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How to Drive More Traffic Using Google Lens and Reverse Image Search

  • Felix Rose-Collins
  • 6 min read
How to Drive More Traffic Using Google Lens and Reverse Image Search

Intro

Image search is critical for helping web users find the information they need. It's also important for driving more traffic to your site, and Google also wants you to make the most of it. Hence, the launch of Google Lens, and the update of Google Reverse Search (Image Search)

These two incredible features by Google are set to change the way we look at images on the search engine. Here’s how you can get ahead in the game with these amazing tools.

Google Image Search vs. Google Lens

Since it first launched in 2011, Google Image Search has grown way beyond its original scope. From helping users to discover related images and find content, to searching for stolen images, image search remains a critical component of the web experience. But as powerful as image search is now, we are likely in only the early stages of what will be possible via this channel. And with Google Lens now available, it seems fair to assume that there's even more power and opportunity on the horizon.

Now that Google is introducing Google Lens, how is it different from the previous products created by Google? Google Reverse Image Search perhaps?

When you use a regular search engine like Google or Bing, you typically type in a keyword or phrase and search results pop up, but with reverse image search you can upload an image and then see which websites or social media sites have shared it online. It can be useful if you want to find out who has been sharing your content on social media.

This lets Google understand the search you're doing and allows it to return relevant results. You can also let it show you images and other content related to the image you selected.

When searching Google Images, the usual way to do it is to input a term or a phrase and Google will do its best to show the most relevant images related to your search term. Yet,, you can also use the reverse image search feature to get the most relevant images related to any given picture.

Google Lens

Now that we have talked about how useful reverse image search is, what if I told you that Google Lens can do the search more quickly and detailedly? Would you still use the former?

To better understand and respond to people's queries. Google Lens is a new augmented reality feature in Google Photos that enables users to perform different tasks by simply pointing their phone's camera at an object. Users can also use the camera to take a picture and then send it to Google for processing. Once processed, the image is placed next to the object on the screen, along with relevant information about the object.

Note: This feature is currently available in Google Photos for Android and iOS, but will be coming to web browsers in the future.

Google Lens lets you search for an exact copy of an image. Or analyze and recognize the content of an image. The service will also search for an image even though it was taken from your screen.

Let me explain it to you visually... I tried both Reverse Search and Google Lens and see for yourself... I used this coffee pot holder in the packaging as an example.

Here's how I did for both Google service using the Google Chrome Browser:

In images.google.com, I clicked the search by image (camera icon), and Google will give me 2 options - either paste in the URL for an image I've seen online or upload an image from my computer. Since I have the image saved from my computer, I used the "Upload an image" option.

Using Reverse Image Search

Upload an Image

Image Search - results page

The result: Although the image really showed similar images, it failed to show similar results in SERP.

Using Google Lens

Though the full functionality of Google Lens is only available on your mobile, you can still use it in searching for images on Google Chrome desktop.

All you have to do is to pick an image that appears on your screen and right-click, and select Search image with the Google Lens option. In this example, let's still use the item in the image above. The picture showing below is one of the results shown from the Reverse image search we did before:

Using Google Lens

Then, drag your mouse to any region of the site you see on your screen to understand more about the visual content you see while you're browsing, and voilà! Google will show you the results in just a few seconds.

Using Google Lens - Search results

The result: Based on what Google Lens has shown me, I think the results are more accurate than the Reverse Search Image.

Image SEO: Optimizing your Image to drive more traffic...

Images are everywhere online, from social media to blogs and websites. Images are more than just attractive eye candy, they are important in marketing because they have a huge impact on a visitor's perception of a website or brand. If you want to improve your image SEO, there are some simple things you can do. Let's go through each of the steps on how to optimize your images for search engine optimization.

Give your images unique names, descriptions, and titles.

Google revealed that it also uses your title and description as part of its image search algorithm to rank your image in the search result.

Everything on-page SEO basic factors, such as metadata, header tags, page content, structured data affects the way Google’s search algorithm ranks your images. And these will be your starting point for image optimization to improve your rankings.

Google Search Central (Source: Google Search Central)

The use of alt tag in image

When an image won’t load, you’ll see an image box with the alt tag displayed in the top left corner. It should be a brief description of the image and what it conveys. Like the title, the alt attribute is used to describe an image file when a browser can’t properly display it. Also, this helps visitors who are using a screen reader, and it also helps Google crawlers understand your content more effectively, since they typically can only read text, not images. So make sure the alt tag and the image match up for maximum relevance.

Create image sitemaps.

Images are a natural part of the human visual experience, and search engines that want to provide the best possible experience for users will want to take their inclusion into account. While search engines can detect text links and crawl the content they point to, they cannot access images like humans can.

By including images in your sitemap you are increasing your chances of being discovered, so search engines can display your site in their results. This will help the search engine crawlers to discover your images that they might have missed. (e.g images that reach with JavaScript code)

Optimize the size of your image

Digital images have dimensions, usually measured in pixels. While dimensions determine the file size (if you know the dimensions of your image, you can calculate the file size), dimensions should not be confused with file size. Image size refers to the dimensions of an image (e.g., 1080 by 620 pixels). File size is the amount of space needed to store it on the server (e.g., 21 megabytes).

Of course, you want to keep your web page size as small as possible, and images make up a significant portion of the total weight of a web page. Save yourself some bandwidth and headaches and compress your images before uploading them to your website; you can do this in Photoshop or with an online image optimizer tool.

Or, take it a step further and use an image CDN that detects the device and optimizes the image prior to delivery. If you’re still unsure how much weight your images are causing to your page speed, I recommend using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.

Make sure your image is relevant to your content.

A picture is worth a thousand words, and this is especially true when it comes to Google—the world’s largest search engine. Clearly, the contents of the page are your first priority, but putting an image without explaining or without relevance to your content is nothing.

Make sure you include substantial information to explain and add relevant text to your image. The information in your images should be truthful, accurate, and clear.

Conclusion

Google’s two new features will make it easier to generate more traffic and improve your visibility from image search results. And the tips that are provided above, will prove themselves to be handy, especially from the standpoint of saving time. But the benefits don't end there. SEO is a whole new ballgame dominated by visual content, and these features just might give you an advantage over your competitors.

All in all, the effect might be small (for now), but it is a very useful addition that could make all the difference when it comes to content marketing, and your SEO strategy. In light of this information, you should adjust your strategy accordingly.

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