Considering adding visual search as a way to increase visitors to your website and get more sales? Doing SEO for visual search is vital to keep your content marketing showing up in the search engines and driving traffic.
In Part 2 of this series, we are going to talk about SEO for visual search and some current and upcoming visual search technologies to be aware of.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Visual Search
Just like any other method for enhancing SEO, it requires that you do your research, understand who your audience is, and what your product does for them. Before you do anything else, you can update your SEO, as mentioned below, to make your site more visually searchable – starting today. This is a new path to driving traffic and it’s absolutely encouraged by search engines as long as you are creating the correct information and not trying to spam.
Know Why Customers Use Visual Search
Customers who are using visual search are looking for things that are visual in nature like physical items, art, tattoos, and other items that you really do need to visualize before you buy them. If you have any of these items that are visual and physical, then you probably want to use more visual search marketing optimization techniques. SEO for visual search is going to involve you finding the ways that customers might search using pictures and identifying your products that might match that search.
Conduct Keyword Research
Just like any other SEO option, you need to know what words your audience is using to find your information. These keywords, and keyword phrases, can be included in the alternative text and in the descriptions and captions to increase the ability of search engines to locate the information. This can be done at the same time as you do keyword research for your products to write your listings and take your pictures. Think about how a customer would describe the product you are photographing. Use those words in your content and your alt text tags.
Optimize Your Image Titles For SEO For Visual Search
Using the information that you discovered during your keyword research, develop telling titles that draw your readers in instead of confusing them. For example, instead of just saying the image is a butterfly, specify what kind and why you put it there. When you are naming your image, name it with the keywords instead of just IMG_035. Google can read the name of the file and uses that information in categorizing the picture.
Optimize Product Descriptions In SEO For Visual Search
Use all the space you have available to put a complete description of the image. For example, if you have a picture of a nursing baby, don’t put the description as, “nursing baby.” Instead, make a longer description that is a complete sentence, like this: “small business owner mom works over her kitchen desk building her business while she nurses her baby.” See how that description not only describes a mom nursing her baby but it also gives the search engine the context of the picture. This can only help when it comes to optimizing your content.
Never Skip the Alt Text
Don’t forget to fill in the alternative text for every image you upload to your website. You can put more than one word too. You can put entire sentences that state what the image is and why it’s there and who it’s for. Use your imagination but never skip it. If you’re not sure how to add the alt-text on your system, ask your web designer. Or if you use self-hosted WordPress, look for a plugin to help. Alt text is what is read by screen readers to persons with disabilities who need to understand what the image is about. You are making your website more compliant with ADA regulations when you add the alt-text and you are helping your search engine optimization. Win / Win.
Optimize for Image Size and File Types
As you know, using images can make your site go slower and thus increase bounces. You can size the images better to prevent these issues. Think about the devices your audience uses to browse your site and optimize for the tools used most. Then compress the file size using a compression program like JPEG Optimizer or Compressnow.com so that it’s not too large, without distorting the image. You can also use a plugin or website called shortpixel.com and make your images smaller while keeping most of the detail. You want the images to load quickly for your browsers before they click away.
Add Captions to Explain the Image
Anywhere you are offered the opportunity to add text on an image, do so. Adding captions to images helps the search engines and the viewer to understand what the image is. Remember to use your keywords. You might feel like you are overdoing it, but you are really just trying to make sure it’s very clear what the image is about. This is the small text right underneath a picture that describes what it’s about and it can be very useful to website visitors.
Add Multiple Images for Each Product
When you sell products, don’t just put one product image up. Visual search requires that you put multiple images up of your products in different views, sizes, and shapes so that it can be found on multiple devices. This is great because you already need to create different sizes anyway for each of your social media platforms where you want to share your products and/or services. Again, think through what your customer wants to know about the product. Would they want to see both sides, front and back? Show them. Does it matter what the bottom says? Maybe, so take a picture. Pictures can answer a lot of questions and many times people do not read the description. Consider putting words on the pictures to highlight the main key points of the product for the customer.
Use High-Resolution Photographs
Even though you want to use a compression program to adjust the size, you still want to use high-resolution images, because the search engines like them better and will be more likely to return them as a search result. So compress the images but keep as much of the resolution as possible. When deciding which one, consider more compression as it will allow the page to load quicker.
