Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Using Images in your Content Marketing

SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is a very complicated issue with many diverse fields working collectively to ensure that your intended target market locates your online information using a search engine.   Each of the  many disciplines adds its own set of values to your SEO in subtle ways that most SEO practitioners deem irrelevant and ignore.

The most noticeable culprit here is the KEY WORDS meta tag in the head section, which Google says is not used in determining your PR (Page Rank), and so most SEO practitioners ignore the key words meta tag and its great value to each of  your pages and your web site as a whole, especially when determining the aboutness of your work.

This article by Jenny Maclean covering the use of images in your content marketing is very interesting, and gives you some good pointers.

Content marketing is a big component of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and should not be viewed as competition to SEO but rather as a supplement to SEO. Images are an essential part of content marketing and the value  that images add to the SEO efforts of your work should never be under-estimated. This sounds confusing, but SEO is used in content marketing, and content marketing is a very large component of Search Engine optimization, which is why you need to be careful of separating the two but yet understanding that they are interconnected and part of the same bundle of confusion called marketing.

One of the most important things from an SEO perspective to remember when using images are the XML markup within the image, which your viewers will never even know exists, just as most of those who visit your web pages have no idea that all web pages have a <HEAD> section.  Image title, image description, image related key-words and other image describing elements can, and should be added to the image XML data, and saved in an embedded format as part of your image. You need to make sure that these embedded XML elements are directly related to your site content matching your in-page SEO content, especially any META DATA that you may have placed within the <HEAD> section of your page if you have access to it.

Unfortunately the <HEAD> section is not available when using many blogging platforms, and many web design programs also use wysiwyg (what you see is what you get) platforms which exclude access to the <HEAD> section of your pages. What you as an SEO practitioner need to do,  is take some time to evaluate the image that you will be using in the context of
  • where this image  will reside within your page, 
  • what you are trying to portray with the image
  • what the image represents, 
  • what is the purpose of including this image
  • how this image will impact on your SEO
  • who your target market is, and how they will react to your image
  • how this image relates to other in-page SEO issues

You then need to ensure that the relevant SEO specific set of  image related key words, image title, image description and other relevant image related XML data such as image geo location, image date and all other issues relevant to your  image are best suited to your IPSEO (In Page Search Engine Optimisation) and included in the embedded  image XML by your graphic design team or image optimisation specialist..
 If you use the same base set of variables within the <HEAD> section of your page and include the same or similar  set of key words in your page as well as the embedded  image XML data elements, then your image will get an awful lot more attention from Google and other search engines. Most web design people forget about the power of this embedded XML data that is used by image designers to manage image classification and image description.

Graphic art designers use these embedded XML data sets that are stored within the image XML data, very differently to web design, or SEO staff and place XML data that is not relevant to search engine optimisation within the embedded image XML for graphic design people to use.

As    Jenny Maclean   says in her article , some sites gain a considerable amount of their Google traffic through Google Images rather than the main web search. If you want to rank well in Images, make sure your image files are aptly named,  but you also need to ensure that your image has the right XML data embedded within the image, so that search engines can index and manage the embedded XML Search Engine compatible elements  in ways that benefit your total SEO effort.

GET YOUR IMAGE DESIGN TEAM ONTO THIS and remember to apply FUFISM (Functional User Friendly Integrated Social Media) see http://fufism.info4u.co.za for more info on integrating your SEO efforts to ensure better SERP's.

As always the selection of your target market  is important to your SEO tactics. Understanding how your selected target market will react to your image is also essential, and the XML embedded into your image file should take this target market reaction into consideration when choosing the image name as well as the embedded XML data for your  image key words, image title and image description.

The embedded XML data that is associated with all images that you will be publishing within your pages should be discussed with
  • your copy writer,
  • your  Social media team
  • Your web site design team
  • your marketing  and advertising teams
  • Your public relations team
  • your SEO team
  • others who are identified through the application of your FUFISM policies.
It thus follows that your web design team, your Social media team, your blog team and all others working on any aspect of your online marketing all understand that you need to be working together as a solid, unified team when it  to comes to SEO issues.  Each member of the team needs to ensure that their knowledge in their specific field is integrated into your marketing strategies through the application of FUFISM (Functional User Friendly integrated Social Media)  This integration can only be achieved through closer working relationships between all the role players, with an understanding of what each role player actualy contributes to your marketing, and the methods used to ensure that each role players input is  appreciated by the other members of the team.

If you were un-aware of the embedded  XML data that can be used in your images, then you need to take some time out and discuss what embedded XML data can actualy be included in your images embedded XML data with your graphic design team or image management staff.

Be pro active and inform the rest of your SEO team of issues that you believe should be included by talking about them at marketing meetings...

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