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    What Is Reverse Image Search and Why Should You Care?

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    Back in the day, if you wanted to find out where an image came from, good luck. You would have to open up a search engine like Google Images and hope that the image was saved somewhere online with all its identifying information still intact. If not, you were out of luck.

    Thankfully, those days are long gone. Now, with Google’s Reverse Image Search tool, you can easily find out where an image came from, whether it’s been modified, and other sizes or versions of the image that might be floating around online.

    It’s a pretty handy tool, especially given the fact that a lot of image theft happens online. If you find someone using one of your images without permission, Reverse Image Search can help you track down the original source so you can take action.

    If you’ve never used Reverse Image Search before, this article will reveal everything you need to know about this time-saving tool, including how to use it and some of its best features.

    Table of Contents

    What is Reverse Image Search? 

    Reverse Image Search is a Google tool that allows users to search the web using an image or a link instead of a text query. So, if you have an image that you want to find out more about, you can upload it to the Reverse Image Search tool, and Google will show you all of the similar images that are available online.

    This is a great way to find out where an image came from or what it represents without having to do any guesswork. All you need is the image itself, and Reverse Image Search does the rest.

    To use Reverse Image Search, simply go to and click on the camera icon in the search bar. From there, you can either upload an image from your computer or enter the URL of an image that’s already online. Once you’ve done that, Google will show you all of the similar images that it can find.

    Pros & Cons of Using Reverse Image Search

    Reverse Image Search is a powerful tool that can save you a lot of time and hassle, but like everything else, it has its pros and cons. Let’s take a look at some of the most notable ones.

    Reverse Image Search Pros

    • Helps you find the source of an image: As we already mentioned, Reverse Image Search is a great way to track down the source of an image. No longer must you scour the web trying to find where an image came from. Just upload it to Reverse Image Search, and Google will do the work for you.
    • Helps you find similar images: If you’re looking for a certain type of image but can’t seem to find what you’re looking for, Reverse Image Search can help. Upload a similar picture, and Google will show you a list of identical images that might be more in line with what you’re looking for.
    • Find higher-quality versions of an image: Let’s say you found the perfect shot, but it’s low resolution, and you need a higher-quality version. No problem! All you need to do is upload the low-resolution image into Reverse Image Search, and Google will show you all of the higher-quality versions of that image that are available online.
    • Explore unlabeled products: Have you ever come across an unlabeled product online and had no idea what it was? Reverse Image Search to the rescue! Find similar products that are labeled, so you can finally figure out what that mystery product is.
    • Discredit fake profiles:  In recent years, there’s been an influx of fake profiles on social media and dating sites. If you suspect that someone you’re talking to online is using a fake profile, Reverse Image Search can help you confirm your suspicions. Just upload their profile picture and see if it shows up anywhere else on the web. If it does, chances are they’re not who they say they are.
    • Earn natural backlinks:  If you’ve ever tried to do SEO, you know that one of the most important ranking factors is backlinks. Reverse Image Search can help you earn natural backlinks by providing a great user experience. If someone uses one of your images without permission, they’re likely to include a link back to your site so their users can view the original image. This is a great way to earn free backlinks without having to put in any extra work.
    • Discover new animals or plants: Reverse Image Search can also be used to discover new animals or plants. If you see an image of a strange animal or plant that you’ve never seen before, Reverse Image Search can help you identify it.

    Reverse Image Search Cons

    • Can’t always find the source of an image: As we mentioned earlier, Reverse Image Search is a great way to find the source of an image. However, there are times when Reverse Image Search won’t be able to find the original source. This usually happens when the image has been edited or cropped in some way.
    • Can return irrelevant results:  Another downside of Reverse Image Search is that it can sometimes return irrelevant results. For example, if you upload an image of a dog, Reverse Image Search might show you images of cats. This is because Reverse Image Search looks at the overall image, not just the subject matter.
    • Search functionalities aren’t always perfect: Since Google’s reverse image search tool queries HTML code instead of an image file like a JPEG, it’s not always able to find the image that you’re looking for. Sometimes, it just won’t be indexed by Google yet.
    • Poor image quality: When it’s good, it’s great. But when it’s bad, Reverse Image Search can be pretty frustrating. Images with less than 300 pixels tend to return poor results. Not the end of the world, but something to keep in mind.

