A Picture is Worth a Thousand Keywords

By Andre Perreault, Director of SEO, The Richards Group

Andre Perreault, Director of SEO, The Richards Group

I recently destroyed a key part of my daily routine when it was chewed up by the kitchen waste disposal. So what is this thing pictured on the bottom left? Well like many people I don’t know what it’s called and my best attempts at describing would likely challenge some of the best marketing copywriters. So, this scenario seems like a perfect example of the benefits and current pitfalls of visual search.

"I predict that visual search is going to leap forward in adoption and overtake text and voice search within the next 5 years"

First Attempt

Using Google Lens I took a picture of the replacement part. Google’s first attempt was a miss, clock images. Although, knowing when to leave for work is an important part of my day, it is not a key part of it.

Obviously the issue is my image, Google thinks the waste disposal is the focal point of my query. Either, way it certainly isn’t a clock!

Second Attempt

My second attempt at finding a replacement part was to retake the picture without the sink. This approach should make it easier to find a matching product, or so I thought.

Wrong again! This time the search results were earrings. These might be a part of my wife’s daily essentials but they certainly are not mine. 

The first two earrings actually did look a lot like the “thingy” I’m looking for. 

Third Attempt

I took yet another photo with the part in context, it is part of a milk steamer, with high hopes of getting some useful results. Perhaps adding context to the image might help find what I’m looking for?

This time around Google believes I’m looking for tin cans. Who buys tin cans anyways?  If visual search is going to be the next big thing for marketers to optimize their e-commerce websites towards, search engines are going to need to get a whole lot better.

Fourth and Final Attempt

Perhaps Google Lens expects consumers to be professional photographers. So this time armed with some photography tips from the owner of Bolt Productions, I attempted to take a product shot on a seamless white background, use a better angle, and also attempted to add better lighting. Remember the key word here is “attempted better lighting”.

Visual Gratification

Voila, Google Lens gets it right. The Nespresso Aeroccino milk whisk which is an essential part of my daily routine, making a latte.



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