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The Five Big Key Takeaways from this Article

  1. Google is experimenting with different ways to search for information, entertainment, or “infotainment” online beyond the usual text-typing or voice-searching. 
  2. One of the biggest new features is Circle to Search, where with the swiping of a circle on the screen you can highlight something that you want to search. It is currently available on certain Android smartphones
  3. Sophisticated A.I. systems, enabled by computer vision, leverage this.
  4. Circle to Search takes the circled item and searches for like data and information on the web. 
  5. Much of the time, the circle-to-search item will be a consumer product. 

Circle to Search: An Overview

What is Circle to Search, exactly? 

It is a recent feature that Google has been testing for the large-scale A.I.-powered overhaul of its traditional search system. 

Here is what this shall entail: more and more innovative ways to search for content and products online. Emphasis on the products, especially, as they are what is getting highlighted in many of the examples that Google demonstrates for Circle to Search on the website

So, there is an obvious appeal to Circle to Search to business owners. Yet, one lingering question troubles the minds of those who manage businesses with products eligible for Circle to Search: How exactly does one get their product or service featured on Circle to Search?

An Illustrative Example

Suppose you are a part-owner of the online e-commerce platform Frog Booties, where you offer bootees (i.e., the kinds of cutesy boots that fit snug and comfy on the feet) for owners of pet frogs–and toads, it must be mentioned–around the world. 

When you entered this particular niche industry, you thought that there would be virtually zero to little competition, a nice little uncompetitive hustle where you would just find the willing purchasers of this incredibly niche product and become their go-to source for all things frog footwear. 

And it was, for a while. Whenever someone would post a video online of a frog wearing a pair of your signature bootees for amphibians, it would easily go viral. People would circle the bootees in the videos for Circle to Search to learn more. And, lo and behold, your company’s product line is what would show up. 

Proudly, at the shareholders conferences that you would hold every quarter in Phoenix, you would point your pointer at the apex of the upwardly diagonal red line on the sales figure chart, to rounds of hoots and whistles and general applause for increased dividends. 

The Results

But soon it took off, and the fashion industry took notice, flooding the market with other options for frog footwear. 

As it turns out, there is now plenty of competition in this corner of the petwear market, and so those Circle to Search results from those viral videos of frogs serving looks in cute lil boots are just rife with cheap knockoff brands. And in fact, even the big-name fashion titans like Balenciaga and Gucci and Versace have been offering high-end options for frog footwear. 

Hence, you are wondering just how you could game the system for you to regain your dominance? 

Part of it is realizing what it is that powers Circle to Search. 

What Is Behind Circle to Search? (Hint: It Is an A.I. System)

Once you get past the obvious novelty of the thing, you can understand that this is really not all that different in terms of underlying function as traditional search is. 

An A.I. algorithm takes some input (in ye olden days of search, the search term; in these newfounded days of Circle to Search, the circled item) and searches for related data. The interactive presentation of related data on your search is the output. 

So, basically we are still dealing with a “search and get results” automated mechanism here. 

And, as we know, search engines are sensitive to SEO tactics such as using keywords and meta descriptions to influence the ranking of your content. 

Using those guidelines, we can still discern then that those same old SEO tactics will apply to this novel way of searching. Having the right keywords in the title of the product, for example, can be important. 

However, there may be other equally important aspects that business owners may need to be aware of, and the field of SEO will need to adapt to.

For example, could a specific color shade for a consumer product increase its chances of ranking well, or does the angle from which the product is photographed play a significant role? The visual elements that determine how a Circle to Search image is seen will likely become more fundamental to SEO strategy in the future.