The ‘similar items’ feature currently covers just a small selection of products at the moment, but this will be expanded over the coming months
There have already been some game-changing updates to the way Google works in 2017, but one that could influence businesses significantly all over the world is the addition of ‘similar items’ to mobile web searches and within the Android Search app.
Seen a handbag you’d like? Want those sunglasses? Need those shoes? Well thanks to the new ‘similar items’ feature, Google will provide you with direct links to similar products below any lifestyle Image Search result.
So How Does It Work?
Using machine vision technology, this handy feature is designed to help users locate the products they love in photos that inspire them within Image Search.
The tech can identify individual products within an image, for example, a pair of sunglasses or a handbag, and instantly display them as shopping links to the user underneath. Although the feature is currently limited to lifestyle images and products only, Google plans to roll out additional categories such as Home and Garden in the coming months.
To get your lifestyle products involved in this right now, all you need to do is ensure your structured data is accurate…
But Wait – What Is Structured Data?
‘schema.org’ structured data is the type of simple microdata – these are specific tags that you can add to your HTML code to assist the search engines in recognising what your content is about. When information is organised and structured in this way, search engines understand it better and can, therefore, use it more efficiently in features like ‘similar items’ – hooray!
This type of microdata is actually the brainchild of popular search engines including Google, Yahoo and Bing – its aim is to help you provide their search engine algorithms with the most accurate information possible, allowing them to better understand your site content and therefore present users with the best possible search results.
So How Can You Get Your Products Appearing On ‘Similar Items’?
To get your products featuring, you’ll need to add specific code to individual items to help the search engines match that product with the image that’s being displayed. This is well worth setting up as it could bring additional traffic and sales to your website.
You can find out exactly how to set up your products correctly using Google’s step-by-step guide.
Using structured data (specifically schema.org product metadata and schema.org/product markup), you can ensure your products will be eligible for use within ‘similar items’ – remember though, at the moment this functionality is limited to mobile devices and your products must fall under the lifestyle category.
Also, not every image will display purchasable items – Google is currently picking and choosing which images it can assess and list relevant products for, so don’t be alarmed if you see an image that doesn’t highlight your product.
So there it i a brilliant new system that will almost certainly be rolled out across every imaginable product in the future. If you sell products via a website or online store, you’ll definitely want to get on board with this fantastic new feature as soon as possible!