Visual Search Is On the Rise! How Will It Impact SEO?

Instead of using keywords as search queries, in ‘visual search’ you would upload an image into the search bar as the query and in return, you would get information, videos, and images related to your query.

Visual search and the number of opportunities that it provides for eCommerce and marketing is so exciting that we forget to analyze its impact on SEO.

Search engines don’t exactly understand images like humans do, to a search engine an image is just an array of dots. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t use it to boost your SEO strategy.

Imagine this, it’s early in the morning and you really want a strong cup of coffee. You walk into your kitchen, plug in your mom’s coffee maker, but, it doesn’t show any sign of working. You panic, you love your mom’s coffee maker and you can’t imagine parting ways.

Thankfully, a sudden relief falls over you as you pick up your smartphone. You smile, take a picture of your coffee maker, go to your favorite online store, upload the image in the search bar. Right there and then, your search results come up with a similar coffee maker as your mom’s.

Within seconds you order the legendary coffee maker, it might be a newer version but it’s guaranteed to work just as well as the old one.

Guess what reader? This technology actually exists and pretty soon you will be able to use it just like that. The technology that I’ve been going on about is ‘visual search’.

What exactly is visual search?

Simply put, visual search means to locate a particular object in a visual environment or a complex array. Humans are constantly performing visual searches.

Whether you’re looking for the umbrella, searching for clothes in the supermarket or looking for a pair of your socks; It’s all a part of visual search.

However, in technical terms, visual search has a slightly different meaning. When you’re surfing the web, you normally enter some keywords and hit the search tab, in return, you would get information, videos, and images related to your search keywords.

But, in ‘visual search’ you would upload an image into the search bar as the query and in return, you would get information, videos, and images related to your query.

Of course, Google’s been using it:

Over the past few years, visual search has been gaining a lot of popularity. Google has been working to enhance its image search capability, no doubt it has come a long way from the reverse image search method.

By using Google Images, you can upload a picture and in return get images and content related to the picture.

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Asides from Google, Pinterest also has an interesting visual search tool.

TinEye has been around for a while now, it’s an excellent tool for matching similar images on the web, but sadly, it failed to identify various objects in an image. On the other hand, Pinterest and Microsoft allow you to pinpoint and search individual items present in an image.

Now, let’s cut the chase to the elephant in the room.

How can visual search impact SEO?

Visual search and the number of opportunities that it provides for eCommerce and marketing is so exciting that we forget to analyze its impact on SEO.

Search engines don’t exactly understand images like humans do, to a search engine an image is just an array of dots. In order to understand images, search engines use the keywords that are associated with the image and its pixels.

For the rising trend of visual search, image optimization is going to be the most important ingredient to make your website SEO friendly.

When users input an image as an inquiry, search engines will use its pixel numerals and metadata to find the relevant results.

So you have to make sure that the images you provide are easily accessible by search engines.

How to optimize images for visual search engines?

Visual search engines use image labels, metadata, and descriptions to analyze images; So obviously the traditional keyword method will still hold its importance.

Better indexing of images will improve your visual search optimization and in return, you will get better search engine rankings. When uploading an image, make sure you go through the following steps:

Optimize Alt text:

If you don’t already know, Alt tags also known as ‘alt descriptions’ are the keywords used to provide an alternate context for your images.

This is very useful for people that are unable to process images. Asides from this, search engines will use alt tag keywords to interpret images. Yes, Content will always be the key to good SEO.

Descriptive File Names:

When you upload a picture to your website, it usually has a default file name. Something like MKD3F.JPG, but, search engines are unable to understand ‘that’ and they will ultimately deduce that your image is irrelevant.

You can simply change the file name using keywords relevant to the content; This will make your site more SEO friendly.

Image Name & Caption:

Don’t name your image helloworld887t53.JPG! No one is going to understand what it is, not even search engines.

After downloading your image, users will have a pretty tough time finding it and search engines will ignore it altogether. Similarly, give a small catchy description for the image caption. Make sure that it is easy to understand.

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Image Accuracy:

If you’re going to upload images you want to make sure that they contribute to your site’s content.

The more accurate the images are; the better keywords you can select to identify them. Moreover, accurate and quality imagery is an essential ingredient for a good eCommerce website design.

Size Matters:

More than 50% of consumers abandon a page if it takes too long to load, and that is why ‘loading time’ is also considered a ranking factor by search engines.

Moreover, slow website speed is one of the common mistakes made by startups on websites.

When users visit your site, it takes some time to load, but, the amount of time it takes depends upon the file sizes that you’ve used.

The larger a file, the longer it will take. So you need to make sure that the images you use are light in size. You can use Adobe Photoshop, Gimp, or Fotosizer to reduce the size of images.

Make The Best Out of Dimensions:

Suppose you’re selling Smartphones, it’s a common practice to showcase all the dimensions of the phone. Consumers will want to see how it looks from every angle.

So when you upload images for different dimensions, you can add captions, names and alt text for individual pictures. This bit of extra work will earn you higher search engine rankings.

Conclusion

Visual search means ‘no typing’, ‘no need to remember product names’ and most of all ‘snap and purchase facility’. It all leads to improved user experience and an increase in user interaction.

Moreover, eCommerce websites can benefit the most from visual search, they can better optimize their sites, increase customer engagement and ultimately increase sales.

This will have a positive impact on the existing SEO strategies and pretty soon, visual search will become an important part of our everyday lives.

Khloe Hunter

Khloe Hunter is a Digital Marketing Executive for Appverticals a mobile app development company. Her expert writing skills, enable her to convert complex information, into content that anyone can read.

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