Google’s John Mueller answered the question of how Google’s new Google Lens multisearch affects SEO. How Google Lens multisearch affects the practice of optimizing for search engines is a good question and John provided a thoughtful answer.
John Mueller Discussing SEO and Multisearch
Google Lens is an app that’s available for both Android and Apple iOS devices.
The Google Lens app (available for both Android and Apple iOS devices) offers a way to search using the camera and accomplish tasks such as translating text, identify plants, bugs and animals, and find information about places, and other similar functions.
Google Multisearch is a new way to search with the Google Lens app, using text and images at the same time.
The official Google Lens page on Google Play lists these functions for the app:
- “SCAN & TRANSLATE TEXT
Translate words you see, save a business card to your contacts, add events to your calendar from a poster, and copy and paste complicated codes or long paragraphs into your phone to save time.
- IDENTIFY PLANTS & ANIMALS
Find out what that plant is in your friend’s apartment, or what kind of dog you saw in the park.
- EXPLORE PLACES AROUND YOU
Identify and learn about landmarks, restaurants, and storefronts. See ratings, hours of operation, historical facts, and more.
- FIND THE LOOK YOU LIKE
See an outfit that catches your eye? Or a chair that’s perfect for your living room? Find similar clothes, furniture, and home decor to the one you like.
- KNOW WHAT TO ORDER
See popular dishes on a restaurant menu based on reviews from Google Maps.
- SCAN CODES
Quickly scan QR codes and barcodes.”
The multisearch feature was announced on April 7, 2022 as a beta feature. Beta generally means that something is still being developed and tested but that it’s reached a point where it is stable enough to be used.
Google stated that the multisearch function uses AI and that they are still exploring integrating the MUM algorithm.
The Google MUM algorithm is a powerful technology that answers complex questions with the ability to use audio, video, images, and text, plus return the answer using information regardless of language.
Using the Google Lens app, a user can take a picture then swipe up to access the “Add to Your Search” button which then opens a form for adding text.
Screenshot of Google Lens in Multisearch Mode
Searching with an image can be thought of like a search for exactly what is in the image, like an exact search.
Searching with an image plus text allows the user to refine their search, such as to search for what’s in the image but with a different color.
Google’s announcement of the new multisearch used the following examples of a search refinements:
- “Screenshot a stylish orange dress and add the query “green” to find it in another color
- Snap a photo of your dining set and add the query “coffee table” to find a matching table
- Take a picture of your rosemary plant and add the query “care instructions””
How Does Multisearch Affect SEO?
John Mueller read the question in the Google SEO office hours hangout.
This is the question that Mueller read:
“How does multisearch in Google Lens… can that affect SEO?”
John Mueller answered by first explaining how Google Lens multisearch is still a new thing.
“So… this is something I think that is still fairly new and how multisearch works.
We recently did a blog post about this. And you can do it in Chrome for example and on different types of phones.
Essentially what happens is you can take a photo of any image from a website and you can search using that image.
For example, if you find a specific …piece of clothing or …anything basically, that you would like to find more information on, you can kind of like highlight that section of the image and then search for more things that are similar.”
SEO and Multisearch
Mueller next discussed SEO in the context of multisearch:
“And from an SEO point of view that’s not really something that you would do …manually to make that work.
But rather, if your images are indexed then we can find your images and we can highlight them to people when they’re searching in this way.
So it’s not that there’s …like a direct effect on SEO or anything like that.
But it’s kind of like if you’re doing everything right, if your content is findable in search, if you have images on your content and those images are relevant, then we can guide people to those images or to your content using multiple ways.”
SEO and Multisearch
John Mueller said that there’s not any new for SEO that is related specifically multisearch. SEO best practices for content and images SEO are recommended.
However, in my opinion, Google multisearch may require taking new actions related to SEO, including reconsidering content and image strategy now that Google Lens is a part of the mix.
In terms of SEO, it may be prudent to use the Google Lens app and check if your images actually appear for relevant queries.
Another thing to investigate is to check what competitors are ranked in Google Lens.
The advent of multisearch means that it may be useful to consider using images on your web pages (if they’re not already used effectively) in addition to applying the various best practices for images, including the image recommendations for Google Discover and structured data.
Read the Google Multisearch Announcements
Go beyond the search box: Introducing multisearch
Read More About the Google Lens App
Google Lens at the Google Play Store
Watch the Google Office Hours Video
John Mueller answers the question of SEO and multisearch at the 17:39 minute mark