After reading the forums about using wide capsules and carefully captioning each one, I went back yesterday to the first four or five hubs I published and upgraded them. I widened the first photo, where possible, and wrote a more pertinent caption, and did the same with all the other photos where possible. The results shocked me. While these articles do not get huge daily views, every single one increased.in views, some significantly. For example, one article that has been lingering for quite awhile with very few daily views, got 37 of them yesterday. I don't know whether this is just a coincidence, but I do know my articles look better and are more enticing with that first photo wide and at the top of the page. For a long time I thought doing this would block Google ads, but since the structure of our hubs has changed, it appears the pix do not get in their way. I do wonder, though, about not having enough above the fold content when I do this. I have heard that the caption should be enough, but is it? Would love to get some feedback on this.
One thing many writers overlook is that photos are content.
I have been going to wide-view photos at the top & it does look better.
Then, I have been adding the title of the hub in the photo caption.
(As suggested on the HP blog to improve hubs.)
Unfortunately, I am not seeing a surge of views like you have.
I suddenly realized that I have been a bit too casual with the way I do my photos, especially the captioning. If this little experiment had been with just one hub, no big deal...but with several, I see a pattern. I was just reading some articles that discussed the "above the fold" issue and most seem to agree that this kind of thinking is outdated due to the advent of numerous types of devices. So, guess I have some work to do lol!
That's great to hear, TT. Photos are content, so a great eye-catching photo can do the work of enticing the user to continue reading/scrolling. We know that many users only browse a page unless the text is written in such a way to fully engage the viewer. Great photos and captions can make a huge difference. I think with certain topics the top photo can make the difference of whether a user stays or clicks away.
I've updated some of my hubs to full width, but not all of them. But each one that I've updated has seen an increase in traffic. At first I was hesitant, especially because my hubber score went below 85, but now I like the way the page looks and it seems to work better, and my score increased. I'm sure part of it are the photos and the page being more mobile appealing.
I'm sure certain topics bring in more photo image searches than others.
Another benefit I'm finding is that taking more time with photos and captioning is bringing in more Pinterest views! It is very tedious to upgrade this way, but I think doing it might really pay off. I wish HP had updated our financials and stats the past few days so I could see if my latest updates also are increasing views.
Thanks so much for taking the time to share your results with us.
That is an interesting experiment. I will try that later.
Thanks for sharing TT. I have also asked this question about full vs. half-width images on the SEO subreddit, Quora and in a couple of Google Plus communities to see what the latest thinking is. I will report back here anything that I find out.
Thanks, Paul. It is beginning to look like the old "above the fold" thinking is coming to an end. The articles I looked at, one of which was from Moz, seem to support that thinking and say it is due to the fact that people now read on such a large variety of devices. Please do let me know what you find out. Thanks.
Content "Above the fold" is still important but it seems that a captioned photo now counts as content. As we've discussed, the key is that the photo and caption need to answer the search query.
It will be more interesting to see if the traffic "bump" continues or dies out. HP features new (or newly edited) hubs as they come through the QAP process and that usually produces a bump in traffic. I've done the same thing you have (but with 50 hubs at once) and my traffic is the highest it's been in months - with the increase all from HP. It is already dying out, too (hard to be sure because the weekend always shows fewer views), just as expected.
I suggest telling the story in the captions. You can achieve the best of both worlds - images in a half-size capsule to the right for non-mobiles, and images which work on mobiles when displayed at full size by having informative and carefully constructed captions. Also remember that the photos stand alone on Pinterest and so the captions should be enticing and encourage viewers to want to get more from the article. I don't like defacing great images with text - Yuck! It is all about the captions. On mobiles users will see an image, read the informative captions that tell a story and move on to the next one. That's my approach.
Easy to say but hard to do. I also do not like putting text on photos, but for Pinterest this is a "must". I think telling the story in photos would take lots of them, and for my niche, they are hard to come by. I try to tell the story in my text capsule headings and then support as much as possible with the photos. If you can do all this, terrific...I don't know if I can.
Thank you TIMETRAVELER2 for this photo post!!! I had no idea that placing the picture first (you do mean absolutely first, right?) would help traffic. I've already changed two of my Hubs & you are so right, it really does look better.
Yes, I do mean first. So, you have your title, your summary, your made for Pinterest photo (a great photo with appropriate text on it that, if possible, perks interest, a caption that refers to or repeats the title, the photo credit...and then you start writing.
I'm still working on this but am seeing lots of red arrows as I go. At the very least it is increasing my Hubber score, which I think is important.
Take a look at a few of my hubs to see what I am talking about. If you don't see a photo first, I have not updated it yet!
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