Google is constantly developing and testing new features. Augmented Reality (AR) is a hot topic right now.
You can think of AR as a way to make digital images appear in your living room. Google's visual search technology for Android, Google Lens, does a lot more than that.
It enables you to bring your physical environment into the digital world.
What is Google Lens
Google Lens is an image recognition technology that allows users to interact with real objects using their phone's camera.
With the help of AI, Google technology interprets the objects on your phone camera and provides additional information. It can scan and translate text, see furniture in your home, and help you explore local attractions.
Google Lens is built right into the camera on some phone models. If it isn't preinstalled on your device, you can also download it from the Google Play Store to try it out.
Using Google Lens
Have you ever traveled and wished you could read this ticket in a foreign language? With Google Lens, just move your phone camera over it and the text will be translated for you.
You can also use Google Lens to learn more about your surroundings in other ways. Pointing your camera at a nearby landmark will reveal historical facts and information about opening times. When used on an animal or plant, it can identify the type of flower or breed of dog.
When you eat in a restaurant, you can see which menu items are the most popular (this information comes from Google Maps). Students can even use it to help them with their homework: hover over an equation for step-by-step instructions on how to solve the problem.
But one of the most exciting uses of Google Lens for marketers, and the one I'm going to talk about today, has to do with online shopping.
Suppose a user is browsing their phone and sees a sweater that they like.
Instead of typing a long query into Google ("brown sweater, zigzag pattern …"), the user can tap and hold the image and Google Lens will find the same item (or a similar one) to buy can.
The app also offers style tips and ideas on which items should be combined with the sweater. The recommendations are based on AI's understanding of how people typically wear similar clothes in fashion photos.
Before the shopping feature came out, users could already search for clothes by taking a screenshot and opening it in Google Photos or pointing their camera at a physical item in a store. A long click on an online image for an instant search makes the whole process easy.
In the future, Google plans to make AR showrooms available so that shoppers may soon be able to try on clothes virtually at home.
How Can Ecommerce Businesses Optimize for Google Lens?
Once SEOs have experimented with long-click search, we'll get more insight into what works and what doesn't with that particular feature.
But we've known a lot since Google Lens and image search have been around for a few years.
Here's what to do if you want to optimize for Google Lens:
Get your products featured on Google Lens
Before we dive into the details of image optimization, make sure that your product listings are showing up on Google. How you do that? With product lists.
Product lists on Google are free. You can also run a paid campaign on Google Shopping if you want. Shopping now also offers free offers.
If you use Google's free product lists, your products will appear in Google Search, Google Images, Google Shopping, and Google Lens. However, you need to follow Google's guidelines and do either of the following two things:
- Open a Google Merchant Center account and create a feed to upload your product data
- Incorporate structured data markup into your website
Google Merchant Center
The Google Merchant Center informs Google about your products so that they can be listed in the search.
To sign up for Google Merchant Center:
Go to the Google Merchant Center homepage and sign in to your Google account.
Click on "Sign in to Merchant Center" in the drop-down menu.
Then enter your company name and information.
Scroll down and enter more information about your checkout process, the tools you used, and whether you would like to receive emails.
After creating your account, don't forget to add your products.
You can do this by creating a product feed. On the home screen of your new account, click "Add Product Details":
You can then add single or multiple products.
Structured data markup
If you don't want to use Google Merchant Center, you can still view your products in Google Lens and elsewhere. However, you need to add some structured data markup to your website. (I recommend this even if you're using the Google Merchant Center.)
Structured data markup is snippets of code that are added to your HTML code to help Google better understand the information on your website. Schema.org annotations are the most common markup used in SEO.
For example, scheme can tell Google that a particular page is a recipe, item, local business, or event.
To implement the Schema.org markup, you will need access to edit the HTML on your website.
Google has a helpful support guide on setting up structured data to make your website compatible with Merchant Center.
