In the past year, visual search has increased substantially in popularity and importance. It's most commonly used by e-commerce websites and image-based social media platforms to make it easier for users to shop for goods and connect with one another. That said, early metrics indicate that many verticals will use visual search to find information in the future, making it one of the most critical strategies to learn right now.
Understanding visual search -- and visual search optimization -- is imperative for digital marketing success. Below, we discuss the basics of visual search optimization and top tips to optimize your images for maximum exposure.
What Is Visual Search?
Visual search is the process of searching the internet using an image rather than typing in text or keywords. It's the fastest-growing search engine use case and it's expected to increase exponentially over the next few years. The benefits of visual search are numerous, including reduced time spent searching and a greater ability to find information that's relevant to your interests.
The History of Visual Search
In December 2015, Google released the Visual Search API which allowed developers to integrate visual search technology into their apps, websites, and programs. They also released a visual search tool for image search, which enabled users to search Google images using an actual image as the search term.
Since then, image-based searches have grown exponentially. Recent data from artificial intelligence leader ViSenze shows how visual search is expanding, indicating that as many as 62% of Millennial and Gen Z users want more visual search technology. In a study by Google, approximately half of people who made a purchase online reported that an image of the product helped them make a buying decision.
How Visual Search Works
The ability to visualize searches with images instead of text reduces the amount of time it takes to find information and provides a more accurate way to search, making it easier for people to find their way around a website. This is a particularly valuable feature for eCommerce websites.
For example, if you need to replace a specific style of chair, you'd have to search using keywords like the type of chair, color, shape, etc. Then, you'd need to comb through hundreds if not thousands of pictures to find one that matches. With visual search technology, however, you could upload a picture of the broken chair and the search engine would find matching or similar pictures published on various different websites.
How to Optimize Your Images For Google Search
Understandably, visual search optimization has become a key focus for marketers and SEO experts. To effectively promote your business, products, or services on social media, you need to know how to optimize your images for visual search.
Visual search optimization is a relatively new trend in the field of SEO, which allows brands to optimize their images and improve their search rankings. Here are some simple best practices to get started with:
- Use images that are unique and relevant to your business. Avoid generic stock photos that have little to do with your brand, products, or services.
- Make sure your images are good quality. Don't publish grainy, low-resolution, or poor-quality images. Make sure the quality isn't lowered when images are resized.
- Use appealing visual elements to attract attention. Attractive colors, unique layouts, and unexpected content will garner more attention when your images are listed in visual search results alongside similar images from other businesses.
- Select an accurate image title and description. A user should be able to get an idea of what the image depicts just by reading the title and description, without looking at the image.
- Optimize the page that the image is on. Make sure that the page you post an image on is well-optimized for similar valuable keywords. When your pages rank highly, so do your images in visual search results.
- Use the same keywords in the image file name, alt tag, and image description. This tells Google that all the content on a page is related and should be ranked for the chosen keyword or key phrase.
- Get backlinks from relevant sites. Good backlinks are important for domain authority, but make sure you're not getting links from low-quality or spam websites. Google can penalize you for backlinks from websites it considers to be problematic.
- Use alt tags for each image. Alt tags are not only good for SEO, but they also meet ADA compliance standards. Visually impaired individuals can "see" images by using screen readers, which verbally read out the alt tag of images that have them. Without alt tags, your image content remains inaccessible to some users.
Improve Your Visual Search Rankings With Laveh Digital Marketing Services
Digital marketing is a constantly evolving industry that requires brands to stay on the forefront of near-daily changes. This can be challenging, especially for eCommerce brands that are focused on providing stellar customer service and sales.
Laveh is an inbound marketing agency based in Boston, Massachusetts. We take pride in helping small businesses and solo entrepreneurships succeed online. Contact us today to learn more by calling 617.657.9966 or filling out our short online contact form and we'll get right back to you.