Did you know that approximately 75% of internet users in the United States regularly search for visual content before they actually make a purchase? This number continues to increase each year, so if you haven’t properly optimized and configured the images on your website for Google Image searches, you’re definitely missing out on creating an additional traffic channel that presents some great opportunities to generate more sales and increase your brand’s reach. Here’s why…
If you haven’t noticed or don’t use visual searches, Google recently changed its search results experience through a partnership with Getty Images. What resulted was a major change affecting how images are displayed within search results - the View Image button was replaced by a Visit Site button. This spawned from a formal complaint issued by Getty Images that the View Image button promoted image piracy.
This change created an opportunity for ecommerce website owners. Google Image users are now sent to the source page of the images they click on (via the Visit Site button) instead of remaining within Google’s search results (via the View Image button). This means if your product images rank well for relevant search terms, Google Image users can be sent directly to the product page where they can make a purchase.
Overall, this creates a new and viable channel for ecommerce traffic, and it’s one that many website owners aren't fully taking advantage of yet.
If you want your images to rank well in image search results, then it's extremely important to fully optimize them so that Google can properly match your images with related search queries (just like optimizing your web pages to rank well in traditional search results). Web pages that have not been optimized will have a harder time ranking in search results, and images are no different. Keep in mind that Google takes website/page authority and page specificity into consideration when displaying images for search terms. For example, images on product pages should rank better compared to images on category pages because the content is more relevant to related search queries.
When optimizing your images, be sure to:
Using structured data and markup to enable rich product images and other attributes gives brands the opportunity to attract searchers who are looking for certain items they want to buy online. High intent searchers convert at a higher rate and should be able to see the product price, availability, and review ratings displayed within search results. Details about product schema markup can be found HERE. Please note that so far, structured data does not directly impact the rankings of your pages, but it can influence the types of searches you rank for through clearly identifying what content is on your product pages.
As we briefly discussed earlier, large images are one of the biggest factors that contribute to a slow load time, and may even time out on slower or busy connections. Did you know that, on average, images make up for more than half of the data for most web pages? This is why you should be sure to minimize the file size of your images. In addition to minimizing the file size, use images with the correct dimensions instead of replying on the browser resize them.
In an overwhelming sea of images, use professional and unique ones that will stand out and grab your audience’s attention. This means avoid using stock photography! Stock images don’t represent your brand and can be used by anyone willing to pay for them - even by your competitors. People searching tend to naturally associate these images to the first website they see that’s using them. If the website linked to that image didn’t interest them or wasn’t relevant to what they were looking for, it’s unlikely they’ll click on that image again. This means if you happen to be using the stock image, you’ve basically become invisible to them.
Here are a few tips on product images to use on your website:
Social media postings from customers creates new content around your products and can even rank within Google Image search results. Customer photos help to build up your brand recognition and credibility, increasing your brand’s reach to the social followers of that customer. Encourage your customers who are on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook to share their purchases and experiences using established hashtags for your brand. Also, Google appreciates fresh content, so try adding social feeds that pull in user images. This is a great way to create new content for users to engage with.
If you’re looking to digitally grow your business, it’s essential that you keep up with trends and take advantage of opportunities when they are presented. In the online world, everything moves and changes at a fast pace. It’s important for website owners to adapt to changing technology and to build strategies around new opportunities. Remaining stagnant will only allow your competitors to catch up.
If you’re interested in learning more about using Google Image search or how to grow your presence online, please reach out to our team. We’d be happy to chat about strategy and how we might be able to help your business grow.