John Lincoln

How to Optimize for Circle to Search

Circle to Search

Google has always been serious about being curious. Now, the company has a new way to find the perfect answer to your searches — Circle to Search.

What is Circle to Search?

Google has launched Circle to Search to align with modern user experiences. They have noted in their introduction that it feels disruptive to stop what you’re doing and move to another app to learn more.

With Circle to Search, Android phone users search with a simple gesture, rather than moving to different apps. Users can circle, highlight, scribble or tap what’s on the screen to get more information right then.

Its rollout has begun, with the feature available on the Pixel 8 and Samsung Galaxy S24 series.

What Can Users Do With Circle to Search?

By using the gestures described above, you can:

  • Identify objects in images to learn more about them (e.g., food dishes, plants)
  • Circle products to find out where to buy them.
  • Highlight a word or phrase in an article to get more context.

Why Should Brands Care?

Is Circle to Search worth caring about? Google doesn’t hit it out of the park every time, but I think this is different.

In the examples of actions above, you see the connection between interest and action. By optimizing both organic and paid media for Circle to Search, brands can leverage this experience, translating into website traffic and conversions.

Circle to Search captures user interest in the moment. They may be scrolling Instagram or streaming a movie when something catches their eye. This micro-moment has potential for brands. Users can circle the item and see the search results.

Creating this interactive experience has some caveats. To take advantage of Circle to Search, you need multimedia content, and it has to be high quality. So, maximizing this feature has to come with a strategy.

Use These Strategies to Maximize Google’s Circle to Search Feature

As you start your journey to take advantage of Circle to Search, these three strategies provide a foundation to realize value from it.

Optimize High-Quality Image Content Throughout Your Website

Your website photos and video quality have never been more important (in terms of interactive search). Every page should have optimized imagery; otherwise, your pages are unlikely to be a Circle search result.

Quality over quantity has prominence in this strategy. Image content must be high resolution and effectively showcase your products. Start by doing an audit of your website to determine if what you’ve published fits this guideline. Document the gaps you find and plan to create more photos and videos.

In addition to optimizing images, you should include metadata for visual content. Relevant keywords, descriptions and alt tags should be part of this. Appropriately labeling them helps Google AI comprehend and index your visual content, which improves search result visibility.

An example would be shooting a product demo video for a deep tissue massager. Your video could illustrate how it works and feature up-close angles of its parts. On the backend, you’d fill in the metadata with keywords a customer would use to find such an item. Placing this on the product page would allow Google to crawl it and enhance discoverability in Circle to Search.

Understand What Queries Are Generating Image and Video Results

The second rule to consider is defining how people are searching for your products. There are a few ways to address this:

  • Use an SEO tool like SEMRush, which has a keyword tool that provides volume and competition results for multimedia content.
  • Leverage the YouTube search bar, related searches, and autocomplete feature to see which terms have significant results.
  • Find relevant video keywords using Google’s keyword planner.
  • Look at the search terms that drive the most traffic to your product pages and content and integrate those.

With any combination of these tools, you can narrow down the list of keywords. Then, consider how people who need a product might search for it based on their needs.

Apply Schema to Images and Video

Shema for images and videos has been a foundational SEO strategy. The code helps search engines understand images and video content with titles, descriptions, dates and more. By ingesting this information, Google can generate rich results.

The boost in text SEO rankings from schema applies to Circle to Search, as well. The more data Google has about your visual content, the more likely it will be a result when someone circles to search.

Circle to Search Introduces a New Frontier in Search

How people search is evolving as technology has advanced in the past few decades. New consumers bring their digital nativeness to the user experience. Google has been optimizing for experience throughout its journey, and Circle to Search represents a new frontier in digital marketing.

SEO’s future must continue to adapt to the transition from text to multimedia. Follow this path to modernize search experiences and become a frontrunner for Circle optimization.

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John Lincoln is CEO of Ignite Visibility, one of the top digital marketing agencies in the nation. Ignite Visibility is a 4x  Inc. 5,000 company. Ignite Visibility offers a unique digital marketing program tied directly to ROI with a focus on using SEO, social media, paid media, CRO, email, Amazon and PR to achieve results. Outside of Ignite Visibility, Lincoln is a frequent speaker and author of the books “Digital Influencer” and “The Forecaster Method.” Lincoln is consistently named one of the top digital marketers in the industry and was the recipient of the coveted Search Engine Land “Search Marketer of The Year” award. Lincoln has taught digital marketing and Web Analytics at the University of California San Diego since 2010, has been named as one of San Diego’s most admired CEO’s and a top business leader under 40. Lincoln has also made “SEO: The Movie” and “Social Media Marketing: The Movie.” His business mission is to help others through digital marketing.

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