I love to write blogs – I think as SEOs in particular, we have lots to gain and give when it comes to improving the Internet as a tool for the masses. I try to fit it into my schedule as much as possible and I have a running list of topics I’d like to consider developing upon.

Relevant images AND videos?!

But man, where do people find the time to, in addition to writing an excellent blog post, find or create the additional images, videos or other content to go along with it? For me, finding that time can be impossible, but images and videos are becoming increasingly more relevant as ranking factors in search. Which is why I’ve come up with a few shortcuts and ideas which, when implemented correctly, could even gain you some excellent contacts and even – some valuable links!

1. Google Alerts is Your Friend – Let it Help You Make Some More

Hopefully the rumors aren’t true – but assuming Google Alerts are still up and running, Google Alerts can be the best place to find relevant images or videos for your topic AND develop a connection with someone who cares about the topics you do. Like I said, I have a running .doc of possible blog topics I’d like to expand on. Once I add it to this list, I also create a Google Alert around the same topic. Imagine: content similar to the article you’d like to write, that someone already did the research for and added images and videos.

Now I know what you’re thinking: Matt, that’s great but if they created the images and videos, isn’t that against copyright if I use them too? And, my answer to that is ‘not if they give you permission and you provide a link!’ Have you used Google Image search to isolate free to share and alter images yet? It’s a wasteland! But I refuse to believe that, in this giving, egocentric world, more folks aren’t ready and willing to let you promote their work. All of the copyright info. Is there to scare away people who use without asking. So, shoot the author an email – give him props for his well written piece, and ask if it’s cool if you link over and use some of his imagery. This technique is particularly valuable for those middle tier blogs – you know the ones: they crank out great content, have decent backlinks, but just don’t have the engagement they should. Now – with one email, you’re able to enhance your blog, help another solid blogger out, AND create a contact interested in the same stuff you are, which could lead to links and opportunities in the future. Sounds like a win to me.

2. Use Flickr – Creative Commons Search

I feel like Flickr is the forgotten social platform for the masses, but photographers who know what they’re doing are all over it still. Every time I run a search, I find a decent, hi-res image for what I’m searching for. Plus, it offers an easy way to find license free content which, and this is important: ties easily to a real human. There are lots of amazing photographers out there doing some awesome work, and they’re just itching for some visibility. Give it to them! The great part is, these guys also have blogs where they spotlight their work, and now that you guys are friends, maybe they’ll throw a link your way too?

3. Use Google Video Search to find relevant videos – And Talk to their Creators!

For the win!
Great images, videos, and a new contact – #winning

Ahh online videos. Everyone LOVES them – but nobody EVER thinks to credit their creators when they share them. In fairness, most videos do a pretty good job of spreading love for themselves somewhere in their videos, but why not shoot an email over? Let’s think – you have someone savvy enough to create a video around your topic, and smart enough to optimize it in a way that lets you find it. Pretty good chance that they could be a valuable ally in your trek for good rankings.

Don’t get me wrong, creating your own original content is always the way to go, but sometimes there just isn’t enough hours in the day. As with most Internet endeavors, the tools exist to make even the most daunting tasks simple and less time consuming. But, don’t forget to take those few extra seconds to make that people connection: your blog and your business will thank you for it :).