A Picture Is Worth 1,000+ Page Views: The Art of Blogging with Images


If you’ve been following the WordStream blog for a while, you know we’re longtime fans of Aaron Wall at SEO Book. (You should have seen the glow around Tom Demers when Aaron agreed to do an interview with him.)

In addition to being a great tactical resource on both SEO and PPC, Aaron is a must-follow blogger for his regular rants and essayistic analysis on the industry at large. He has also taken a watchdogging stance toward Google, and his thoughts about the company’s direction are always enlightening, even if you’re inclined to give GOOG the benefit of the doubt.

Twice this week Aaron reminded me of the power of a single image in a blog post – not a fancy infographic or even a beautiful photograph, just a basic screenshot – and how much an image can convey even without much commentary.

The first image was in a post called “Is the Huffington Post Google’s Favorite Content Farm?” You know I like to crap on the HuffPo’s SEO and general trashiness, so of course I had to read this post. Aaron includes a long image showing just how little content there is on a Huffington Post page that turned up in a web search (he was looking for information on the nuclear reactors in Japan); scrolling down, you can see that the only “content” on the page is a “featured tweet” from ABC News. The rest is just white space, links and ads. The tweet isn’t even original to the Huffington Post. But the site has so much authority they can rank in a news search with this garbage. The Panda update was supposed to devalue content farms, but, as Aaron says, “(G)arbitrage never really goes away, it just becomes more corporate.”

In another post, Aaron demonstrates Google’s hypocrisy in regards to the browser wars:

If Microsoft used their primary product to bundle other free products they were giving away to gain market leverage Google would hoot and/or holler. Google demanded that Chrome be shown as an option in Europe when Microsoft was required to market their competitors via BrowserChoice.eu.

Though IE9 is now out, when YouTube recommends that you upgrade to a “modern browser,” Internet Explorer isn’t among the suggestions. Perhaps even more egregious/questionable, if you do a Google search for “download ie9” you may get a  Google ad pointing you to www.google.com/chrome instead:

Download IE9 

Again, Aaron “says” this with a screenshot (the way you might say it with a song, or a Hallmark card): direct, powerful and to the point.

For the record, Microsoft may have caught wise to this already as I couldn’t reproduce Aaron’s results.

How are you using images in your blog posts? Are they merely decorative or do they really drive your point home? (The below? STRICTLY DECORATIVE.)


Pretty deer courtesy of Noël Zia Lee.

Web Marketing Highlights This Week

Via TechDirt: Twitter Decides to Kill its Ecosystem: How Not to Run a Modern Company. Mike Masnick reports that Twitter is coming down hard on third-party apps, a crazy idea since the prevalance of Twitter apps (many of them vastly improving on Twitter's own functionality) is partly responsible for its success thus far.

ViperChill explains "how to get hundreds of links to your next blog post, guaranteed": It's all about the catchy title, baby.

Ross Hudgens wrote a great long post on buliding "a model for link building": "The 'king' in link building isn’t content. Yes, content is a huge part of it, and the more socially-friendly your vertical, the more it weighs into the equation. But the real, true king of link building is your overall value proposition." Your value prop, he says, can involve money, ego bait, "outbound content," location and other factors.

Another awesome long guide! Here's Smashing Magazine with guidelines and techniques for technical web typography, a great resource on how to choose a typeface, font size, and typographical scale, how to use punctuation and more.

Because Lisa Barone is in the midst of drawing one up herself, and because she's all over the Twitter, she knows what goes into drafting a company social media policy.

Michael Gray talks about the link building value of creating encyclopedic content (the Wikipedia factor).

On eConsultancy, Dave Peiris tells us why SEO needs to be baked into your site, from the CMS you choose to the structure and the keywords you use on top-level pages. In other words, don't build your site and worry about SEO later.

Not into b-ball? PPC Hero and SEO Boy are running a Search Marketing Madness tournament. Did your favorite blog make the list?

And speaking of favorite blogs: DIY SEO put together a huge list of the best SMB marketing blogs, and some nice tools to go along with it (like a custom search engine to search within the listed blogs and a pre-made Twitter list).

Have a good weekend, cowboys and -girls!

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Richard Kraneis
Mar 18, 2011

Another Great Friday

If I came to WordStream just once a week I would pick Friday for your articles. But I come every business day to WordStream.

Who else but Aaron Wall would take on Google and the Huffington Post regarding content farming?

What a great idea about Search Marketing Madness at PPC Hero.

Thanks for reminding me to infuse graphics and photos into my blogging.

Now I have more work to do to digest the offerings you've provided in this Friday review.

Thanks for another great Friday in review (I'm a big fan). Missing Fridays at WordStream would certainly be egregious :)

Elisa Gabbert
Mar 18, 2011

Thanks, Richard -- so glad you like the Friday roundups! They're fun to write, too.

Ryan Chua
Mar 18, 2011

Nice. Yeah, I think images should be carefully used. Images can either be decorational or it can be used to drive viewers/readers to actually be interested in whatever's in your blog.

Elisa Gabbert
Mar 18, 2011

It's definitely a skill of its own, apart from writing. Some people are able to think visually.

Mar 19, 2011

Beautiful images. Good article.

Maneet Puri
Mar 22, 2011

Nice article. I completely agree with the usage of images in the blog. Initially, I was not following this trend,and from the day I have started placing images, number of visitors have driven towards my website blog. Its worth.

Jay Costan
Mar 23, 2011

Hi Elisa,

I definitely agree with you. Images are really helpful in blog online marketing. It has been said that almost 80 percent of the people who go online are scanners and that they only spend 5 seconds on every website they visit. It is considered a crucial period for online marketers in order to influence their readers and make their blogs visually entertaining. That's why, it is always a good idea to include images as it can really help a lot in conveying the whole point of an article and for online marketers to surpass the 5-second mark.

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