In Built With Clarifai, Case Study

How Staples Improved SEO using Clarifai's Multi-Language Image Recognition API

By Team Clarifai

Industry Use Case Result
eCommerce Automatically tag images for SEO for 12 different languages Improved SEO while saving over $10,000 


Staples Europe is the leading provider of workplace products, services and solutions to small, mid-sized, and large businesses in Europe. Staples Europe has operations across 17 countries in Europe and provides solutions across 29 European countries – each of which has its own eCommerce website.


 Staples Europe is the leading provider of workplace products, services and solutions to small, mid-sized, and large businesses in Europe. Staples Europe has operations across 17 countries in Europe and provides solutions across 29 European countries – each of which has its own eCommerce website.



Kyle Duck, SEO Specialist
Kyle Duck is a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Specialist for Staples Europe, the office supplies mega-retailer. With years of SEO experience and a passion for new technology, Kyle uses artificial intelligence to solve real-world SEO problems.



How do you adapt your e-commerce business for a global audience?
Staples is an office supply retail chain with operations all over the globe. With a large part of Staples Europe’s business coming from its online e-commerce store, the company relies on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to surface relevant products to potential customers and stay ahead of the competition. However, with Staples Europe spanning countries that speak twelve different languages, attaching the right keyword metadata to products to improve SEO becomes twelve times as challenging (and expensive).

Staples needed a fast, accurate, and inexpensive solution to adapt its e-commerce business for multiple languages and improve SEO for its products in every target language.

“We needed descriptions for our product images translated in twelve different languages … and fast. Previously, we’d used outside agencies to do this but with an estimated cost over ten thousand dollars, we needed a better solution. Clarifai helped us save five figures in outsourcing costs and our project was finished in a single afternoon!” – Kyle Duck, Staples Europe SEO Specialist

Staples used Clarifai to translate product image tags into twelve different languages to improve SEO, increasing traffic to products in its e-commerce store and saving over $10,000 worth in agency fees.

E-commerce stores like Staples often rely on organic search traffic to its individual products to drive sales and revenue. There are many ways to improve organic search engine results, one of which is optimizing images for SEO. This includes writing descriptive keywords (ALT text) in the image tags, a practice that can be tricky to execute when you’re optimizing hundreds of images for multiple languages.

Staples used the Clarifai API’s multi-language feature, which recognizes over 11,000 different concepts in images in over twenty languages, to append the ALT tags of over 600 products to boost SEO – saving five figures worth in agency costs in the process.


“Optimizing product pages and images for SEO can be a time-consuming and costly process, especially when agencies and translation services are involved. Using the Clarifai API was orders of magnitude faster and cheaper and just as accurate!”

Automatically “see” and understand images in multiple languages
Using Clarifai’s core visual recognition model, Staples was able to automatically add relevant keywords to their product images. These keywords were then added to the product images’ ALT tags in twelve different languages in order to improve SEO and increase traffic to Staples’ online e-commerce product pages.

“Clarifai’s image recognition results were super accurate, but what was even more amazing was that the same high quality accuracy was applicable to all twelve languages we needed.”

Save time and money automating services without sacrificing quality
With Clarifai’s image recognition technology, Staples was able to complete the work of an outside translation agency at a fraction of the time and cost with the same level of accuracy. Clarifai’s API doesn’t just translate English tags into other languages – each individual concept in the visual recognition model is actually trained and mapped to their respective words in twenty different languages. Thus, tricky lingual concepts like “crane” (the bird) and “crane” (the machinery) or “fall” (the verb) and “fall” (the season) are always correct in Clarifai’s multi-language API.

“Clarifai’s results were just as accurate as results we’d seen from humans at agencies. Once I saw how easy Clarifai was to setup and how accurate the AI was, going forward was a no-brainer.”

Quick and easy implementation
Staples Europe’s SEO Specialist, Kyle Duck, selected Clarifai after some initial testing based on Clarifai’s superior accuracy and easy setup. All it took to start the SEO project was an API key and an unofficial Clarifai Ruby client. Once Kyle had URLs for all six hundred of the images he wanted to tag, he wrote a script to loop through the images and call Clarifai’s API for each image and language. The whole project took a single afternoon.

“The whole thing took an afternoon, and it was done. It just works. Plus, the descriptions produced were shockingly accurate. Everybody around the office was super impressed with the fancy “image recognition artificial intelligence” terminology, but I had to confess that implementing Clarifai was easier than Powerpoint.”

DIY with Clarifai
Now that you’ve been inspired by Staples Europe’s automated SEO solution, it’s time to build your own. Clarifai’s core model includes tags for over 11,000 concepts you can apply to your business. Or, you can use Clarifai’s Custom Training solution to teach our AI new concepts. All it takes is three simple lines of code – sign up for a developer API account to get started for free!

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