    Why Google Reverse Image Search is Important for Ecommerce Business 

    Those in the world of eCommerce understand the buying process well: a potential customer becomes aware of a problem or want, begins to research potential solutions, narrows down their options, and finally makes a purchase.

    What’s often forgotten, however, is that this process doesn’t happen in a vacuum. In order for someone to buy from you, they need to be aware of your product or service in the first place. And in today’s digital age, that means being visible on the internet.

    Humans are visual creatures by nature. We’re drawn to images and videos more than text, which is why posts with images get far more engagement on social media than those without. And it’s why videos are some of the most popular types of content on the internet.

    Including photos on your website and social media channels is a great way to grab attention and get people interested in what you’re selling. But what if someone sees one of your pictures online and has no idea that it’s from your business? That’s where Reverse Image Search comes in.

    E-Commerce businesses stand to benefit greatly from Reverse Image Search. It’s a tool that can help you track down where your images are being used, assess the context in which they’re being used, and even find new opportunities for marketing and promotion.

    Let’s dive deeper into how exactly Google Reverse Image Search can help your eCommerce business thrive and grow with two more key benefits. 

    Keyword and Alt-Text Optimization

    We mentioned SEO and backlinks earlier on, but we want to touch on them again in the context of Reverse Image Search.

    If you’re not familiar with SEO (Search Engine Optimization), it’s the process of optimizing your website and content for Google’s search algorithms. The goal is to rank as high as possible for relevant keywords so that people searching for those keywords will be more likely to find and click on your website.

    Alt text (or alternate text) is a form of SEO. It’s the text that appears in place of an image if the image doesn’t load for some reason. Alt text is also what Google’s search bots use to understand what an image is about and how it relates to the rest of the page.

    In the context of Reverse Image Search, optimizing your images with the right keywords and alt text can help you show up in more search results and get more traffic to your website.

    For example, let’s say you sell pet supplies online. If you have an image of a dog toy on your website, you might want to include the keyword “dog toy” in the file name and alt text. That way, when someone does a Google Reverse Image Search for “dog toy,” your image is more likely to come up in the results.

    And if your image happens to be the first result, there’s a good chance the person searching will click through to your website. From there, they may explore other products you offer and eventually make a purchase.

    Voice Search

    Do you love using voice assistants like Siri and Alexa? Well, it turns out a lot of other people do too. That’s why voice search is one of the hottest trends in SEO right now.

    Voice search is exactly what it sounds like: instead of typing keywords into a search engine, you use your voice to ask questions or make requests. Voice assistants then use complex algorithms to understand what you’re saying and provide you with the necessary information.


    Alternative text works with voice search to help ensure your images appear when people are looking for them. That’s because the alt text is used to help identify what an image is about.

    For example, if someone asks their voice assistant to “show me pictures of black cats,” the assistant will use Reverse Image Search to find images that match that description. And if your image has the alt text “black cat,” it’s more likely to appear in the results.

    Voice search is still a relatively new technology, but it’s growing rapidly. It’s not hard to see why, either. Voice search is convenient, easy to use, and it can be a real time-saver.


    If you’re not already optimizing your image’s alt text for voice search, now is the time to start. It’s an excellent way to ensure your pictures show up in Reverse Image Search results and get more traffic to your website.

    E-Commerce businesses stand to benefit greatly from Reverse Image Search.

    Google Image Search On Phone vs. Desktop

    Ready to do a Reverse Image Search but not sure where to start? One common question we get is whether it’s better to do a Reverse Image Search on your phone or desktop.

    Here’s the short answer: it doesn’t really matter. You can do a Reverse Image Search on either your phone or desktop with the same results. Here’s how!

