Well, the importance of great photos on your website got ratcheted up a notch. As I wrote in our last post, the new Search Options feature on the Google Search Engine Results Pages, aka SERPs has changed the way searchers will view results. “Sites with images” isn’t the only feature (actually, a search filter you may activate by clicking) that is easier to see and more likely to be seen, but it is extremely important.
Since the “Sites with images” feature has the potential to impact many of our clients and a lot of other website owners, I believe it is worth closer look. For those of you who rely on photos to help sell your product (and if you don’t do that, you should), it is definitely time to pay more attention to photo quality. Google understands that searchers like visuals. That is why the have options for maps, videos, sites with images,wonder wheel and more. Believe me as more and more users discover the “Sites with images” feature, that will be the only way they look at search results when searching for products, real estate property, homes and anything for they may hope to see a photo with the results. It will be the first filter applied to real estate searches.
The bottom line is — you need quality photos to compete on the web. Now I know some of you are saying to yourself, yeah, yeah I’ve heard you say that before. Well, there is a reason I preach quality photos. Website visitors like photos, and they LOVE quality photos. Now, I am not telling you to go out and buy the newest, digital camera with a dozen or more megapixels. I won’t get started on the “Megapixel Myth.” I’ll just let David Pogue tell/show you about it in this short video on the Megapixel Myth.
What sets great photos apart from those seen on many websites is photo composition and lighting. Of course, having camera with a good optical lens, sensor and circuitry, not to mention knowing how to use the camera settings, all factor into shooting really great photos. It is not enough to buy a good camera. You need to learn how to use your camera, and how to shoot great photos.
Here is an example of what was displayed when I searched for “southwest wi trout stream property.” (sans quotes) Google will display photos that are on the page visitors will see if they click. Great photos will make them click.
If you don’t have, or are not willing to spend, the time to learn, then you need to hire the best professional photographer your budget allows. Before hiring them ask to see examples of photos they have taken that are similar to what you need for your website. Whether it is your time or your professional’s time it will be some of the best time you can spend. It will reap benefits in the form of more visitors to your website, more page views, and visits of longer time on your site.
The quick and real summary: Professional quality photos will help you more than ever when searchers use Google’s Search Options “Sites with images” feature.