How Does Google Images Work? All About Images Searches on Google

Google Images News
Google Images News

We all know what Google Images is. We have used it, since its creation in 2001 , for infinite types of situations: accompanying high school or university work, putting a face to that name that sounds so familiar to us or deciding if a place was worthy of our vacations.

But did you know that Google Images has evolved a lot since then and today it can be a great tool for your business ? In this post I will tell you everything about it.

Birth and evolution of the Google image search engine

Surreal as it may sound, Google Images was created in 2001 by Jennifer Lopez . So is.

At an awards show, the singer wore a Versace dress that went viral before that concept even existed. Google searches skyrocketed to a hitherto unknown level, and as previously only text results existed, many people were slow to find what they were looking for: the image of Jennifer Lopez in that exotic green dress.

The result? A few months later, Google Images has launched: a search tool through visual content. In 2001, Google had 250 million images indexed. In 2010, there were already 10 billion.

This popular tool has evolved over the years, adding small improvements that have represented a huge change in the way we find information.

Search filters were created to narrow the results as much as possible (the size of the image, in color or black and white, the date of publication, the type of file and even the rights to use the image). In 2009, ” Find Similar Images ” was implemented .

In 2011 comes the image search in Google , also known as reverse search.

Image search on Google: what is it and how does it work?

Image search in Google is a formula to find content from an image file, without having to write words: it is simply necessary to add an image or image URL to the search engine and Google’s algorithms will analyze it and compare it with the trillions of indexed images that have its database. As a result, we will obtain hundreds of the same or similar files, with their corresponding metadata.

To carry out a Google search by image, or reverse search (as the tool usually works in the opposite way), you have to follow these simple steps:

  1. Enter the Images section of the Google search engine .
  2. In the search engine where you would normally enter the keyword, you will see that there are three logos: the lifelong magnifying glass, the microphone for voice search and a camera that belongs to the image search. Click on the latter. 
  3. Choose one of the two options: copy and paste the URL of the image that interests you or upload a file from your computer .

Even simpler, there is the option to drag an image directly to the search bar . When released, the tool will start working and will show us all the same or similar results to the image we are analyzing.

This simple technique can be very useful on a day-to-day basis, such as when identifying a work of art, a person, a landscape or a plant. But … did you know that Google Image Search can also be beneficial for your business?

How Image Search Can Help Your Business

If you still can’t imagine why Google Images can be essential in the growth of your business, think about the following: how many results appear in the search engine when you do a text search, and how many in the image search? 

Exactly. Your page has more opportunities to appear in the first pages of results in the Google Images version because it shows many more results, so if you are thinking of attracting more organic traffic to your site, this tool is mandatory in your digital marketing strategy . 

SEO and the authority of your page

To get someone who is using Google Images to end up on your page, it is very important to take into account the SEO optimization of the images that the site contains. 

It is normal that you want to make your content more attractive by accompanying it with photographs, infographics, illustrations … but do you apply SEO well to them? Take advantage of every opportunity to add authority to your page by following these tips:

  1. Pick a good title tag. Since 2018, Google has shown the title tag in image searches to precisely provide context to its results and help conversion in clicks.
  2. Create a good meta tag and consistent URL structure for the image, as Google relies on it and the file name for its algorithm analysis. Remember to rename the files with the keyword of your interest.
  3. Use descriptive alternative text (Alt text) to strengthen accessibility for the visually impaired and also to give Google a final push in its recognition process.
  4. Make sure that the images weigh as little as possible, but without risking good quality. Ideally, they should be less than 100 kb. 

If you apply these suggestions, among others, you will see how the authority of your page grows and your images begin to position themselves much better. 

Get backlinks with image search in Google

If your property has indexed content in Google Images, reverse search is an ideal tool to find pages that may be using your photos, illustrations or infographics without mentioning you.

You only need to carry out an image search with your original file and all the websites that are using that image will appear. Do you see any authoritative pages that are not mentioning you as an author? They may not mention the source, they may mention you but without adding a link to your page, or they may even mistakenly link to an intermediary page.

Ultimately, the reason does not matter. If they haven’t linked to your page, you may be missing a good source of organic traffic to your site. Contact that website and request that they add a backlink that mentions you as the owner of the image! 

And so far, some tips on how Google Image Search works and how this tool can help you in your company’s digital marketing strategy. Have you found any additional use for Google Images that was not mentioned in the article? Have you had a positive backlink building experience thanks to this technique? Share it with me in the comments!