    On the phone:

    • Download the Google Chrome App on iOS or Android
    • Head to in the app
    • Tap the camera icon in the search bar
    • Either upload an image from your phone’s library or enter a URL

    On Desktop:

    • Go to in your web browser
    • Click the camera icon in the search bar
    • Either upload an image from your computer or enter a URL

    Yep, it’s that easy. Reverse Image Search is a breeze, whether you’re on your phone or desktop. So go ahead and give it a try!

    Free Reverse Image Search vs. Paid

    Don’t let the name fool you: Reverse Image Search is a totally free service. You don’t need to pay anything to use it. In fact, all you need is an image.

    That’s why Reverse Image Search is such a valuable tool, whether you’re a business owner, a marketer, or just someone interested in finding out more about an image. It’s a quick and easy way to find more information about a photo, and it doesn’t cost a thing.

    That being said, there are some paid Reverse Image Search tools out there. But in our experience, they’re not really worth the money. Google’s Reverse Image Search is just as good as any of the paid tools, and it’s free to use.

    So if you’re looking to do a Reverse Image Search, we recommend sticking with Google. It’s the best Reverse Image Search tool out there, and it won’t cost you a thing.

    Google Reverse Image Tips & Best Practices

    Reverse Image Search is an incredibly powerful tool. But like any tool, it’s only as good as the person using it. Here are a few tips and best practices to help you get the most out of Reverse Image Search.

    Select the Right Image Formats

    If you’re already familiar with image file formats, you know that there are a lot of them out there. JPEG, PNG, GIF, TIFF… the list goes on. And when it comes to Reverse Image Search, not all image formats are created equal.

    While many recommend you use JPEGs for Reverse Image Search, we’ve found that AVIF, JPEG 2000, WebP, and JPEG XR tend to work best. That’s because these image formats are lossless, meaning they don’t lose quality when they’re compressed. This is important for Reverse Image Search because the images you upload will be compressed when they’re added to Google’s database.

    So if you want the best results from Reverse Image Search, we recommend using one of the lossless image formats mentioned above.

    Give your Images Descriptive File Names

    Remember how we said Reverse Image Search is all about giving Google as much information about your image as possible? That includes the file name.

    When you’re naming your image files, make sure to be as descriptive as possible. Use keywords that accurately describe the contents of the image. This will help Google understand what the image is about and show it to people who are searching for pictures like it.

    Use Alternative Text Titles

    In addition to giving your images descriptive file names, you should also use alternative text titles. As we mentioned earlier, these are the titles that appear when you hover over an image. They’re also used by screen readers to describe images to people who are visually impaired.

    Examples of alt text titles:

    • A picture of a dog running in a park
    • A close-up of a flower
    • A person sitting at a desk working on a laptop

    A good alt-text title should be short, accurate, and describe the contents of the image. Again, like with file names, using keywords can be helpful here. But don’t stuff your alt-text titles with keywords just for the sake of it. Google will penalize you for that.

    Insert the Copyright

    As a marketer or business owner, you probably want to make sure people don’t steal your images. The best way to do that is to insert a copyright notice into the image itself.

    Add the following text to your images:

    • Author (the creator) of the image: Who created the image?
    • Date the image was created: When was the image created?
    • Copyright notice: Do you have a copyright license? If so, include it here. You can also include a description of the copyright, such as “All rights reserved.”
    • Source of the image: Is the image yours? If so, ensure you include a link to your website. If not, where did you get it? Mention the source here.

    By completing the steps above, you’ll be protected against image theft, and you’ll also be providing Google with more information about your image. And the more information Google has, the better your Reverse Image Search results will be.

    Final Thoughts

    Optimizing your images for Reverse Image Search is a great way to ensure you’re getting the most out of this powerful tool. This is just another example of how Google is constantly changing and evolving and how marketers need to change with it.

    If you’re not already using Reverse Image Search yet, we urge you to give it a try. You might just be surprised by the results.

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