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A large part of the life of a thriving church lives in the digital world. The online community has blossomed into a socially active, information saturated, medium of communication and discovery. How does a small church rise above the hubbub to tap into this community and gain new interest?

You probably already have some peripheral knowledge of some digital tactics for online church visibility - inbound marketing, search engine optimization, content marketing, keywords, branding...

Thankfully, there is one element which boosts all of these categories: images.

An image is worth even more than a thousand worlds in the digital world

This clichéd adage does, in fact, ring true in the digital world. Images add a significant boost to your digital marketing of all kinds, as they are able to fill multiple roles. Here is how adding images to your websites add significant benefit.

Images + SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

SEO as we know it involves a growing and changing strategy as search engines like Google undergo shifts in their algorithm. One thing remains true, however, which is that high-quality images which are used to supplement high-quality content boost SEO.

► What is a high quality image? A high-quality image means it both pertains to the surrounding textural content and augments it in some way.

The importance of images and SEO has to do with the growing popularity of the "image search" - aka Google image search and similar searches. A significant amount of sophistication and funding has gone into Google's image search function, meaning the relevancy and quality of your own images is being used to effect the search engine rankings of your own site.

It is the indexing on these images that directly serve Google image search. This includes alt text, file name, and bounce rate (which measures the amount of time a user spends on your site before returning to the search engine).

If your image appears on your site with some optimal keyword language in your alt text and file name while having a lower bounce rate (helping to indicate the appropriateness and quality of the searched image), an image search alone can pull in an audience to your website AND keep them there.

Images and User Engagement

High quality images are shown to drastically improve readability. Here are some compelling statistics:

• Articles featuring images get 94% more total views than those without images

• Photos and videos in press releases are shown to increase views by 45%

• Over half of customers are inclined to contact businesses which display an image when their content comes up in search results

• 67% of consumers think that the quality of an image depicting a product plays an important role for them when following through with a purchase

• 37% more engagement on Facebook occurs with posts with photos than posts without

As these statistics lay out, there is a clear reader bias when it comes to images in articles. You may notice that media-based sites saturate their content with visual stimulation - being animations, video, or still photos. Quality images boast engagement as they are graphically appealing at a first glance, whereas text takes deeper interaction in order for appeal to register.

The 2 Golden Rules of Adding Images to Your Site

There are 2 essential things to keep in mind when it comes to adding images to your website:

• Images MUST be high quality

• Images MUST be relevant to your content

BONUS RULE: Images must be legally used!

Quality means the image is appropriately sized for your article, free of pixilation, and makes sense in the context of whatever content you're providing. If we were, for example, to include an image of the space shuttle as our title image for this article, it just wouldn't make sense or add any real value (no matter how good the photo is.)

Aim for adding images that are tasteful, engaging, and optimize the experience of your guests above all else. This will help produce the best results.

In conclusion

Users want images. They respond to them. Images can be appealing and instantly evoke emotion, while text takes some time to evoke these things. Images are the key to success when it comes to increasing your SEO and boosting user engagement.

Take advantage of the visual preference of online users today to put a positive spin on your site. They will make your guests have a warm and fuzzy feeling and create instant rapport.

Unsure where to begin your content marketing journey? I'd love to help! Call me at 682-558-5822.

 

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