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All-Inclusive Guide to Google Image Search "Similar Items" Suggestions

All-Inclusive Guide to Google Image Search “Similar Items” Suggestions

Google has enhanced image search to better serve shoppers. This guide explores their new “Similar Items” feature in detail.

What are “Similar Items” suggestions?

Google’s image search now shows “Similar Items” below each result image. This suggests products related to your search to help expand shopping options. For example, searching a celebrity outfit may reveal where to buy similar clothes and accessories.

Currently, it suggests fashion accessories like sunglasses. Google plans to include clothing, home goods, and more categories soon. Each similar item shows price and availability directly in the search results. This was a top user request and improves shopping on image search.

How does it work behind the scenes?

For a product to appear in “Similar Items,” retailers must provide the right metadata on their websites. This includes:

  • Schema.org markup: Websites need to add Schema.org product metadata to pages for includable items. This structures data like name, image, price, currency, and availability for Google to understand.
  • Markup validation: Validate that all metadata is properly integrated using a tool like the Structured Data Testing Tool. Ask your web team to check if it is managed by another party.

Once added, it takes about a week for Google’s web crawlers to rediscover pages and index the new structured data. Then test your site in image search by searching “site:yourdomain.com” to see if items appear. Give it more time if it is not yet showing before debugging metadata.

Benefits for merchants

The main goal of this feature is to help users shop and to provide revenue opportunities for retailers. Some ways merchants can leverage “Similar Items” include:

  • Increased sales: When your items show up in related searches, it drives more potential customers to product pages who may convert.
  • Competitive research: Search a popular style to see what similar items others offer. Adjust your assortment and pricing accordingly without exhaustive research.
  • Trend analysis: Explore what’s trending in celebrity fashion or a hobby like home decor. Add these on-trend products to capture interested shoppers.
  • New customer acquisition: Reach buyers navigating image search on mobile and tablets who may become new customers.

Proper implementation allows merchants to benefit from increased discovery in an influential search channel. Taking advantage of “similar items” could bring in incremental sales.

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Optimising for “Similar Items”

To maximise the chances of your items appearing, follow these best practices:

  • Complete product metadata: Include all needed fields like brand, colour options, additional images, etc. More robust data ranks higher.
  • High-quality images: Use large, clear primary images for each variation. Poor or tiny images hurt chances of inclusion.
  • Targeted keywords: optimise product titles, descriptions, and schemas with relevant keywords and phrases.
  • Consistent tagging: Apply consistent, canonical naming for attributes like sizes and colours throughout your site.
  • Competitive positioning: price competitively and ensure availability and delivery dates so users can easily purchase what they see.
  • Monitor performance: Check search analytics to see which items are surfacing. Refine underperforming products iteratively.

Taking time to optimise like this prepares you to tap into new Google discovery features as they roll out.


How do I opt out of showing up in Google Image Search?

Webmasters concerned about copyright or not wanting to be included can add a robots.txt file or XML sitemap containing noindex to opt-out of Google Image Search indexing pages. However, for merchants, this can limit discovery and sales.

Will the “Similar Items” feature come to desktop searches?

While initially only available on mobile/tablet image search and the Android app, Google plans to expand it to more platforms like desktop and iOS over time. Expect a wider reach as it matures.

Can items from other marketplaces appear as suggestions?

At present, only products sold directly on a merchant’s own website can potentially surface as similar items. Google has not commented on including third-party marketplaces in the future.

Is there a minimum number of products required?

There is no explicit threshold, but having a large, diverse catalogue increases the chances of relevance and coverage across many long-tail-related searches. Start with the top 20–50 priority SKUs and expand from there.

How long until results are indexed after updating metadata?

It can take 1-2 weeks for Google to re-crawl and process new structured data implementations. Be patient, continuously improve, and check back after an appropriate period.

I don’t see any of my products. What could be wrong?

Double check metadata schema and markup, use the structured data testing tool, verify images meet minimum standards, ensure high product data quality, and check for technical issues blocking crawlers. If you still have no luck after 2+ weeks, contact Google for support.

Key Takeaways

  • Properly implement schema.org metadata and markup to get products considered as similar suggestions.
  • Having a complete, high-quality product catalogue optimised for relevant keywords boosts inclusion chances.
  • Monitor performance to refine underperforming products and identify new trending styles.
  • Follow technical best practices for indexing and be patient while results are recrawled and reindexed.
  • Though still early, merchant participation in this evolving Google search feature can lead to new customer acquisition and increased sales over time.

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