Cartoonify your blog for top SEO results

Cartoons give a blog – or any website – an unfair advantage in the search engines. Cartoons can turn an unremarkable blog post into prime link-bate, and a web page into SEO rock star status.

In the crowded world of blogging, the path to success is always to distinguish yourself. There are many ways to do this; here are just a few of the more common ways to distinguish your blog within its niche:

  • the length of the posts
  • the approach you take to a topic, perhaps playing Devil’s advocate or assembling multiple opinions
  • a unique writing style
  • incredibly thorough research
  • presentation

By way of example, Mike at Sugar Piner Realty Blog makes a big deal of how each post is a “lightning fast read”, which makes it easy for people to click through without feeling they will be stuck reading for hours (low risk).

On the other hand Neil Patel of Quicksprout Blog prides himself on long, detailed, highly useful posts. His is one of my favourite blogs; I don’t mind being stuck reading his long text because I almost always walk away something useful and actionable (high value).

Yes. Short is awesome. Long is amazing. Both these bloggers distinguish their posts by taking exact opposite approaches. But what they share in common is that they distinguish.

Whether a post is long or short, provocative or bland, informative or opinionated, presentation also counts. These days, the value of having an image on your blog posts is indisputable.

  • Pinterest is huge. No image, no Pinterest.
  • FaceBook adds images from links automatically. Your link is lost on FaceBook without an image.
  • Twitter is growing increasingly visual.
  • Google Plus is at least as visual as FaceBook…and I don’t even know if you can post there without an image.
  • Snapzu. GentleMint. Manteresting. Sulia. Rockzi. Dudepins. DartItUp. Etc.  Those are just the ones where I have profiles; you might know of others.

What does this have to do with SEO? I’m getting to that.

Stock photography has bloomed (not literally, except for floral photography) over the past few years, as the number of blogs continues to rise, compounded by the realization that a blog post needs an image.

Infographics have also exploded (not literally) as everybody and their pet Chihuahua’s grandmother tries to cram “everything ever known in the universe since before the beginning of time” into one handy reference image.

People love funny pictures. #cartoons #SEO #blog posts

But Mark Anderson of Andertoons makes a strong case that cartoons are more effective than stock photos and Infographics.

It could be argued that stock photography (boring!) and Infographics (seriously?) are just being done wrong. And I might well make that case in another blog post (or two). But even done right, stock photography and Infographics would have a hard time competing with cartoons.

Is this where you get to the SEO part? Shhh. Stop interrupting.

A cartoon holds a dual promise that no other medium does. It offers the likelihood that any time invested in it will bring laughter, or at least a smile … or at least some form of amusement. Chances are pretty good that you will feel good after reading a cartoon.

In a good mood, the reader might be more amenable to continuing to read the post. Enjoying the cartoon, the post might be shared just for the cartoon’s sake. Who would do that for stock photography, or even for an Infographic?

Even if the cartoon sucks, you know that it won’t take more than a moment of your time, so this is a lower-rick activity than clicking through to yet another blog post on the levels of mercury found in southeast Pacific tuna. Who won’t read the cartoon?

If you have not yet heard, SEO these days is all about engagement. The more people you can get top view your content, and the more they engage with it, the better you will rank in the search engines. Lots of engaged people send lots of tweets, post lots of FaceBook comments and link back from their blogs. The natural links, just because your content is so awesome, are the Holy Grail of SEO.

eyeballs x engagement = SEO

SEO tips for cartoons (lightening fast read!)

  • Make sure your cartoon is on-topic with the post.
  • The cartoon does not have to re-enforce a specific point from the post, but bonus points if it does.
  • Make sure the cartoon can stand on its own, out of context. It will stand a much better chance of being shared in social media.
  • The cartoon does not need to have keywords in the text, but bonus points if it does.
  • Make sure the image file name and alt text have keywords, unless it would look really silly.
  • Make sure your URL is on the cartoon, in case it gets shared beyond your ability to track it.
  • Welcome reprints (you can even give link code, the way Infographics marketers often do).

Why my cartoonfographic rocks

The most shared post on this blog is actually an Infographic. It will never win any design awards, unless someone is giving out a what-do-you-call-that-awkward-thing award. But it does do four things very well:

  • It is short and sweet (lightening fast read).
  • It addresses a much-talked about topic (newsworthy)
  • It gives a useful, actionable framework for evaluating links (useful)
  • It looks almost more like a cartoon than like an Infographic (What DO you call that awkward thing?)

