post can increase traffic from search results by 157 percent. 

When selecting images for your campaign, ensure they are high-resolution. It should be at least 1,200 pixels (px) wide, and an aspect ratio of 16×9, 4×3, or 1×1. ​ Make sure you’re not using images too big, but also not of low quality/resolution. 

Be descriptive  

Make sure you’re being descriptive with titles, captions, filenames, article copy and “ALT”  text around and near the image. Also make sure to use a relevant SEO page title and description. Search engines usually use this to describe the page the image is on, or the image itself if it appears in Google Image Search.  

The same general best practices apply to video. Your content, the words you say within your video, and the title and description all contribute to your ranking results. YouTube automatically creates a transcript of what you say. This isn’t just for close caption features, but also understanding what the video is about. 

Use “Structured Data”  

Add “Structured Data” in the code of the page. This data reflects the technical representation of the imagery’s meta-data, like date created, location shot, file name, if it is in part of another item on the page like a Product or Recipe, etc. For videos, the length of the video and any other “key moments” are also very valuable in that area.  

Keep it data-driven 

As you might be using Google Trends for your SEO keywords and content, be sure to have a data-driven approach to how you’re selecting your topics and images. VisualGPS Insights is an all-new interactive tool from iStock, drawing data from billions of user searches from iStockPhoto.com. The tool surfaces relevant, actionable insights making them accessible through easy-to-understand charts and graphics with robust data drawn from the world’s leading suppliers of visual content.


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