These days, image search engines are more advanced than ever.
No matter what kind of image you want to find, chances are, with the right keywords, search filters, and tools, you’ll find it.
That’s not all, though.
Need to find a source for an image? Do a reverse image search.
Want a high-res image to use in your next marketing campaign or on your website?
Use advanced image search filters to find images with the correct usage rights.
Even if you just want a big, beautiful photo to use as your desktop wallpaper, there’s an image search engine for that, too.
Here are the best ones for picture search, in no particular order.
1. TinEye Reverse Image Search Engine
TinEye is a reverse image search engine that helps you source images and finds where they appear on the web.
This tool lets you search by both URLs and uploaded images.
Just click the arrow icon in front of the search box and upload any image from your computer to find where it appears online.
There’s also a TinEye Chrome extension for faster reverse image searches. It allows you to right-click on any image and search for it using TinEye’s technology.
2. Google Images
You can’t beat Google Images for basic image searches. Just enter a keyword and go.
For more in-depth searching, there are lots of filters, too.
For example, when I search for “bluebird”, I can narrow down photos to just cartoons, clipart drawings, and illustrations, or even logo designs.
To go even further, clicking “Tools” gives you access to more filters: size, color, usage rights, type of photo, and when it was uploaded/created.
This is super-handy for finding exactly the kind of image you want, as well as images that are royalty-free.
Google Reverse Image Search
Google Images also offers a reverse image search tool. To access it, click on the camera icon in the search box.
3. Yahoo Image Search
Another option for image search engines is Yahoo Image Search.
This tool looks similar to Google Images, but the results are slightly different.
You’ll also notice the filtering tools aren’t hidden, but easy to access.
4. Bing Image Search
Want an alternative to Google?
The layout and features in Bing Image Search are still pretty close to Google, though, and you’ll see similar results:
One interesting feature is the People filter, which lets you choose photos of people according to how they were photographed (just faces or head & shoulders).
Pretty useful, right?
5. Pinterest Visual Search Tool
Did you know Pinterest has its own visual search tool? It makes sense since it’s an image-based platform.
It’s pretty simple to use:
- Log into your Pinterest account.
- Click on any pin in your home feed (or on any profile or board).
- Click the icon in the bottom-right corner of the pinned image.
The tool will return visually similar results to the image you searched.
Pinterest has quite a large database of images thanks to user-created pins, so this is a source you shouldn’t rule out when you need to find a particular image.
Looking for an image search engine with more varied results? Try Picsearch.
You won’t get results as specific as what you’ll find in Google, Bing, or Yahoo, but if you don’t need that, this could be a good tool for finding interesting photos that broadly match your keyword.
There’s also a nice feature in the Advanced Search option that lets you filter images by size, including wallpaper-size.
Flickr is a different kind of image search engine because the pool of images comes from amateur and professional photographers sharing their work on the platform.
If you enjoy browsing and searching for beautiful photos, this is your spot.
If you’re looking for photos to use in commercial or marketing projects, make sure you filter your searches by the correct usage license.
8. Getty Images
For beautiful stock photos, check Getty Images.
You can search by keyword or search by image – just click the camera icon in the search box.
If you search by keyword, the auto-suggest feature has some helpful options to narrow down your search.
Getty Images has an incredible array of search filters, too, so there’s no way you won’t find the exact type of image you’re looking for.
Keep in mind: You’ll have to pay for a royalty-free license for whatever photo you want to use. Getty Images offers this licensing on an image-by-image basis, or you can purchase packs of photos for a flat price.
Another, cheaper image search engine for royalty-free stock photos is Shutterstock.
Their image library is just as large as Getty Images, and their search filters just as in-depth.
Shutterstock offers pre-paid image packs as well as annual plans. Their most popular includes 350 image downloads/month for $199/month.
Another good option for marketers on a budget: get a pack of any 5 royalty-free images for $49.
10. The New York Public Library Digital Collections
Looking for high-quality digital images, including high-res scans of historical books, maps, papers, sketchbooks, ledgers, photographs, and more?
The NYPL Digital Collections has a vast archive of images in the public domain, which means you can use and reuse the images any way you like.
It’s a great image search engine for finding unique photos.
Once you start searching, it’s fun to explore the different digitized items.
For example, this search led me to an illustrated page from a book on New York fauna.
Quite simply, these are images you won’t find anywhere else.
11. Yandex Image Search & Similar Images
Russian search engine Yandex offers a few different ways to find and browse images.
At Yandex.Images, you can explore collections of images by topic.
Clicking through takes you to a robust image search where you can filter and sort by size, orientation, image type, file format, and more.
Similar Images is another Yandex image tool that helps you find items similar to your existing one—for example, products with like features.
And its regular Image Search is actually a reverse search that needs only a fragment of an image to scan for it on the web. Of course, if you have the full image that’s even better.
Image Search Engines Are Bursting With Potential
Overall, image search engines are better than ever. Don’t settle for just one – use the tool that best suits your needs.
