Series: Complete SEO Marketing Guide

Part 2: Visual Search

Visual Search

The internet is arguably the most powerful and widely-used resource in the world. According to Statista, roughly 4.54 billion people use the internet across the globe. That’s approximately 59% of the world’s population.

With all of these users, different methods of search are used to find online information. Traditionally, web users conduct textual search through keywords to find what they are looking for, whether they want to locate a local business or shop for online products.

However, there is a way that web users can use images to conduct similar searches. This is called visual search, and it has emerged as a popular avenue for finding information on things difficult to describe with words.

Below, you will learn all about visual search and how you can adapt your internet marketing strategy to involve this method of search.

hand clicking small photos

What is Visual Search?

Have you ever tried to search for something but couldn’t quite describe what it was? Did you instead type in a long description of what you were looking for into the search engine bar only to have it provide weak and irrelevant results?

If so, then you’re not alone. Many people have encountered this problem when performing an online query. In an attempt to make search convenient for all types of web users, search engines have created an alternative search method called visual search.

Visual search enables web users to take a photo and upload it to a popular search engine like Google or Bing. Subsequently, the search engine will analyze the photo and generate relevant search results matching it.

The following results either pull up vital information such as monuments, landmarks, and physical locations or generate information relaying where you can purchase a product or service.

cartoon of search bar

Visual search is impactful to your target audience and your overall internet marketing strategy. Since people usually process images 60,000 times faster than text, it’s highly important to optimize your images so more people will be able to locate your products or services.

After all, there are far more objects in the world than words to describe them. An effective visual search strategy can secure conversions for your business. Many people are visual learners and will want to see what you’re offering before they’re ready to buy.

With images being the determining factor if your business secures a qualified lead or not, continue reading below to learn about the three most popular visual search providers.

Top Three Visual Search Providers

Visual search is an integral part of attracting qualified leads and making them convert. There are three main visual search providers to get familiar with.

1. Google

Google is by the far the most prominent search engine in the world. It’s simple to search for images on Google. All you have to do is go to Google’s homepage and click on the Images link at the top right corner.

Next, you will have the option of either searching for an image by typing in text or uploading one. This will generate results analyzing what the image is, as well as any other similar ones.

To accomplish this, Google relies on a visual search program called Google Lens. This revolutionary technology utilizes computer vision, augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI), and traditional search to analyze images and create custom results.

Google Lens

Google Lens started out as a primitive technology. Now, it has advanced to successfully recognize billions of images. Google Lens can be accessed via all modern Android phones through Google Assistant.

On Google Maps, users can use Google Lens to analyze buildings to generate street information. Also, if you scan a business card, Google Lens can process the information seamlessly to add the data to your contact list.

Per usual, Google Lens is the most advanced conduit of visual search. However, there are many others with impressive specifications.

2. Bing

Bing actually got into the trend of visual search back in 2009 with its own proprietary tool. However, the demand just wasn’t present then, so Bing discontinued it shortly after in 2012.

With visual search becoming more prevalent, Bing relaunched its visual search tool in 2017, and it’s very similar to Google’s. Users can easily click the search bar, press the camera button, and upload an image.

This tool is accessible on Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Launcher, and the Bing app. The only difference in Bing’s tool and Google’s is that the former allows you to draw a box around your uploaded image.

This makes it possible to focus on a particular part of the image to generate precise results.

bing visual search example

3. Pinterest

Pinterest is not only one of the most popular visual social media websites, but it’s also a powerful visual search provider. Using Pinterest Lens, you can use your smartphone to scan the world around you.

Pinterest combs through millions of pins to try to find a similar one that resembles your uploaded image. In addition, Pinterest enables users to obtain extensive search results. If you want to find a particular pair of pants or a shirt, the app will generate specific results rather than some that just match the color or shape of your uploaded image.

Pinterest is an amazing visual search tool for retailers. Since much of its content is based on fitness, cooking, decor, and fashion, it’s important to add your products to this platform so they can get found by your target audience.

To leverage visual search for your business, here are some essential tips to follow.

Pinterest Lens

Offer a Wide Array of Images

The first step of optimizing your business for visual search is offering a wide array of images. Relying on one image is problematic in the sense that all of your products won’t be found.

Numerous images ensure that all of your leads find your products no matter how they search for them. By taking multiple images of your products, you’ll make sure qualified leads can find your website.

There, they can learn more about your business and everything you have to offer.

Choose Quality Images

Presentation is everything. You can’t possibly use low-quality, blurry images in your visual search campaign. These images can turn off your target audience and make it difficult for your audience to tell what they are.

Therefore, invest in creating high-quality images that will allow your audience to get a great look at your products. Quality images are professional and will keep your audience engaged.

It will also keep them more interested in your product. The materials you put out in any marketing campaign reflect who you are. Put your best foot forward with professional images of your products.

bad quality image example

Do Keyword Research

Keyword research is an important task in search engine optimization (SEO), which is the process of improving your visibility in search rankings. Keyword research is also integral to visual search.

Keywords help your images appear in the right search results and give an accurate description to search engine bots on what your images are about. There are numerous keyword research tools you can use for your campaign.

When selecting keywords, you should focus on long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are longer search phrases (ex. AC repair company in Las Vegas). It’s important to use long-tail keywords because they are more specific and attract more qualified leads.

keyword research image

For example, let’s say you’re shopping for blue bell-bottom pants. Which keyword do you think will generate better search results, “pants” or “blue bell-bottom pants”. The latter keyword will generate precise search results that you’re looking for.

Through keyword research, you can find long-tail keywords for your images. This will allow you to optimize your images so they can get found easily on search engines.

Optimize Image Metadata

Metadata is essential information that describes a web page or image. When you conduct any type of online search, the description of the web link and the title is defined as metadata.

To provide search engine bots with information about your images, you’ll need to optimize your images, specifically the titles and meta descriptions. This information is very important for web users too.

When navigating the web, users have billions of results at their disposal. To see which image matches what they are looking for, people look at the titles and descriptions. For this reason, a generic image name like “image203.png” doesn’t say much about what it is.

Therefore, focus on creating a clear and detailed description to assist your target audience.

Add Alt Text

Creating a helpful description of your image isn’t the only way of optimizing them. You’ll also need to create alternative text (alt text) for your images. This helps visually-impaired individuals to understand what your images are about.

Furthermore, search engine bots read alt text. These bots, of course, don’t have eyes to see the image, so alt text is the next best thing for them to process the image.


Visual search is no longer optional if you want to increase your online visibility. By following the tips above, you can succeed in developing a visual search strategy that will reward your business.

Visual search isn’t the only new marketing trend you should follow. In the next post, video marketing will be thoroughly discussed along with effective tips and best practices.

Cartoon of video marketing