The Future of Visual Search: What It Means For SEO

Since the first-ever search engine, Archie, the search technology has grown smarter, advanced, and sophisticated. In fact, 27% of all searches across 10 major web platforms are for visual search, according to a 2017 report from Jumpshot and Moz. Thanks to the advances in mobile technology, multimedia results, natural language processing, and personalization, search engines are able to deliver any sort of information in multiple formats accurately, regardless of the device or keywords used.

With the rapid development of machine learning and artificial intelligence sweeping the digital platform, there’s a new feature that has already gained a grasp of how people conduct online searches. Welcome to the future of Visual Search.

What is Visual Search?

Visual search is an essential feature that is currently under development by major search companies such as Bing, Google, and even Pinterest. Not to mention, visual search is quickly being integrated into mobile applications as well. While there has been an existing search engine function that allows users to upload and search images, this type of technology involves pixel-by-pixel graphics search that will allow users to snap and upload an image to discover new information.

There are currently three visual processes used by search companies, such as:

  • Traditional search visual content that relies on text inquiries
  • Images searched through pixel-by-pixel that promotes “snap and search’ by image or specific parts of it
  • Reverse Image Search that utilizes structured image data to determine similar details

For example, Google Lens was an AI-powered visual search tool developed in 2017. The device was developed for deep machine learning on how to detect objects, understand the concept, and offer the appropriate actions based on the image. Experts from Conklin Media ( explain that a strong market for this new search tool is to benefit both online business and offline brands. In addition, Pinterest reported that over 600 million searches were conducted during their Lens testing earlier this year.

How Visual Search Impacts SEO

The Value of Visual Search

Ninety-percent of information transmitted to the human brain is made up of imagery, according to research by MIT. As humans are visual beings, Visual Search helps users find exactly what they are looking for, especially when the product is difficult to describe. Search has been a vital tool for E-commerce websites that enable users to discover new items among a sea of choices. This technology is much more complex than text-based, as the image itself is the form of inquiry. Expanding across various platforms, visual search technology is continuing to improve. With new tech being incorporated into apps and websites, visual search is changing the methods of search as we know it.

How Visual Search Impacts SEO?

Search engines, like Google and Pinterest, has made major developments to improve their capabilities and provide a pleasing user experience. Like other search tools, visual search tools aim to provide the same objective. As digital companies make this technology more accessible, it is essential for brands using SEO to rethink the way they optimize their visual assets. However, metadata, in particular, will still continue to play a vital role in the SEO. This is because metadata holds the data of both web text and images.

Strategies to Optimize SEO

Strategies to Optimize SEO for Visual Search

  • Add multiple images to each topic or product page
  • Maintain site hierarchy and strategic internal linking
  • Use keyword categories and themes to optimize titles, alt tags, and captions.
  • Tailor images to ensure identical results of similar images on the search engine.

The future of visual search is limitless. Not only will it offer a new stream of revenue for businesses but also improve the user’s experience. This could lead to a major impact on SEO and digital marketing, improving the focus of image content optimization and making your online presence more prescient.

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