Image search is an extremely useful application that helps you to find beautiful photographs across the internet from thousands of different sources. And picture SEO, right now, is a pretty big deal.
But what if you find yourself in the opposite situation? Did you find a picture, whether it was a photograph, an artwork, or even a graph, and would you like to know where it came from, or more?
This is where it comes into play with reverse image search.
I’ll explain exactly what a reverse image search is in this guide, how to execute one and share examples of when you may need to use this process, specifically looking at:
- What is a reverse search for an image?
- How to Search for a Desktop Reverse Image on a PC or Mac
- How to Scan for Google Reverse Picture on a Mobile Device
- Reverse Image Search Uses
What Is a Reverse Image Search?
You can perform a reverse image search by taking an image and finding where it was originally published, other pages that have the same image published, different sizes of the same image used, and similar images.
When you are doing a reverse image search, you are essentially using an image instead of a text-based search query.
A reverse image search, like regular text-based searches, can show you a list of search results. Instead of a photo gallery, it shows you the pages on which this image was used, a path to an image search feature for similar images, and a potential related search.
And there are several ways to perform a reverse image search, whether it is on mobile or desktop. These can be done on Google and Bing, other search engines, and by using relevant tools.
So let’s look at how you can perform a Google reverse image search on desktop, then run you through reverse image search on mobile devices, such as iPhone or Android phones, before showing you how to use other search engines and third party reverse image search tools.
I will also touch on different ways you can use a reverse image search when you combine it with our backlink analytics or brand monitoring tool.
How to do a Reverse Image Search on a PC or Mac
Performing a reverse image search on a PC or Mac, in a desktop browser, is a relatively simple process to undertake that can be done in just seconds.
There are two options to do this, depending on whether you are using Chrome or another browser. I will run through both.
How to do a Reverse Google Image Search on Desktop Browsers
This method works when you have a browser open and have loaded up the Google Images search page.
- Navigate to the Google Images main page.
- In the search bar, click on the camera icon with the alt ‘search by image’. This will give you a new search display offering you two options.
- Option 1 is ‘Paste Image URL’, which allows you to use the URL from an image you have found on the internet.
- Option 2 is ‘Upload an image’, which allows you to upload an image from your computer to use as the search item.
- Whichever option you choose, after entering the URL or uploading the image, you simply click search to display the results
Google Reverse Image Search Using Chrome
If you are using Chrome, you can find the source of an image online without having to go through the process above.
This method is for images that are already uploaded that you have found while you are browsing online.
- Locate the image you want to search on the page where you originally found it.
- Google will then display the results of your search as above.
- Reverse Image Search Using Bing
- It is always worth remembering that other search engines are out there, and Bing is one of the main options.
Reverse Image Search Using Bing
Bing has its own reverse image search functionality on desktop, called Visual Search, and it works like this:
- In the Bing search bar, click the Visual Search button. This is the dot surrounded by four corner lines. It will open a pop-up menu. Reverse Image Search Using Bing
- It is always worth remembering that other search engines are out there, and Bing is one of the main options.Bing has its own reverse image search functionality on desktop, called Visual Search, and it works like this:
- In the Bing search bar, click the Visual Search button. This is the dot surrounded by four corner lines. It will open a pop-up menu.
- Bing Visual Search focuses on the image and its attributes before displaying the pages the image can be found on and displaying similar images.
- It also pulls any text out of the image and offers suggested searches.
Reverse Image Search Using Yandex
Yandex is another popular search engine that has the ability to perform reverse image searches.
- Here is how to do it:
- Select the ‘ images’ tab from the menu above the search bar on the Yandex homepage. Click on the camera icon to the right of the search bar.
- This will give you two options:
- Upload a file (or drag and drop)
- Enter a URLYour results will be displayed. Yandex ‘s reverse search results will primarily display information about that image, including size, potential searches it relates to, text it can identify from the image, and similar images. It then displays the sites it has appeared on further down the page.
- Reverse Image Search Using Third Party Websites
There are a number of sites that specialise in performing reverse image searches on desktop. Some, as you would expect, return better results than others.
I am going to review one of my favourites; I recommend trying out if you want to use a tool or app.
Tineye.com works in exactly the same way as the normal Google reverse image search, in that you upload an image or add a URL. There are paid functions that can allow you to track an image’s usage, amongst other things. Tineye.com also has a plugin available for some browsers.
How to Scan for Google Reverse Picture on a Mobile Device
On a handheld computer such as an iPhone or Android phone or notebook, running a reverse image search is a bit different from a laptop.
You need to get the Google Chrome software enabled on all Apple and Android devices to use the Google reverse image search feature or have a software that is specially optimised for the feature; it won’t work on Safari or another web browser.
Using Google Chrome App Reverse Image Scan
There are two ways that serve as a solution, either by pushing the desktop version or using a version of the right-click tool, since the camera icon is not visible in the search bar on the Chrome app.
Request edition for the desktop:
In the lower right-hand corner of the screen, tap the three-dot menu.
Use the camera icon in the search bar to follow the desktop instructions, either by using an image URL or by uploading an image. The mobile ‘right-click’ method:
Navigate to the page that contains the image you want to look for.