Consumers are very visual creatures. Most of us prefer to see what we are buying before parting with our hard-earned dollars. Despite advances in image and video search technology and use, many website and e-commerce sites still do not apply this basic principle to their optimization efforts or link improved video and image files with enhanced conversion rates. Your site could be missing out on sales simply by overlooking the role of images and video, both on-site and in terms of your wider SEO campaign.
Imagine you want to buy a bicycle and you go online in the hopes of securing a better deal. You head to Google and type in the search term “mountain bike” and see a list of millions of pages. Some of these pages will be irrelevant, some won’t offer the exact type of bike you’re looking for, and some will be priced over budget. No matter how much or how little you have decided to spend on your new piece of sporting equipment, you’ll very likely want to see a photo of the bicycles available before you add to your shopping basket.
In this scenario, do you just read the description and paint a mental picture of the product you’re buying or do you hunt around for an image or — even better — a video before handing over your credit card details? Millions of web users do just that, and will click on the image or video search tab rather than trawl through the sponsored search or organic listings when they are looking to buy a product online.
By paying more attention to your video and image files, your site could capture traffic in this way and convert more searches into sales. Here’s how:
1. Write a descriptive, useful Alt tag for every image on your site. For images of products for sale, try including pricing if you’re particularly competitive and include any incentives such as free shipping. You can also use the Alt tag to suggest alternative products or accessories to the main product (for example, “6-speed mountain bike, $200. Don’t forget your helmet and safety gear”). Bringing in this cross-sales technique will up awareness of supplementary items and increase the average order value across the site.
2. If you don’t yet have videos of products, consider bringing in a professional videographer to do them justice. If you can’t afford to hire a video crew and intend to film the products yourself, storyboard the entire thing from start to finish before you begin. This should include a description of each shot, notes on camera angles, and any additional equipment or props you may need. Product demonstrations should be kept as simple as possible and allow the product itself to take center stage. You’ll also need to make sure that the product is well lit and shown from every angle to give potential purchasers a great all-round impression.
3. If you intend to record a voice over to go with the video, do this separately and script out what you want to say before recording. Include product specifications and details of accompanying products or further items in the range. When the voiceover is complete, use a combination of that and the footage itself to produce a text-based transcript. Observe optimization techniques such as use of keywords in titles to ensure the page is search-engine-friendly.
4. Image and video file names should be keyword rich and descriptive to aid overall site optimization and enable the user to find the image or video easily. Rather than “image01″ or “video01,” try “6-speed-mountain-bike.gif” or “mountain-bike-product-demo.wav.”
5. Add a short text description under each image and video of all products being sold on your site. This will be shown by Google in the image or video search results page, encouraging viewers to click through and begin the sales process.
6. Image and video files don’t have to be pure product demonstrations or sales pitches. If your e-commerce site is already well stocked with product images, consider more creative uses of video to aid the sales process. Rather than simply showing a picture of the product, use video as a tool to entertain, educate, and inform. Has your product been used by a local not-for-profit organization, for example? Has a previous client done something amazing with their purchase such as setting off on an epic journey or making a difference in the community? Filming events or interviews with an interesting story will make the site stickier and encourage viewers to buy the product.
7. Add a share or send-to-a-friend button. If you’ve followed all of the above hints and tips and have a nice selection of images and videos on site and ranking well in Image and Video search, you can add further fuel to your sales efforts with a simple Share or Send to Friend link for each video or image. This will double the potential audience. If you also capture the email addresses, it will help you create a permission-based email list for future marketing efforts.
Video and images can be powerful additions to a website. Use the above tips to increase your chances of success if you decide to pursue this means of increasing web sales.