By Joe Pulizzi published October 17, 2011

Double Your Web Page Views by Adding an Image? Seriously

Pages with Images Perform Better

New research from Skyword found that business-oriented web pages with images performed 91% better than those pages without images.

Skyword examined the performance of tens of thousands of posts in performing the study, and was able to segment the value of images for business purposes (excluding entertainment, news and sports posts, among others).

So, images don’t just make a little difference…they make a ton of difference.

Adding a little commentary and common sense to the study, it seems reasonable that posts with images both perform better in search results and are also shared at a higher rate than those posts without images.

This puts an ever increasing importance on both the managing editors and content producers (the people that make your content look pretty) within the organization (full content marketing team information here).

Of course, this should come as no surprise.  In the magazine business, we had a saying that the cover of a magazine serves just one purpose…to be opened.  Design has the majority to do with that happening, just like the importance of the headline of this post.

Next steps?

  • Define the role of your content producer, and the mix between original art and stock photography.
  • Include images in all your blog posts.
  • Review all your content to make sure that it is visually appealing.
  • Tag all your online images with meta-tags and captions when possible (millions of searches per day are image searches).
And last but not least…
  • Build time into your content process so that design doesn’t become a last-minute operation.

Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi is the Founder of Content Marketing Institute, a UBM company, the leading education and training organization for content marketing, which includes the largest in-person content marketing event in the world, Content Marketing World. Joe is the winner of the 2014 John Caldwell Lifetime Achievement Award from the Content Council. Joe’s the author of five books, including his latest, Killing Marketing. His third book, Epic Content Marketing was named one of “Five Must Read Business Books of 2013” by Fortune Magazine. If you ever see Joe in person, he’ll be wearing orange. Follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

Other posts by Joe Pulizzi

  • Mike Haydon

    Having images on a post also massively help with Facebook sharing. You get a lot more interaction if you have a relevant image in the fb share than a generic image or none at all. I’d imagine it would be a similar outcome on Google+

  • Tracy Gold


    Thank you (and Skyword)for writing this post! Just last week I was having a conversation with a client about whether blog posts really “have to have” an image. Their in-house graphic designer creates lovely featured images for their blog, but has a lot of responsibilities to juggle. I’m sending this their way straightaway–not to mention improving my on (sometimes lackadaisical) efforts to provide images whenever I send a post to the CMI.

  • Tom Mangan

    If you’re not in a super hurry, you can scan Flickr and ask for permission to post an image. Amateur shutterbugs will probably be flattered and gladly grant the rights; professionals will want to get paid.

    It’s far better to plan correctly on the front end get the proper rights, because most likely you won’t be revisiting the content later. If your ducks are all in a row there’s much less chance of somebody pulling their image and robbing the effectiveness of your post for Web search visitors.

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Great advice Tom. Thanks

  • Margaret Johnson

    So.. what is the proper etiquette for getting images for a blog post? I see many blog posts with images, and down at the bottom is an “image credit” where the photographer is cited. Is it then correct to assume that if the image is viewable, it is usable, as long as the photographer is credited? Or is there a mechanism for asking permission and is that the preferred method? Thank you – I’ve been wanting to ask this question for weeks now, and you’ve finally provided the forum for me to do so. Any help is appreciated.

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Hi Margaret…couple different ways.
      1. Go do a search on Flickr. Once you see an image you like, check the permissions. Many of those just want the link back and the credit. Every photo has permissions detail.
      2. Sign up for a service like Shutterstock (that’s what I use) to download photos whenever you need them.
      3. Take your own pictures
      4. Use a graphic artist to design an infographic.

      We use all four of these methods Margaret. Hope this helps.

      • Tracy Gold

        To add to Joe’s point 1, you can also do an advanced search in Flickr for Creative Commons licensed photos so that you don’t have to get your hopes up about a photo only to find that you can’t use it.

        • Joe Pulizzi

          Sweet Tracy. Thanks!

