To quickly bring you up to speed, a visual search is when you use a real-word image (screenshots, internet image or photograph) as the origin for an online search. In other words, you take a picture, hit search and the visual search browser will show you similar images found online. You can then click through on any these images to get more information like what it is, how to make it or where you can get one.
This is very appealing, we are after all a visually orientated species and can understand a picture in less than second, much faster than it takes us to process text. In fact, 62% of millennials want visual search over any other new technology. Visenze
But how does it work you say? Well without getting too technical visual search is powered by computer vision which is the technology that helps computers understand what they are seeing. To a computer a picture is just a bunch of numbers. But if you use machine learning to ascribe meaning to a certain set of numbers and use enough data a computer can learn to associate similar sets of numbers and can cross reference them to gain context.
Visual Search Platforms
The platform that brought visual search into the limelight was Pinterest and in 2018 reported over 600 million visual searches every month. Not far behind is Google Lens and Bing Visual Search.
A number of retail outlets have also developed visual search apps to help you shop with them including Amazon, e-bay, Walmart, Ikea and the list is growing every day.
How Marketers can take advantage of visual searches.
When we go into a shop to buy clothes, we don’t read the label first, and that is what makes visual search such an exciting prospect for Marketers. There is now a way to engage our primary sense when searching online.
With more and more searches being done with visual search image SEO is more important than ever.
Here are a few hints to help get images SEO ready:
- Use structured data where relevant: mark up your images
- Use alt attributes to describe the images
- Find unique images — not stock photos
- Make them high quality if you want AI to figure out what’s on it
- Add them in a relevant place, where they provide context to the text
- Use descriptive filenames, not IMG168393.jpg
- Add captions where necessary
- Use the right sized images
- Always compress them!
To be on forefront of visual search technology you can build visual search capability into you web inventory. And finally advertise your product on Pinterest if you have a visually related product.
As with so many innovative concepts those with vision and foresight will take advantage of the opportunities offered by visual search and the rest will be left playing catchup.
To learn more about how Search Engine Optimisation and Content Marketing can help put your brand on the map sign up for the IMM Search Engine and Content Marketing Short Course. Call us on 0861 466 476 or visit www.immsc.co.za for more information on this and the other courses we offer.