If you use WordPress there are several schema markup plugins available as well.
After adding the code, use Google's structured data testing tool to make sure Google understands your markups.
Follow Google Image Optimization best practices With Google Lens
Google Lens technology is similar to Google's reverse image search, but uses AI in a more sophisticated way. Many of the same principles that apply to regular image optimization for SEO also apply to optimization for Google Lens.
Large images that load slowly (or not at all) can affect your SEO (and make your website less user-friendly).
Since ecommerce websites tend to have lots of images (as they should!), Load times are especially important.
Use a compression tool like Compress JPEG or Compress PNG to shrink your images.
Label pictures and add keywords
Make sure you use keywords and descriptive language wherever you can e.g. B. in picture titles, ALT text, file names and EXIF data.
Add captions and ALT text through your website's HTML or through your content management system (like WordPress or Squarespace).
EXIF data can be edited locally on your computer. This data will add more detailed information to your photo, such as: B. Time and date of the recording and the camera used.
Although machine learning tools like Google Lens rely more on image recognition than text to perform a search, adding clear and relevant information to your image can improve SEO and user experience.
Use high quality photo and graphics For Google Lens
Another way to optimize for Google Lens is to provide crystal clear product images.
When someone long clicks a brown sweater in a photo, and that sweater is a product that you sell in your ecommerce store, you want your product to appear in their searches. To do this, Google needs to understand that the brown sweater you are selling is the item the searcher is looking for.
Search your website and replace any images that are blurry, strangely cropped, or not fully displayed.
Ideally, you want to use high resolution images captured with a professional camera while balancing quality with the file loading time. Choose a high quality file format such as .PNG or .JPG.
Google Lens vs. Pinterest Lens
Google Lens isn't the only game in town. Pinterest offers a similar feature called Pinterest Lens.
Just like Google Lens, Pinterest Lens allows users to purchase third-party products. Users can take a photo with their camera, upload one, or hover the camera over a physical object to use the feature.
What is the difference between Google Lens and Pinterest Lens?
There's a lot going on in the Pinterest app on Pinterest. In contrast to Google, Pinterest is a specific ecosystem with its own verified dealer program and an internal search engine.
If you want to optimize your brand for Pinterest Lens, make sure you have a Pinterest business account, use catalogs to get your products on Pinterest, and join the Verified Merchant Program.
Otherwise, many of the same rules apply as with Google Lens. To be found in Pinterest Lens, optimize your images by adding keywords to the filename, title, and ALT text, and make sure photos load quickly and are of high quality.
What does Google Lens mean for marketers?
Advances in Google Lens search aren't just changing the way search engine optimization works. They also represent a significant shift in the way people search for products.
Nowadays, if you want to shop online, you can go to an online store and type in a specific search term. When you find what you're looking for, you'll check out and go back to what you did before.
With Google Lens, every minute you spend online becomes a potential shopping experience. While browsing social media posts, reading blog articles, or notifying friends, you can find an article you like and occasionally browse products.
Tech journalists have seen Google's focus on improving the shopping and lens experiences as part of a broader strategy to compete with Amazon. And you are probably right.
Google wants users to spend more time searching Google and less time browsing ecommerce websites.
If you are a marketer who is into ecommerce, this is big news. This means that in the future, fewer people may visit your website directly by typing it in the address bar. Instead, they can arrive directly through channels like Google Lens or Pinterest Lens.
In the future, brands may invest more heavily in strategies like product placement as part of their marketing. With tons of images floating around the internet of a famous person using your product, users can easily search that product directly with a lens search.
Google is constantly innovating and creating new and different search methods. Google Lens is the latest example of the constant growth of search giants.
For ecommerce retailers, this new technology shouldn't be ignored as it could well be the future of image search.
As marketers, we are expected to change quickly when technology changes, and Google Lens is no exception.
Have you heard of Google Lens or Pinterest Lens? What do you think of this type of search?