Visual Search Optimisation: How To Optimise Your Site Content for Visual Discovery

Visual search is rapidly growing in popularity. As we step into a multi-device-powered internet, text-based searches are becoming a thing of the past. As voice and visual-driven content gains traction on smartphones and tablets, the ways we search for our favourite brands are changing too. 

“A lot of the future of search is going to be about pictures instead of keywords,” claims Ben Silbermann, Pinterest co-founder and CEO.

With over 62% of Gen Z consumers now wanting their favourite brands to introduce visual search more than any other technology, it won’t be long before searching for your next pair of trousers starts with an image inspiration rather than a keyword. 


(Image Source: RIO SEO)

As you can see here, even Google’s search engine has adapted over the years to promote a more visual browsing experience. Images have become larger, and Schema markups have become all the more common to accommodate multi-device searching. 

In 2022, Google introduced their newest Multisearch feature. Allowing browsers to conduct a search using a mixture of text and images, the search engine giant has made it easier to find answers in a visually-dominated online era.

The question is, how can you optimise your own website to adhere to Google’s new visual search capabilities? From image optimisation to implementing your own visual searching plugins, image-based SEO has never been so important. 

Why is Visual SEO so Important? 

While it is still a relatively new online feature, 30% of Americans have already used visual search when shopping on the internet.

(Image Source: Insider Intelligence)

As the number of people interacting with visual search expands, so should your site content if you want to target all consumers. Creating optimised content for visual search can enhance your UX design, drive more traffic to your site and improve your overall engagement.

Here are some of the key benefits of prioritising your visual SEO:

  • Improved Discovery: If you can create content that can be dissolved via voice and visual search algorithms as well as a traditional text-based search, you widen your chances of being discovered by target leads. Creating visually appealing content that is compatible with a number of devices could boost your chances of engagement and see your SERP score rise in response
  • Enhanced UX: Visual search offers a consumer a more interactive way to interact with information online. Introducing high-quality product images to your site can enhance the browsing experience and improve a user’s journey to the checkout
  • More Conversion Opportunities: Optimising your site for visual search could allow consumers to find closely matched products with ease. This simplifies the path to purchase and generates easily convertible leads

How To Optimise Your Content For Visual Search

With these benefits in mind, let’s have a closer look at how you can prioritise your own content for visual search success. 

Prioritise High-Quality Visual Content

One of the easiest ways to optimise your site for visual SEO is to prioritise a high-quality content strategy. 

If consumers are searching for products in a visual search, you want to ensure that your product images are of high resolution, well-lit, and showcase the best angles of your product/service.

Another key step to remember is your image URL. While your picture may look amazing, it should be easily discoverable by image, text and voice-based algorithms for maximum potential. Your URL should be packed with keywords and an easy-to-read meta-description for best practice. 

“As with most visual aspects of your site, algorithms need to be told what these images are: a dog sweater, a bike or a travel mug. While visual search technology continues to improve, it’s not perfect, so getting started with optimising now will only help as more customers search using pictures they take rather than words they type,” claims Bernard May, CEO of National Positions.

Apple is a great example of a brand that prioritises high-quality content. Their visuals are known for being sleek and visually appealing and effortlessly feed into their minimalistic marketing strategy.

(Image Source: Apple)

Each product image is clear, easily discoverable and recognised, and showcases the key elements of the smartphone or tablet.  

Implement Visual Search Tools

Another way to improve your visual SEO success is to introduce your own platform-specific visual search tool to your site or app. Gartner predicts that e-commerce brands that introduce their own visual search plugin could see an increase in digital commerce revenue by a third. 

Introducing your own visual search plug-in or access tools could allow users to upload their own image inspirations to search for products on your site. Not only would it improve the user experience, but simplifying product discovery could lead to quicker conversions.

(Image Source: ASOS)

Take ASOS, for example. After integrating their own visual search feature into their app, they have since been able to use image searches to suggest similar products within their catalogue and gain more insight into user style, colour and fit preferences for a newly personalised shopping experience.

Introduce Data Markup

If you want to rank well in a visual search, you need to provide as much additional information as you can about your site images.

Incorporating a schema markup or any other structured data markup into your image optimisation strategy can ensure that your visuals are more discoverable. A data markup simply enhances the visible aspects of a search result and improves your chances of your images being accurately displayed in a search result.

(Image Source: Delante)

Take this recipe search, for example. As you can see here, the top search result includes a visual accompanying the text, alongside ratings, cooking time and other important information. Prioritising a data markup allows a user to see the full picture of the page they are clicking on at a glance. This is a great way to enhance your product listings in a visual search. 

Evaluate Your Responsive Site Design 

Last but not least, it’s time to talk about responsive UX design. If you’re looking to improve your SEO, responsivity is your ticket to success. If a user can interact with your content with ease, no matter their device, you’re more likely to see conversion success. 

This is especially true when it comes to your visual content. The visual search usually occurs on a mobile device, so it’s important to ensure that your images are mobile-friendly and adapt seamlessly to every screen size. 

According to experts at RIO SEO, “a responsive image is an image that can change to fit the device a searcher views the image on, providing a better end-user experience on mobile devices. In addition, responsive images also help reduce load times by only displaying appropriately sized images for a device’s resolution, making them an important tool in helping improve page performance.”

Nike is a great example of a brand that promotes responsivity device-wide. Not only does the site adapt seamlessly to all screen sizes and orientations, but images can be spun around and zoomed into using finger-sensitive buttons for an optimised mobile viewing experience. 

What’s Next For Visual SEO? 

It’s no secret that visual search is becoming a new norm amongst digitally native consumers.

“While most consumers are still unaware of this exact technology, it’s clear that they’d like to have the capabilities that visual search offers,” says LaToya Christian, Managing Partner of marketing strategy and analytics at GroupM. “Based on an e-marketer report, over 50% of internet users stated that upon taking a picture, they’d like to be given similar product ideas. That’s visual search, though people may not know it yet.”

As demands increase, improving your visual SEO game is essential if you want to rank well in a Google search. As long as you produce high-quality visuals and optimise their meta-data for improved performance, you’ll quickly put yourself on a path to success.