Augmented reality (AR) and SEO don’t often appear together. Yet they are more closely linked than you may think.
Augmented reality apps from Yelp and Wikitude are already providing geo-location AR experiences, offering consumers a new, augmented window on the world around them.
This augmented world is an emerging marketplace. And local SEO is the way to be successful in it.
In this article, we’ll explain what this emerging business landscape will look like. And how businesses can make their mark by getting ahead with local SEO.
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What is augmented reality and how does it work?
Augmented reality (or AR) refers to technology that overlays digital information onto the user’s perspective of the world around them.
In most cases, the superimposed imagery can be directly interacted with via the device being used, creating a new realm of experience between the consumer and the world around them.
AR tech works by using specialized sensors to detect and learn about the surrounding space, before superimposing digital information upon it.
How businesses can use augmented reality
The Pokémon Go phenomena went a long way in suggesting what the future of augmented reality could be.
Especially in regard to the ways businesses can get involved in AR to use the tech to their advantage.
With Pokémon Go, local businesses brought in a ton of new customers who went along to catch one of the Pokémon and then stayed for a flat white or a strawberry daiquiri.
And this is just one of the many subtle powers augmented reality holds for businesses – large and small.
AR and SEO
Like the online world, where business success relies heavily on SEO. Success in the augmented world will come down to good local SEO practices.
Local SEO will allow businesses to show up with engaging descriptions and 5-star reviews that make them stand out from their neighbors.
Unsurprisingly, early adopters will gain a huge advantage.
Imagine being the first to keyword optimize your website for Google searches just before everyone started using Google to search for the things they want and need?
That’s essentially the opportunity that early adopters of good AR SEO practices will have as the augmented space becomes a widely used lifestyle and business tool.
The AR industry
In 2017, there were more than 3 billion dollars invested in AR and VR. With more than 1.5 billion dollars invested in Q4 alone.
Looking ahead, Retail Perceptions predict AR revenues will grow to a whopping 120 billion dollars by 2020.
Considering that most smartphones are AR-ready devices just waiting to be used by eager consumers, you can easily see why.
With AR-ready devices already in the hands of users across the globe, AR is now a realistic investment and incoming reality for brands and businesses of all kinds.
Meaning, it’s important to get involved now to keep your business up-to-date and on trend as the marketing world takes its next big shift.
What is the role of SEO in AR?
Online SEO content uses language that primes it to be found within the mechanics of search engines.
In AR, SEO rules will extend beyond the evolving relationship between search engine bots and keywords to include all types of embedded information attached to your business on the web.
This means reviews, ratings, mentions, links, and so on.
Together, these things will paint a picture of the quality and popularity of your business to anyone who holds their phone up to it.
How will SEO work in augmented reality?
For the user, it’ll be the height of simplicity.
Hold your device up to the world to see an augmented version of your surroundings offering anything from reviews on restaurants, job vacancies, to location mapping.
For businesses, it’ll be a bit more complicated.
Getting known in this space will require creativity, imagination and the courage to tread new ground.
How should your business approach Augmented reality?
Build a strong citation profile
The localized SEO of AR will require a high level of trust between you and your customers.
A strong citation profile – the number of mentions your company has received throughout the web, from name to contact info – is key to performing well on third-party review sites.
Such sites play a large role in Google results, and therefore in organic search. Building a strong citation profile now will give you the best chance of being found when consumers search in AR.
Get great reviews
Success in AR will be largely defined by user-generated SEO.
Reviews and ratings are already hugely influential on consumer decision-making.
With AR, this influence will be exponentially greater, as the results will show in real-time and will be visible right there in the real world.
Where’s good, where’s not – instantly viewable through your device.
Because of this, positive reviews will be even more crucial, bringing a whole new level of consumer power.
Optimise with Google My Business Listings
Google services are bound to play a large role in the make-up of the augmented reality landscape.
Because of this, it’s crucial that businesses optimize their Google My Business Listings.
This is the first information received when a user searches for a local business or organization.
To be ready, make sure your listing is well optimized with good quality photos and correct and current details.
The augmented world will quickly become a saturated one, so a compelling listing is vital to make you stand out from the eager masses.
Location, location, location
Augmented reality – unlike virtual reality – is all about real-world location.
As a result, it will bring with it a more location-specific creative brief.
Working in much same way as geo-targeting SMS marketing works today, AR marketing will be able to jump into action when consumers pass through certain areas.
Sending something akin to push notifications, consumers can be made aware of close-by deals as they pass, shown in potentially highly creative ways that integrate with the local environment.
The more interesting, exciting and innovative the integration is, the more buzz you’re going to get in your area.
The AR Buzz
Google place added value on innovative content incorporating the best-emerging technologies.
Meaning, the AR buzz is very real.
This emphasis on interactive, highly visual content feeds directly into Google’s mission to offer its users the most relevant responses to queries.
With their own AR development tool AR Core, and large investment in AR platforms such as Daydream and Tango, AR will grow increasingly ingrained in the way we search.
To stand out in this environment, businesses will need to approach creative and SEO in unison, looking to innovative multi-disciplinary digital marketing agencies to develop AR marketing content and campaigns that will get them seen in this space.
Now is the time to start thinking about augmented reality, and how your business will feature within it.
Engaging in good SEO practices now will leave your business ahead of the curve and fully equipped for the AR era of search.
Guest author: Daniel Cooke is a scriptwriter, copywriter and creative at London-based digital marketing agency Big Rock, where he researches the practical implications of emerging technologies to assist growing businesses.