Cartoons are not cheap. They are labour-intensive, so you will pay a price. If you have deep pockets, they are a great investment every day. If your pockets are shallower, you might want to be strategic in how you use cartoons.

For instance, a lot of personal finance bloggers have a mix of content on their blogs:

  • useful tips and tricks for saving money, making money and keeping sane through it all
  • financial product reviews

Guess which of the two types of posts is income-producing? And guest which type of post people actually like to share? One way to make the income-producing posts more shareable is with a cartoon. The result is more inbound links and more social signals to the pages that actually need to rank well in the search engines.

Another strategy would be to have a weekly or monthly cartoon, and draw people into other posts through that cartoon. To be more clear, the cartoon would be a post on its own, perhaps with a round-up of the week’s or the month’s posts to get people moving deeper into your website.

Cartoons are particularly useful for dull topics, like grain elevators or concrete mixing. Even the world’s biggest grain elevator groupie, or the world’s biggest cement curing fan would be hard-pressed to read through 800 words on those topics without yawning.  Imagine, however,the fun you could have with a cartoon of a grain elevator sinking into improperly mixed cement. Ah, but now I mix my metaphors…

Cartoons are not your only option for effective and engaging images. Infographics work, too. Stock photography works, too. But cartoons do have a natural advantage, and are well worth your consideration. It could be the unfair SEO advantage that propels your blog.

DEAR READERS: What do you think makes the ideal image for a web page or blog post?


  1. Hi David,

    People love pictures. If you can build a cartoon, even better, because we remember these pleasant cartoon-like images from our childhood.

    There is something about seeing a nice pic which grabs our attention; factor in SEO and you are supercharging your imagery and boosting your blog traffic quickly.

    Smart post!

  2. Hmmm, even though the “child” in us still loves cartoons, I never knew it could give a blog or website an unfair advantage in the search engines. This is definitely a new discovery for me, and am sure for a lot of people, so thanks for bringing this up, David.

    It was also interesting reading Mark Anderson’s strong case showing that cartoons are more effective than stock photos and infographics. Interesting indeed… who would have thought that?!

    I like how you didn’t just theorize this but also went on to explain how and why “cartoonifying” one’s blog helps with SEO results.

    And of course, for those who believe you and want to really cartoonify their blogs, you provided really helpful tips on how to do it right. Awesome!

    Re your final questions of what I think makes the ideal image for a web page or blog post, my first answer certainly wouldn’t have been cartoons, but after reading this article, it’s worth paying more attention to this.

    Once again, very good article, David. Thanks for sharing this on, as you usually do. I hope it gets the attention and “kings” from other “Kinggers”, 🙂

  3. This is a great idea. But, as you said, a costly one…
    And, since my ability to draw a cartoon is akin to my ability to fly to the moon unaided, I will have to hope that my compatriots will have sufficient time to proffer one to match my needs… Of course, that does mean they aren’t fully engaged in profit making activities for our firm, which brings up another problem…

    To get to my point… Yes, visuals are important for one’s blog. They need to be engaging to keep your readers’ interest. But, you must keep your budget clearly in mind.

  4. Hey, Roy. Clearly you underestimate the value of stick-men!

  5. Hey David,
    Nice article.I would love to use cartoons in my blogs.Is there any site that can provide me free cartoon pictures?

  6. Dear David – As you must know by now, I’m a big fan of your writing and recommendations for social networking. Your tips make sound sense. Everyone does love cartoons and I know many lecturers who present serious topics lighten the crowd by interspersing cartoons to relieve tension. I read at the end that these cartoons may cost a pretty penny. So many people today post cartoons on FaceBook without attribution and I would like to hear your opinion on recycling, reusing and reposting the cartoons that belong to artists and other people. Keep up these fabulous articles. Debby

  7. Hi Victoria. I don’t know of any off the top of my head. But Google and Bing are your friends.

  8. Hi Debby. I contacted Mark for permission before using his cartoon. That pretty much sums up how I feel about attribution.

  9. Hi David

    great idea. The biggest “Problem” in relation with cartonns is the Price. There are a lot of free-images arround but not so with cartonns. So it is expensive.

    Cheers from Germany


  10. Yes cartoons can be way more interesting than infographics and photos, but i guess that also depends on what the cartoon’s message is and the picture of said cartoon. Focus on its effectiveness and work on how it can deliver to your audience is what’s best to do.

  11. Thanx Sir, I too started to cartoonify my blog, this really helps me in increasing visitors.