I for one didn’t have visual search at the front of my mind. I messed around with Google Lens a year or two ago and thought, “huh, that’s kinda cool” and moved on. Well, Crystal very much put it back on the agenda for me at Digital Gaggle with her insightful talk.
So, what’s the big deal with visual search?
8 billion searches - a 3x increase on 2021…
Essentially, visual search turns your camera into a tool that understands the world around you. If you want to know the significance of something within your photo, you can use visual search. I recently used it to tell me what board game someone was playing in one of their social media photos, because it looked cool and I wanted it!
Now, not to be mistaken with image search, which is simply using text to search for an image, visual search allows you to search with an image. This allows you to be much more specific without having to type a ridiculously long search query which, most likely, won’t return what you’re actually looking for. Imagine what my search would look like when trying to identify that board game…
How do you optimise images for Visual Search?
Image SEO - Hopefully a standard practice when adding images to your website.
Include relevant entities
- Relevant file names
- Modern formats
- Alt text
- Image titles
- Structured data
- This is essentially a noun to describe what’s going on in your image i.e. monument.
- Google understands more than 5 billion entities in their knowledge graph and uses lots of different data points.
- Ensure you have relevant landmarks, objects, and faces for sentiment in your images.
- Show text the right way around. Google can’t understand backwards text.
- Reduce vertical text in images.
Keep branding consistent
Make sure that your brand has a solid logo that is kept the same on everything (including colour). Broadcast and declare it everywhere you can, Google Merchant, Google Business, website schema, etc. This gives your brand the best chance of being recognised in visual search.
A question from the audience was around the actions to take following a rebrand. Crystal’s response was to provide clear clarification on your website, we were this, we are now this, with the new logo included.
Create user generated content photo opportunities:
The example that Crystal used was the X space centre. The photo opportunity that everyone wants for their memories or social media is in front of the space shuttle that is kept there. The same image is featured on the space centre’s website. Google can connect this.
You don’t have a spaceship, right? Make your own ‘spaceship’. Creating a completely unique photo opportunity that inspires user generated content is beneficial not only for customer satisfaction but for you being found in search.
SEO for IRL sponsorships
If your company or brand is sponsoring an event, make sure that you’re seen on plain backgrounds, with good lighting. Prioritise unobscured placement, a busy environment will interfere with what Google can determine and as a result may stop your business from appearing.