          • Tom Mangan

            Creative Commons is for non-commercial use of images — using them in an content-marketing context is clearly a commercial use.

            That’s why I would just go ahead and send a Flickr direct message to the owner and ask for permission.

            Or, as Joe suggests, use stock images.

          • Joe Pulizzi

            Thanks for the clarification Tom!

        • Tracy Gold

          For some reason it won’t let me reply to Tom’s last, but within advanced search, you can check both: “Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content” and “Find content to use commercially.” Problem solved!

          • Tom Mangan

            For those who think these complexities don’t matter: when I worked for a big newspaper on the west coast, a photographer dragged me and and a half-dozen colleagues into court over what he considered improper use of an image of his.

            Our parent company brought in their favorite rainmaker lawyer to make hash of the guy’s case, but it was a pretty nerve-racking experience for most of us.

            Nobody will bother suing a blogging hobbyist with an audience of 12, but if you’re putting content on a large corporation’s website, that’s a great big bullseye for somebody who wants to claim copyright damages.

          • Tracy Gold

            I believe you Tom! Sounds like a huge mess. I’ll tread carefully.

            Luckily, most of our clients who have high stakes and high audience blogs also have the budget for professional images and custom design. For others with lower stakes and lower budgets, we use Flickr.

          • Margaret Johnson

            Thank you all so very much for all of this advice! It is much appreciated. My next stop will be Flickr to do some exploration. Then I’ll take all of this information in hand and make some decisions. I may only have 12 readers now, but I’m sure I’ll be famous very soon and would not want someone to come back at me with a lawsuit. Although perhaps at that point I’ll have the cash available to handle it. LOL.

          • Margaret Johnson

            I have explored Flickr. It seems that we can do an advanced search in Creative Commons, then search within that for those photos that are posted with different requirements. Attribution-only licensed photos are available, meaning we can use the content, modify or otherwise create a derivative work, and use the photo commercially. There are over 2 million images so categorized. That seems like a logical place to start for me. Am I missing something? Thank you again!

  • Toby Kronwitter

    This is a true word!

    I´ve been useing pictures for social Seo long before. My Pics are ranked most place 1 for keywords like:” LIKE, FACEBOOK, <—- this is only done by my pictures in the posts. You can have a look by yourself if you go to any google image search in the world and type: Like ore Facebook 🙂
    Check the Website Names. Mine is!!

    I got about 50 Refferers from google Images per day.

  • Daniel

    Wow! Great post, Joe.

    I have heard that it was a good idea to have images(Photos) included into your posts and articles, though you never really get to see any concrete evidence to back up the claims.
    Usually, it’s said that photos will enhance the posts, adding another dimension, or as a way to break up the clutter of words.

    Well, I guess as they say , “People are visual” and that old chestnut ” A picture tells a thousand words”

    Now I have no excuse whatsoever, for not going off to find some nice images.

  • Joe Falore

    Great article, I had no idea that adding a picture could be such an important thing to do! Thanks for the awesome info!
    Check out my blog at

  • Randy Duermyer

    Agree that images are important – both for users and search engines. We’ve been happy with stock.xchng (now owned by Getty Images at Restrictions are clearly spelled out for each image, and if you don’t find something free that’s relevant, plenty of inexpensive stock photos are displayed right along with the freebies. We also make it a habit to notify the image owner where we’re using the image with a short link – even if it’s not required in the terms of use. That also gives us a link back to the post.

  • Anne

    Similarly, I’ve read that including a preview to a newsletter sign-up also increases it’s conversion rate.

  • Andreas Pazer

    Our website is generally a combination of all types of content. You have graphics; you have text, and sometimes Flash animations and videos too! We are all aware that search engine optimization of text content on our website is the key to getting top rankings for your web pages. Let this not lead you to believe that the images and graphics on your webpage add no business value to your website. Reducing the images and graphics would really make your website look really sad! You guessed it – there are always ways to get around such issues! And the way to work around this is Image Optimization.