Long gone are the days when Google was merely a search engine. Today, it almost seems as if there’s a new Google tool or product every week. As a marketer, how can you keep up with each new update?
The good news is, you don’t need to chase down every new Google “bell and whistle” that comes out — just the ones that are poised to change the marketing landscape in the near future (or have already). Here’s how to optimize your marketing efforts for two recent Google tools that consumers are using:
1. Optimize your site and images for Google Lens.
Back in the day, Google could only identify an image by its alt text code. While uploading images with alt text is still relevant, Google has recently started investing in a tool that can identify the contents of an image through deep machine learning. It’s called Google Lens.
By pointing the Google Lens using a smartphone at an object, landmark, or product, users can get instantaneous answers about what they’re seeing. Lens is designed to identify the following queries:
• Text (e.g., barcodes, business cards)
• Clothes, furniture and home decor
• Plants and animals
Why does this matter for marketing? Especially for e-commerce and brick-and-mortar businesses, it’s crucial for your site or location to show up in Google Lens results. Your site can show up as a search result when a user scans a barcode, product or storefront with the Lens. So, how do you optimize for Google Lens?
• Make sure that your logo on products, signage and other advertising materials is consistent and clear. If you have a physical storefront, this means your sign needs to be clear so that anyone using Google Lens can get your company information. As well, be sure to use the same logo across all physical products as well as online for consistency.
• Choose relevant images and placement. The images you choose for your website should reflect the topic or product that the page is illustrating. Also, try to place the image near the relevant text, as Google will associate the image with the surrounding text. This applies to all websites, not just e-commerce.
• Implement detailed and accurate metadata and image file data. Image metadata optimization includes image file name and alt text. Google crawls these things for image search, so make sure your image metadata include relevant, keyword-optimized descriptions. For example, if you’re a pet-store retailer, you may label your image as red-dog-bone-toy.jpg and your alt text as “bone chew toy for dogs.”
If you follow these tips, you’ll increase the likelihood that your product or storefront will appear in Google Lens search results.
2. Prioritize voice search for virtual assistants.
With a wide range of capabilities, Google Assistant is a formidable competitor to Siri, Cortana and Alexa. The assistant can perform a variety of tasks through voice- or text-based commands, including:
• Access information in calendars and contacts
• Find information online, including store hours and directions
• Control your music
• Open apps on your phone
The advantage of Google Assistant, as with other virtual assistants, is that it’s powered by voice command. What differentiates Google Assistant from its competitors, however, is its newly updated visual design. The homepage displays a personalized summary of the user’s day, including relevant information such as weather, upcoming events and even traffic patterns in frequently visited spots. Search results also feature “rich responses,” in which brands can showcase images and videos to supplement responses to user’s queries.
Another of Google Assistant’s unique features is account linking with Google sign-in, which allows users to sign into or create a new account with a third-party brand directly in the Assistant app.
With the oft-cited statistic that 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020, optimizing for voice-powered tools like the Assistant is crucial for any marketing strategy. So, how can marketers leverage this AI tool?
• One strategy to optimize for voice search is to include optimized metadata and keywords in all of your website content. This includes optimizing page titles, meta descriptions, image alt texts, anchor links, headlines by including relevant keywords and improving crawlability by creating an XML sitemap.
• “How-to” queries are common voice search formats, and so are a great opportunity to optimize your site for these searches. For example, if you sell eyeliner, creating a YouTube tutorial on “how to create the perfect winged eyeliner” will increase your chance of ranking for that search, and expose your product to your target user.
With engaging features and streamlined capabilities, these Google tools are designed to captivate and delight users. Having your product or service show up as a result on Google Lens or Google Assistant will not only widen your audience, but allow you to engage with users in new and exciting ways.