Run Paid Ads on Pinterest
A really great way to get eyes on your images and thus your products are to pay for ads on Pinterest – the original visual search platform. One caution is that aside from a simple post-boost, you’ll want to ensure that you get some assistance with ads so that you don’t waste your money. Hire a coach or other expert for the platform you want to run ads on. Pinterest ads are great in that you promote a pin, and once the ad is done, you still have increased traffic to the pin and get residual value from the advertising. It’s not just “off” once you stop paying.
Use Google Image Badges
Google is always updating how images will appear in search results. Now you can add image badges to help with these results. You can include badges with recipes, videos, products, GIFs, and more. You can also include image license metadata to help in some cases. Always add as much information in as many ways as possible to help browsers and buyers find your products. Much of this is optimizing when you first list the image and then it’s done.
Boost Organic Image Visibility
One way to do this is to include content with images. The information you include in the form of text content on each page with images will make a big difference in the organic reach of each image you publish. Pictures and descriptions give the search engine context of the pictures you are showing. So be very detailed and write good copy and descriptions to help SEO for visual search and more.
Submit Your Image Sitemaps to Search Engines
You can go to most search engines and upload your images for search with a description of the image. For Google, just go to images.google.com, and then follow the prompts. Remember to include as much information as you can with each image. Use all the advantages you have right now as visual search is just becoming more popular.
Add More Than Photographs
Add more than just photographs as images. Add memes, turn quotes into graphics, and add video too. Any type of visuals that you can add to enhance the information on your site will help if you remember to optimize the images with the right keywords, title, description, and file names. Show the product in use, also known as lifestyle images, which help the consumer to envision using the product themselves.
Use Featured Images in Your Posts
If you use WordPress, you can use the editor to choose a featured image for any single page or post. You can try using the Yoast! plugin to help you get this done right. You can also learn to use schema or markup language in the post to tell Google what to do with the image. Plugins like Yoast! can help you get a lot done. Yoast! is free for basics and this will get you off to the right start with your product website.
As the technology improves, you’re going to find more ways to improve the graphics and images that you use on your site to get more visual search results. Each of these ideas will take less than five minutes to implement and will increase results exponentially.
Current and Up-and-Coming Visual Search Technologies
All search engines are becoming visual search engines, even though some work better than others. A lot of the technology you are already accustomed to is ready for visual search. It’s just a matter of connecting the technology with customer behavior.
Smartphones with cameras, QR codes, augmented reality and face mapping, artificial intelligence, and more already use visual search. For example, a customer can be in any store shopping, see something they like, and use a scanner to scan the item number and information to find out if the product is on sale elsewhere at a better price, or if other sizes are available.
Some people envision a time when stores are just sample stores. The shopper would go to the store to try the items, then they’d use their smartphone to capture the image and send it to their smart shopping device to purchase in their size and ship to their door.
Right now, many tools allow customers to take a picture of a product and upload it to the search engine, which can locate like products. A great example of this is happening right now on GlassesUSA.com. You can take a picture of the glasses you want and upload the image, and it’ll show you more just like it at a reasonable price.
This is just a start. Experts believe that visual search will affect how people shop in ways we can’t even imagine now. According to a Nascent Technology survey, over half of all US customers are already aware of and trying to use visual search.
To ensure that you’re ready for visual search, you’ll want to start a Pinterest account, start taking more product pictures, optimize each with all the SEO you can muster, and consider adding any type of visual search technology to your site as it becomes available so that you’re ready.
Following the simple steps outlined above can bring your website a long way towards optimizing SEO for visual search. Don’t let it worry or scare you, make sure that you are doing this from the beginning with your product listings. And if you have a lot of product listings already done, use the 80/20 rule to decide where to start. That’s the process of figuring out your most popular posts or products and optimizing them first, as they should give the best return on invested time. Then you can schedule to do the rest over time.
Tomorrow we will talk about visual search sources and some tricks and tips for you to get started. I’m also going to tell you what to do right now to get started!
We have a 7-day email training that will walk you through the steps to improve your visual search marketing on your website so you can make more sales. Go to www.wildcatbrandmanagement.com/visualsearch to sign up.
Find part 1 here:
Find part 3 here: