5-Minute SEO School: Visual Search
Are you familiar with visual search? Do you know what its importance is in today’s SEO landscape? If you’re not sure, this quick 5-minute read will break it down for you. Let’s get started!
Visual Search Definition
Visual search is pretty much just what it sounds like—you conduct searches using images rather than text. But how is it different than traditional text-based searching?
One way that visual search differs from typical search queries is that the algorithms are much, MUCH more complex. The technology must interpret different components of images to give results that match the user’s query.
For example, let’s say you take a picture of a coffee maker. The search engine might interpret this as a “What is this?” query. But you might be looking to buy a similar coffee maker, find a replacement part for your current machine, or you might even want to figure out what one component is called. (Gah, what’s that one special coffee pot called—I don’t want a single-brew machine, I want… a percolator! That’s it!)
How is Visual Search Growing Compared to Other Search Methods?
In 2017, which is now getting a little dated in terms of SEO technology, Jumpshot and Moz found that 27 percent of all searches across 10 major properties were for images.
As you can see, most people use Google or Google Images. But there’s still a good portion of that pie chart dedicated to other sources of images, such as YouTube, Yahoo!, and Bing.
How Visual Search is Already Working
While it’s nice to speculate how voice search should work, it’s also important to know how it’s already being used. People are already engaging with visual search through popular platforms such as Pinterest, by using their proprietary technology called “Pinterest Lens.” This technology works by allowing users to “highlight” or select specific sections of images. This lets people match other pins to the highlighted section of the image versus using text-based search to find another similar result.
Where Will We Go from Here?
Can you imagine the possibilities with visual search? Suppose you want to find an outfit similar to one you saw a celebrity wearing. You select a portion of the ensemble and search for it—and now you have dozens of links to similar items right at your fingertips. Or, suppose you want to redesign your kid’s room to look like a photo you found on Pinterest. Simply search for specific items in the room so you can find something similar (or exact, if that’s what you want). And you can even find items within your budget.
You could also use it when traveling: translating signs, identifying landmarks or buildings, or looking for directions to those hard-to-find places.
And there you have it—the basics of visual search. Do you think you could utilize it for your business? Let us know! We’d love to hear your ideas!