Why is Visual Search Important for Local SEO

Myta Santiago 4 mins read
Why is Visual Search Important for Local SEO

While text SEO will always be a top priority for digital marketing specialists across the board, visual search is also an area that needs some tender loving care. Why exactly? The conclusion came about with a bit of psychology and data science. Here are some stats:

  • According to a study by MIT, 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual.
  • 85% of respondents in an Intent Lab study put more importance on visual search over text when shopping online.
  • More people use the Google Lens app on their phones. In fact, according to Google in 2021, around three billion people use the app every month.
  • 62% of Gen Z and Millennial consumers, explains a BusinessWire article, want visual search capabilities over other new technology.

search intent for visual search-2

Also, where did your eyes go? The bulleted list or the infographic? Just checking.

So if you’re a business that heavily relies on product photos to attract your local audience, you should rethink what image to post and what goes into posting it.

But what is visual search anyway?

Before we dive into why visual search is really important and how you can optimise your images, let’s first understand what visual search is.

With the help of artificial intelligence, visual search uses real-world imagery as the search query. So it’s not to be confused with searching for an image on Google Search, or some other similar engine, where you use text as your search query to find an image.

For example, if you’re out travelling, you see a luxury bag on display in a store and you immediately want to buy it. But the price is too high for you, so you use an e-commerce app that allows you to take a photo or upload one to initiate a search. So you take a photo of the bag, upload it on the app, and a list of results appears almost instantaneously. You scroll through the list and find the bag at a discounted price, added it to your cart, and checked it out to be shipped to your home address.

And it’s important because…

Visual search eliminates several steps for customers regardless of where they are in their search intent or purchase journey. In short, at least from a local SEO POV, it gives more motivation for customers to visit you when they see you have desired products in stock.

Let’s say for example you’re a recreational equipment store that sells all kinds of hiking bags. You have multiple locations across the country. Now, a customer is searching online for you – they’re new to backpacking after joining friends during a day hike. They don’t really have a bag suited for the outdoors and want to invest in better outdoor gear. They took a picture of one of their friends’ backpack, but they don’t really know what to expect. They try looking around Pinterest, Google and even Facebook.

Then they go down the rabbit hole of hiking backpacks. Eventually, they find a brand they like – which you offer in your store near them – and order one that fits their needs. With a combination of visual and textual search, your customer was able to purchase from you in a matter of hours. That’s how powerful visual search is.

search intent for visual search

Popular platforms using visual search

Google Lens

Google Lens uses visual search for shopping

Google Lens uses visual search to search for related images, which is helpful for shopping, looking for businesses, and even translating signage while travelling.


visual search capabilities in pinteresta

The visual search capability on Pinterest enables users to find more content featuring the product, which later leads them to a seller (if they are present or are linked on the platform).


visual search for amazon home

Using augmented reality, Amazon makes visual search more interactive by allowing users to place items in their room before they make a purchase. This helps them make better decisions prior to buying something that might not fit in their space.

Amazon have also teamed up with SnapChat to help users identify products they might want to purchase just by snapping them into the photo frame. And if they like it, they can order through Amazon.

How does visual search help local SEO?

Crisp, clean and true-to-reality images on your online listing help would-be customers make better decisions. For example, if someone is looking for camping gear around Sydney, and you’re a camping store, your business details and photos will come up on the 3-Pack.

visual search on the 3-pack

If you own a website with a product in stock, it can appear on Google Lens when someone takes a picture of that product.

shopping visual search on google lens

For locations, if you have a Google Business Profile, you’ll be identifiable as well on Google Lens. After the camera shows your business name, you can tap that and it will show more information.

visual search for Google Business Profile

In the foreseeable future, visual search will be more influential in a customer’s purchase journey, so your Business Profiles will need to be understandable by both people and technology. By making sure that you upload photos on your Profile, including products and areas around your physical location, while also refining your keyword strategy to be able to match search queries. It goes without saying that having high-quality photos are an absolute must in today’s consumer environment, as it builds trust, improves brand awareness, and encourages higher foot traffic and eventual profits.

We’ve got some handy-dandy guides on how to make the most out adding photos on your Google Business Profile, so do check them out after reading this blog!

Use the DigitalMaas Platform to upload photos on all your locations

Got several locations that need better photos? Use the DigitalMaas Platform to organise everything and upload them in every listing. The Platform is your one-stop-shop for all things local marketing, and it’s even easier for you now to make visual search work for you. Sign up for an account today!

Myta Santiago

Myta is the Content Writer & Designer at DigitalMaas. Fusing content marketing fundamentals and the drive to educate customers on how Google My Business and the DigitalMaas Platform work, they're able to create all kinds of written and visual content to make everyone's lives a little easier.


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