The SEO Agency and the Digital “Eye” – How Image Recognition Technology Changed the Game

SEO (search engine optimization  is an enterprise that can’t sit still. It has ants in its pants. Every time an SEO agency thinks it finally has everything sussed, that it’s hit that magic combination of link velocity and background programming  another game-changer crawls out of the woodwork.

The problem,, basically, is technology. We live in a third technological age, where industrialrevolutions can happen overnight. We go from mobile phones the size of bricks and computers the size of office blocks, to portable computing devices that fit into our pockets and connect to a web almost unrecognisable from the one that started up at the end of the 20thcentury.

Internet technology is of particular interest, both to the digital historian and to the SEO agency. It routinely comes up with new techniques or solutions that no-one thought possible.

The latest of these, or at least the latest known at the time of writing, is the possibility that Google may be able to use image capture technology to read text in photographs and other image files. This means, in theory at least, that search engine optimization could be done in .swf movies and embedded images: making the old theory that Flash is no longer a good idea a thing of the past.

Flash has always presented problems for the SEO agency. It’s one of the flagship examples of the reason why SEO companies stopped just creating content and started actually designing the sites on which that content was to be hosted.

The problem with Flash is, or was, that it didn’t have any words in it. The search engine “saw” it as only code; and not even as code directly related to particular web page. A Flash file was seen as a separate entity with effectively no content in it: so the only thing about it that could be optimized was the file name.

Now, though, with Google opening its “eyes” for the first time, the industry could be playing a changed game once again. Will your local SEO agency start advising you to use Flash, or embed movie clips?

Funnily enough, video clip optimisation already seems to be happening. Certainly some agencies have been offering video file optimisation services. Perhaps now Google can read, they’ll be expanding those services to include an ability to incorporate keywords and phrases within the shots on screen.

It’s noticeable, for instance, that embedded tutorial files and video walkthroughs have started to “print” the text of their scripts, in whole or in part, during the course of the video playing. From the point of view of a search engine, this may render the content “visible” enough to index along with the rest of the page.

The above raises an interesting question. Video files are the most efficient way to present certain types of information. A product demonstration, for example, can never be conducted only in words – and even words and  diagrams leave too much to interpretation. By actively showing consumers how to use a product, companies selling things can deliver more useful information, quicker.

As a result of Google’s new abilities, the SEO agency is once again able to use that usefulness factor to its advantage – by, as noted, including words in the images.

So if Google starts giving more weight to sites with “how to” videos, will the optimization landscape change again? With everyone optimizing video content just because it gets more play in the index, its value may diminish.


Ilena Sanchez is a search engine analyst. She works freelance for a number of SEO agency clients and writes several tech blogs. 

Author: idania

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