Although Google Lens is currently generating 8 billion monthly visual searches, most businesses are still unaware of the growing influence of visual search.
With such mounting figures, it’s no surprise that Google has introduced new guidelines for SEO that cater to the expanding use of this upcoming method.
If you are on the hunt for gaining a competitive edge against other businesses in your niche, making adjustments for visual search in your SEO strategies can get you there because, chances are, your competitors aren’t acquainted with this powerhouse yet.
Lucky for you, I’ve got just the guide on visual search; you need to understand its impact on your website SEO and how it can help expand your business to untapped horizons.
What Is Visual Search?
Visual search is an up-and-coming technology that enables users to find information with the help of images rather than text-based queries.
With advancements in AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning, search engines now have the capability to read and comprehend the contents of an image to provide specific and relevant results.
All we need today is a snapshot to ask search engines to identify the product in the picture, suggest similar offers, find out more about the entity in the picture, and the possibilities are endless.
From a business’s point of view, such queries play a critical role in your customer’s decision-making process.
Just think about the vast pool of opportunities you’ll be able to tap into by optimizing your strategies for visual search, enhancing your customer’s journey in the process while also amping up your lead generation tactics.
How Do Visual Search Queries Work?
Visual search is based on sophisticated algorithms that inspect images to recognize patterns, objects, and any other visual cues in the picture.
When we share an image query with the search engine, it compares the visual elements present in the image with its extensive database to output accurate responses in an instant.
Did you know that Google Lens can distinguish more than 1 billion objects? This is a prime reason why identifying objects is the foremost purpose of Google Lens.
But to achieve this feat, search engines make use of progressive image recognition technologies, namely convolutional neural networks (CNNs) along with deep learning models to develop and discern the content of an image.
Benefits of Visual Search for SEO
Below a few benefits of visual search for SEO.
Improved User Experience
As Jakob Nielson once said, “Pay attention to what users do, not what they say.” When you start understanding what your customers want, you’ll realize that 62% of millennial shoppers expect brands to use visual search over other technological features.
This is mostly because visual search exhibits a more direct and user-friendly experience, allowing users to find what they were searching for in just a couple of clicks.
An enhanced user experience boosts the amount of time visitors spend on your website, reduces bounce rates, and increases overall user satisfaction, all of which signal the search engine about your website’s relevance, quality, and domain authority.
Higher Engagement and Conversions
55% of shoppers state that visual search played an important role in influencing their taste and style. This shows the potential of visual search for converting shoppers into customers.
Allow me to share the science behind this. When a customer can easily find the exact product they’re looking for, they’re not distracted from making a purchase.
Moreover, by untangling the process of product discovery and gaining information, websites with visual search features can drive higher engagement.
Since websites with high engagement and conversion levels are favored by search engines, visual search has a positive impact on the SEO performance of your website.
Gain High-Value Mobile Traffic
Mobile phones make the entire process of uploading the desired image for visual search and gaining information about it much easier.
Hence, I always recommend businesses to optimize their websites for various screen sizes and integrate visual search features to cater to their audience, along with boosting search rankings.
How to Optimize Your Web Images for Visual Search?
Optimizing your images for visual search is the first step to making the most out of this feature.
Here are a few of my top tips to ensure your images are optimally optimized for visual search:
While it is a given, high-resolution images that are visually appealing and relevant to your content are crucial.
Optimize File and Size Types
For best results, compressing images without ruining their quality is essential.
One way of doing this is by using image formats that provide excellent compression.
A major reason for compressing images and choosing file types such as WebP or JPEG 2000 is that you can significantly minimize loading times while preserving the quality of your images.
Websites that can load faster and smoothly make the browsing experience for users more enjoyable and hassle-free.
Select Appropriate Image Titles
Write informative and relevant image titles, blending targeted keywords where necessary.
This informs the search engines about the context of those images, increasing their discoverability in visual search.
User-Friendly Alt Tags
Alt tags feature alternative text for pictures, making them approachable to searchers with visual impairment.
Besides, adding your target keywords in alt tags assists with image SEO.
Your images must be accompanied by descriptive text, amalgamated with your primary keywords, that informs users about its visual contents.
This not only helps with visual search but also upgrades your website’s overall SEO.
Top Tips for Visual Search
We’ve just learned how to optimize our images for visual search, but doing that alone is not enough to ensure your images rank well. With that said, let’s move onto the next stage, that is, crafting a visual search strategy for your business for maximum impact.
Leverage Sitemaps and Structured Data
Structured data serves the purpose of providing additional context about your images to the search engine, while image sitemaps enable search engines to index and crawl those images more efficiently.
Both structured data and sitemaps have the power to escalate the potential of your images in visual search.
Partner With Influencers
Both influencer marketing and visual search go hand in hand, and you can benefit from this match made in heaven by amplifying your business’s engagement and reach.
The key here is to partner with influencers who can exhibit your products with the help of visual search. This can attract new customers to your business, expanding your brand reach.
In a recent research, I found that the human brain has the ability to register images even if it sees them for as low as 13 milliseconds. This ensures that your influencer marketing campaigns to showcase your products and visual search features will not go in vain.
Incorporate Chatbots at Critical Touchpoints
Incorporating chatbots into the visual search strategy of your business can enhance user interaction, providing quick assistance to individuals looking for product recommendations based on your images.
Embrace Image-Controlled Browsing
Visual search enables users to surf through a website by tapping on objects within an image.
This takes website browsing to a whole new level and is made possible by embracing image-controlled browsing to amplify the experience of your valuable leads and drive engagement.
Blend Visual Search with Text
While visual search holds immense power on its own, blending it with text-based SEO can supercharge your website’s discoverability.
This can be done by using relevant content for all of your images to strengthen each practice, enabling you to offer an all-encompassing and interactive experience for website visitors.
While visual search is still a relatively new technology, it is already generating big waves in the digital world and has incredible potential to be able to influence your overall SEO score.
As more and more apps, websites, and service providers make use of this feature, I wouldn’t be too surprised if it becomes a crucial element of online searches.
If you’re struggling to navigate the visual search landscape or are unsure about where to start, share your queries below, and I’ll make sure to address them soon. Until next time!
Cyble Rizwan is a Senior Content Writer at SocialSharings. With more than 1.5 years of dedicated experience in copywriting and SEO, Cyble is deeply passionate about the digital world and follows the industry closely to stay on top of trends in digital marketing. Cyble is pursuing a degree in Digital Business and has written for several major brands such as Tenorshare, DOBA, and more.