Google Search now favors pictures, videos (Green Marketing)
Google recently dropped a bomb on Internet marketers, and very few media outlets picked up on it.
In my humble opinion, this is the most important news you may read all year as far as online green industry marketing and communication.
Here it is: Google has redesigned its ranking system for displaying image-based searches by offering users more context and easier ways to shop online.
In the last year, you may have noticed your Google search results have changed drastically.
Cathy Edwards, director of engineering at Google images, says, “We’ve overhauled the Google Images algorithm to rank results that have both great images and great content on the page.”
I was floored when the Google’s demonstration of the new search technology used backyard garden images.
They pulled up a DIY concrete planter project and then the used tapped on it and it brought up a list of planter products that share the same look as the original “vertical garden” image.
Google is showing you the manufacturers and sellers that e-commerce will be driven now through online image searches.
The Google Lens app will now be integrated into general Google searches using artificial intelligence (AI) to identify the contents of a picture without needing words to figure out what it is.
The AI will scan the photo of say an apple and generate concepts like “fruit,” “edible” or “snack.”
This new tool should launch at about the time you are reading this column.
Google also expands the availability of contextual information about images that will show up along with it in your search results. The image’s captions, the title of the webpage it appears on, and related search terms suggestions will all display with it.
That means careful, accurate captioning and keywording is of absolute necessity.
Critics such as Wired magazine have commented that the new AI searches “seemed more attuned to keeping users on Google.com and pushing external links further down the page.”
Snapchat also recently introduced a visual search feature that allows users to scan real-life items with their smartphone’s camera.
If the item is recognized by the scan, an Amazon link appears to connect the user with a product page for purchase.
What does that mean to you and your small green business?
You need to up your game as far as images and videos go.
Cisco predicts that “over 80 percent of internet traffic will be video by 2020” — that is less than two years. “The growth of mobile devices and small screens made it even more important to be able to quickly scan visual results,” Edwards said.
Start going through your web site now (along with all your social media, online catalogs, enewsletters, etc.) to make sure you are using the best quality images and videos you can.
Invest in the best photography and winnow out anything not in sharp-focus and dimly lit.
Each of your product images should be able to stand on its own, because that is likely how your customers will now encounter them.
Intuitive, visual-friendly searches will likely turn online marketing upside down across many industries.
The green industry is one that may be most heavily impacted because horticultural/agricultural businesses are visually driven.
Some day in the near future, a customer may find you because they clicked on a photo of the “perfect rose,” “a long-living Christmas tree,” or a “red tractor,” without ever typing in those words — make sure your images and videos are ready for them to find.
(Editor’s note: Kathy Jentz is the editor/publisher of Washington Gardener Magazine, the publication for Mid-Atlantic home gardeners. She is the former brand ambassador for Meadows Farms Nurseries and the social media guru for various nonprofit organizations, including DCGardens.com. She can be reached at KathyJentz@gmail.com or 301-588-6894.)
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