Pictures in SERPs can lead to a lot more clicks - and the visitors they bring to a website are more likely to stick around and read content.

Showing up in search results pages is an art form unto itself, but even if you show up on Google, you still have to convince people to click. One of the best ways to solve this SEO puzzle is by making sure every article, blog post and news story has at least one image.

Nifty Marketing performed a heatmap study to look at where people clicked on SERPs. Google constantly changes the layout and organization of its results pages, so it’s important to understand where people break through the interface and actually interact with content. One of the most telling findings was that while a top result for a generic query like “Denver sushi restaurants” got lots of attention, so did the pictures that accompanied them.

heatmap_clicks_SERP


It might seem superfluous to include pictures for every company profile, blog entry and resource page, but getting Google to scrape a picture can result in a tremendous amount of clicks and make any search result stand out on the page.

Pictures – no downside in sight

Including a picture isn’t just a nifty trick to get a few more clicks – it’s an essential element for modern web content that provides benefits in every facet of search engine optimization. In addition to grabbing user attention, images also keep people on the page for longer.

Case in point: A client in the executive staffing industry had a healthy number of visitors coming to their site every day – but their bounce rate was too high and time on site wasn’t high enough, and they were having trouble keeping people with them long enough to convert.

Our solution was to make sure every blog post and news story included a featured image. The inclusion of a picture can:

 ​Better drive home the point an article is trying to make
 Cause readers’ eyes to linger on the page
 Generally improve a page’s aesthetic value, building trust and credibility

The primary result was a much better-looking website, but in terms of quantifiable wins, the client increased the time-on-site by 28 percent and saw calls to action bump up conversion rates by as much as 95 percent. Including pictures is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve multiple parts of a marketing strategy. By bringing in sticky visitors – and more of them at a higher rate – brands can help the bottom line without driving up the cost of each piece of content.

Want to learn more about what featured images can do for conversion rates? Check out this resource:
63 percent of Google image search clicks turn into site traffic

Alex Butzbach is a Marketing Writer at Brafton. He studied Communications at Boston College, and after a brief stint teaching English in Japan, he entered the world of content marketing. When he isn't writing and researching, he can be found on a bike somewhere in Metro Boston.