Search in 2018 has become much more diverse than it was a few years ago, with new features such as voice search adding an entirely new dimension to how people explore search engines for answers to their queries. With AI Assistants like Google Assistant becoming more commonplace, search can now be conducted even without having to type a single letter.
Along with voice search, another new method on conducting a search is now being used as well in the form of visual search. If voice search is done through the human voice, visual search is done by simply opening your camera and taking a picture. This new way of conducting search through images might be a relatively new technology, but it has seen a good amount of development, with various apps and services testing the technology out. With this in mind, this is another new feature that aims to impact SEO in the future, and here’s what you need to know so far.
How Visual Search Works
Like voice search and standard search, visual search begins through input, and for this case, taking a picture and cropping it. While some people may compare visual search to Google’s image search feature and find some similarities, visual search offers much more. One of the most prominent apps that utilize visual search is Pinterest and Google, the latter of which offers Google Lens and Google Goggles. Here’s how some of them work:
To start a visual search on Pinterest, tap on the camera icon on the search bar, and take a picture of what you want to have searched.
The photo will then be scanned for a couple of seconds to a minute, and then the results related to your image would pop up. Along with related images, you also get related tags, which allow you to view more options.
Pinterest has one of the largest image libraries on the internet, and being able to tap into that database using visual search helps users find more useful images in the platform.
For Google Goggles, starting a visual search is similar, as the app is ready to capture images as soon as you turn it on. Along with taking photos, you can also pick images from your image gallery and have those scanned as well.
The process takes a couple of seconds depending on the image. Once scanning has been finished, you would be able to see a couple of results. Since the picture I took contains a logo of a popular brand, I am able to access search results related to the logo itself. Google Goggles also scans lettering on images as well, which allows you to translate various words and phrases into different languages.
While the technology is still relatively new and not many apps support it, visual search is something that works, and also something that users would use regularly in the near future the same way as voice search has become a regular fixture in a lot of places.
The Potential Impact of Visual Search
With the rise in popularity and use of voice search across the world, it would not be surprising to expect visual search to become widely popular as well. While voice search is useful in a way that it enables users to search without having to type anything, visual search helps users instantly identify various locations, items, and terms at a moment’s notice.
Back then, if a person wants to know more about a certain landmark or item, that person must search through a search engine. However, the problem would be that the person knows how the item or landmark looks like but does not know the name. This leads to various search queries that aim to describe what it looks like and leads to inconclusive results.
With visual search, these problems would now be solved, as taking a picture and running it through an app will instantly provide you with the best answers. While the technology still needs a few more improvements, visual search is readily available and can impact how we do search.
When it comes to businesses, visual search can play a huge role in driving sales and creating successful digital marketing campaigns. Imagine this scenario: A friend offered me a new drink that I immediately liked. Wanting to know more about that drink, I take a picture, and see the product itself, and where I could buy it. This could be done to a whole range of products as well, from clothing, furniture, toys, and even property.
E-commerce has become increasingly popular as of late, with more and more users enjoying the benefit of being able to shop items on the go. Adding visual search in the mix would help add another degree of interactivity and accessibility to the users and help drive traffic into websites.
Digital marketing campaigns will be able to benefit greatly from visual search, with brands being able to craft their campaigns around the use of visual search, which introduces people to new products or services in an interactive way. With features such as augmented reality also being utilized, the potential for these campaigns to go viral is also immense, as it would generate more buzz that leads to more conversions in the end.
Visual search may still be a very young technology, but it is definitely something to look out for, as it has the potential to positively impact the SEO landscape. With more apps and services making use of this handy feature, it would not be surprising to see it rise and become another integral part of search.
If you have questions and inquiries about Visual Search and SEO in general, leave a comment below and let’s talk.