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How Visual Search is Changing SEO

Everybody wants to rank higher on Google. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a driving force behind most of our projects and you can see this through the way we and other agencies build and design websites as well as the content we help generate for them. Solid SEO strategy and execution aim to make your site more visible to ideal customers. There are plenty of other components that factor into SEO, but one that’s been getting a lot of attention lately is visual search.

Wait. Don’t I mean “Image Search?” 

Image Search vs. Visual Search

You’re probably familiar with the Images section of Google Search. You click on that tab and enter your query and Google populates the page with pictures, infographics and video stills that all relate to what you typed in. But have you ever wondered how Google knows what images to show you?

That’s a big part of the SEO formula. Search engines LOVE images on your company web pages. In fact, simply having good images is a great way to boost your page’s visibility. In terms of how Google actually finds these images, it all has to do with how the images are presented. 

First and foremost, the images on your page (whether a product page, blog article or about us) should be relevant to the page’s content. Next, the image needs to have appropriate attributes that help search engines find it. This includes everything from a good file name, a relevant caption and alt text (a description of what the image is in case it doesn’t load). 

All of these little tasks factor into not only the visibility of your page, but that specific image’s search-ability in Google Images. 

Ok, great. So that’s that, right? While this was as far as site images could go, there’s a new player on the block. Visual search is quickly becoming a powerful asset for any website, and knowing how to harness it will help your web pages stand out. 

Visual search is sort of the reverse-engineered version of an image search. In a traditional image search, you go to Google, type in your keyword and you get a gallery of relevant jpgs, pngs, etc. Conversely, visual search allows you to take a picture of something, such as a product part or landmark. You can then upload this image into a search engine to find corresponding images, websites with more information or even your site’s exact product page.

The Power of Visual Search for Your Company’s Products

Here’s a scenario. Let’s say a machine shop’s administrator needs to order a replacement part for a piece that’s worn out. She needs the exact same part to keep the machine up and running, but they haven’t ordered one in quite some time. She searches for an invoice or delivery slip, but comes up short. The part is old and there are no distinguishing marks or branding anywhere. She’s probably in for a long night of research. 

Now imagine our weary shop administrator has the ability to simply take a photo of her part and upload that into a visual search. Within seconds, AI have identified the part and generated a list of web pages with more information on it. Let’s also say this part is something your organization sells. You see where I’m going with this? 

While still in its infancy, visual search has the potential to really change the way we search online. Sites like Google, Bing and Pinterest have been spearheading this function, and it’s bound to pick up more steam. 

How to Take Advantage of Visual Search

Visual search is a growing trend, and it’s a good idea to get in on the ground floor. One of the easiest ways to start leveraging visual search is by ensuring the images on your site are all search engine optimized. This is especially important if you’re a product-based company. Make sure all images are searchable and indexed.

Another thing you can do is to make sure your helping visual search by providing straightforward images. A simple shot of a machine part lying on an all-white background is much more searchable than a picture of it in someone’s hand against a (visually) noisy background. Keep them simple. Also, try to limit images to one product each, unless you’re selling entire systems, sets or kits. 

PFG can help give your images a little TLC

Optimizing images is a small pieces of your website’s functional puzzle. ProFromGo specializes in rescuing, redesigning and even overhauling company websites. We know everything you need to leverage images on your site. 

If your site’s images are lacking, not loading or there just aren’t enough of them in the first place, we’d love to chat. Contact us to learn how we can redesign your entire site to get the traffic you need and find that next ideal customer.

Chris Vendilli
About the Author
Chris is the founder and CEO of Vendilli Digital Group. In his free time, you’ll find him camping, fishing, or playing beer league ice hockey with a bunch of guys who refuse to admit they’re already over the hill.
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