Why Content Trumps Images for SEO

By Urvi Shah | | Tagged Marketing your online store

Does this work? Image-heavy sites can lack content.

You’ve probably heard before that in the online world, ‘images are far more effective than text to capture the attention of the viewer’. This is definitely true when posting on Social Media like Facebook, where many different bits of information are vying for the viewer’s attention at the same time. But when it comes to a website or online store, high quality content is key to its success.

Given the increasing use of images online, we find that often web designers focus more on images than text in their page designs, simply because images can look stunningly beautiful and highly impactful when using responsive designs. However, it is important to not forget that the text you include on your site plays a very important role in how your website is indexed and ranked in search engine results.

Let’s look at some of the most important roles played by website content (in other words, the text) in the world of Search Engines:

1. Relevance

Search engines, especially Google, focus on returning search results that are as relevant to the search term as possible. This means that sites that offer relevant text-based information about that search term are likely to get listed at the top. This is why your website should have high quality content that is relevant to your most important keywords.

2. Content Crawling

Search Engine crawlers go through the content of the website to identify the theme of the website, or to put it simply, to figure out what the website is about. They do this by identifying the groups of words and phrases that occur most often on the website. Then they use this info to decide how and where to list your site in their search results.

A word of warning though: if keywords seem to be unnaturally stuffed into the web page to increase their relevance, the site is likely to get blacklisted and will never show up on search results.

So while it’s important that your top priority keywords are used on your website, they should be used naturally and fluidly. When you include quality content on every page of your site, Search Engine crawlers will better understand the purpose of your site and you’re more likely to appear on search results.

3. Meta Descriptions

You probably have meta descriptions for every page of your site, to provide easy reference to search engine crawlers. (If your site pages don’t have meta descriptions, you should add them.) It is usually this carefully crafted meta description that shows up below the website link in search engine results.

an example of a site listing with a meta description

However, if the meta description does not match the content that is displayed on the page, the search engine may ignore it. For instance, Google reserves the right to display excerpts of the page content instead of the meta-description if they do not seem to match.

example of a listing that grabs other text from the page

If your website does not have sufficient content on its pages, it would be impossible to create meta-descriptions that will match the page’s content, and you risk being at the whim of the search engine bots as to what is displayed next to your page on search results.

As you can see, content plays a very important role in the performance of a website on search engine results. Without high quality, relevant and original content on the pages of your website, your site will never reach the top ranks of search engine results.