How to Optimize for Visual Search in 2019

Visual search is the new frontier of SEO and digital marketing. The success of visual social platforms like Youtube, Instagram and Snapchat have only added to the voracious appetite of users to engage with visual content. In fact, recent studies found than 93% of customer consider visuals to be the key deciding factor in a purchasing decision.

 eCommerce sites have predominantly been one of the first mediums to take image seriously with well-known platforms like Pinterest, Etsy, and Depop leading the way. With images now playing such a pivotal role in increasing your visibility online, we’re here to show you the best ways to maximize your exposure own visual search.

Image is the most important in visual search

Image name

The first thing you should do is make sure all your site images have descriptive image names. Also include helpful and relevant keywords where possible to enrich the user’s experience.

 For example, instead of saving an image as ‘image14.png’ try ‘stainless-steel-digital-watch.png’ instead. By using more descriptive names it will be easier for search bots to understand the user’s search query and match it more accurately.

 Alt Text

 Alt text, or alternative text, is the HTML code used to provide descriptions of images. The alt text should align with the image name where possible and include keywords if possible. 

This text again helps search engines such as Google understand and index your images. What’s more, it provides screen readers with extra information to assist the visually impaired.

 Alt texts’ effect is two-fold as it counts not only towards your images but your page search score. It is the perfect place to fit in keywords and will help boost any page, image-centric or not.


 Tags provide much-needed circulation to your images. For example, a picture of a cooking class tagged with descriptions such as ‘date night’, ‘foodies’ and other relevant tags will increase the number of opportunities for the image to be searched.

It is important to remember to not go too broad with your tags as this will take away from the image’s usefulness. Always work with the user in mind.


 Image captions are great for adding context or extra information. Think of an image of a footballer scoring a goal. With no context, it is merely an action shot. With a caption explaining the how it was the winning goal at a World Cup makes the image richer and more important.

 Filling the caption with keywords shouldn’t be your goal. Instead provide the user with insightful, helpful information to enrich their experience. Captions also have a significant impact on rankings so be sure to make the most of them.

 Size of image for visual search

 Image size is important for user experience. While high-quality images look great, they can slow down page load speeds. This is especially important for mobile devices. Users want their information quickly and efficiently so make sure to limit image file sizes or incorporate browser caching to maintain your site speed.

 If you’d like to keep the original high-quality image you can set it apart in its own page and have a thumbnail that leads to the image. That way you maintain the speed of your site and allow users to access the full image should they want it.


 Image placement is another important factor to keep in mind. Google and users look for relevancy, your image should be placed if not directly next to then close to the related text.

 Placement is especially vital to any page with a store or e-commerce function. If your site sells jewelry, for example, your user will expect to find a rose-gold watch image next to a description of a rose gold watch. If you have a large catalogue, it’s wise to go through it and audit all your images. Your users and search rankings will see an immediate benefit.

 Geo-tags for visual search

Location has never been more prevalent. As more users turn to mobile devices to find nearby shops, restaurants and the like geo-tagging has become a must. Pinterest has started experimenting with a location-based feature that brings up images in a certain area, whilst Google has also experimented with this technology on their latest smartphones with photos of shops and items bringing up reviews, websites, locations and other helpful information for prospective consumers.

 For SMEs this is a must as competing with local business. It is a lot easier than competing with the entire internet. Geotag your images and mark your territory for maximum success.

 Image Open Graph Tags

 This piece of HTML code makes your image shareable on social media platforms. For example, posting a URL into a Facebook status will bring up a thumbnail and a brief description of the article.

This is far more enticing and trustworthy than a single blue link. Users will be much more intrigued by your content if there is an image. What’s more, by allowing the image to be shared you stretch its visibility and ensure more eyeballs see it.

Outreach to Social Media

 E-commerce websites should make sure that all their images and descriptions are represented on sites like Pinterest. Pinterest’s image-matching ability makes it the perfect place to double down on your product images and allow for greater reach.

 However, the task doesn’t end there as you need enticing descriptions and links to drive the traffic to your site to complete the transaction.


it draw users to your site to read the full article. Info-graphics, maps and charts are also very shareable, so you may even ind your image featured on other sites. Be sure to follow up and ask for a link or credit to feel the full benefit of your time.

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