Make sure you play around with keywords and search filters to find those hidden gems.
Furthermore, dare to stray from the confines of Google. You never know what you’ll find – you just might be pleasantly surprised.
All screenshots taken by SEJ Editor, February 2021
Link relevancy trumps volume for SEO
- Earned media coverage is more valuable than ever for your website
- Digital PR is just as important as technical SEO
- A large volume of links is the goal, what’s stopping someone from picking the most newsworthy idea, even if it has nothing to do with your client?
In 2022, it’s impossible to deny the benefit that digital PR as a tactic has on an organic growth strategy. Earned media coverage is more valuable than ever for your website. You could be doing everything right for SEO, but if you’re not building links, you’re still missing out on the increased search visibility, organic traffic, and brand awareness that backlinks bring to your business.
I love some of the things I see from digital pr, it’s a shame it often gets bucketed with the spammy kind of link building. It’s just as critical as tech SEO, probably more so in many cases.
— 🥔 johnmu (personal) updated for 2022 🥔 (@JohnMu) January 23, 2021
As digital PR is still a relatively “young industry” that’s only just sprouted up in the past 10 years, many PR pros have relied on “viral” campaigns to boost the backlink portfolio of their clients. These viral campaigns are often celebrated but are often created with little regard to how relevant, or “on-brand” those ideas really are.
After all, if a large volume of links is the goal, what’s stopping someone from picking the most newsworthy idea, even if it has nothing to do with your client?
In 2022, link volume is no longer the goal (or shouldn’t be)
While many PR pros’ were evaluating their success around this one key metric (link volume) others in the industry have suspected for a while now that the relevance of linking coverage is a key factor Google looks at when assigning “value” to links.
Once again, John Mueller has settled the debate about link volume vs link relevance, coming out in 2021 and saying that ‘the total number of links’ doesn’t matter at all.
Keep counting your links, if that makes you happy! It’s good to have some source of pleasure nowadays. (It won’t make the ranking algorithms happy though.)
— 🥔 johnmu (personal) updated for 2022 🥔 (@JohnMu) February 21, 2021
This clarity has helped refocus the digital PR industry and forced PR pros to re-evaluate what metrics and KPIs we need to be focusing on to drive true organic growth.
It’s no longer enough to be ‘popular’ you also need to be relevant. Not just in terms of the publications you are targeting, but the keywords you want to rank for, audience interest, and most importantly, brand alignment to the story you are pitching in.
Google is continuously looking to become more intelligent through its use of machine learning and artificial intelligence. It wants to understand web content as a human, and therefore through its use of natural language understanding, it is likely to not just be looking at the anchor text of links in third-party articles, but it is also wanting to understand the wider context of the article that a brand is placed in.
How to ensure your link-building activity is relevant to your brand
The first steps to coming up with relevant content ideas for your digital PR campaign are to:
- understand your client, and
- understand your client’s audience and their needs.
Every good idea will flow from these two pillars.
If Google’s main objective is to show the best content to users through search, then your job is to create content that either supports your client’s product or service or supports their customers.
It is more important than ever to not only create relevant and on-brand content in the written form but also ensure that any supporting assets created (video, images, audio) are also relevant to the target keywords and services or products that the brand sells.
In addition, it’s important to create content that engages people, to drive further buzz and positive sentiment around the brand, all of which contribute to greater brand awareness and affinity among your potential customers.
How to measure the relevancy of your backlink profile
We now have the technology available to us to be able to understand and assign quantifiable metrics to the relevance of linking coverage (or indeed the relevance of any text-based content) – which allows us to be much more data-driven and targeted when developing digital PR, link creation activity and competitor and marketplace analysis.
For example, natural language understanding tools like Salient, measure the relevancy of both off-page and on-page content. Tools like this help to understand how a search engine is viewing a brand’s content, it not only enables us to identify the gaps in our client’s backlink profile.
At Journey Further, we use this proprietary tool to measure the relevancy of both off-page and on-page content for our clients.
We can use this tool to understand how a search engine is viewing a brand’s content, it not only enables us to identify the gaps in our client’s backlink profile but also aids us in optimizing its content on-site. The outcome of which – is a much more focused, effective, and measurable digital PR activity that is better aligned to SEO objectives and that delivers better ROI for clients.
Looking ahead to 2023
Looking ahead to 2023 and beyond, it’s likely that Google will only continue to develop better technology to understand web content.
All digital PR campaigns should reflect this, and where possible, be multi-faceted, not just relying on a single press release to get cut through. We need to be thinking as marketers, not just SEO practitioners, and ensure we are driving as much ROI as possible. Taking a brand plus performance approach to SEO and digital PR will therefore be key.
Beth Nunnington is the VP of Digital PR and Content Marketing at Journey Further, leading Digital PR strategy for the world’s leading brands. Her work has been featured in The Drum, PR Moment, and Prolific North. Find Beth on Twitter @BethNunnington.
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