The Influence Of Augmented Reality & Its Impact On SEO
As much as Augmented Reality might seem like a concept right out of a science fiction film, it’s actually becoming a very common part of our everyday experiences. If you’ve ever tried your hand at Pokémon Go or applied a filter to your face on Snapchat, Instagram or even Facebook, you’ve already had a pretty good experience with the world of AR, but there’s so much more this technology can do.
With AR holding the ability to add value, enhance user experience and even solve problems online, businesses are beginning to pay attention and integrate this technology within their own marketing campaigns. As a result, we’re starting to see Augmented Reality having an impact on SEO best practices and so here, we’re exploring exactly how.
What Is Augmented Reality?
For those that don’t already know, augmented reality is essentially the action of taking computer generated images – for example, a Pokémon – and putting it into the real world via the camera on a smartphone, tablet or another digital device. Over the years, this has developed from more than just the placement of images and has become a seamless integration, with the computer generated images reacting and responding to stimulus in the real world. Take Snapchat, for example; certain filters will change or move when the user opens their mouth, raises their eyebrows or makes another form of movement.
While the most common applications of AR do seem to be in the world of gaming, we’re quickly working towards other applications that could influence how we read reviews, find out information about a place or an object and may even change how we shop, work and more.
One of the biggest steps towards AR affecting SEO and how we search comes in the form of Google Lens. This technology is already well on its way to disrupting the way we utilise local search, simply by allowing users to use their cameras to find out more about a location, object, text and more. Google’s official website for Lens lists its key features as being:
- Taking Action On Text – e.g. Looking up dishes from a menu, adding events to a calendar, translating other languages, making a call or copying and pasting.
- Searching For Products – See a mannequin with an outfit you like or décor that you’ve fallen in love with? With your camera and Google Lens, you can find the same or similar products via the shopping feature.
- Explore Your Surroundings – Look up everything from information, opening times, ratings, reviews and more for key stores and landmarks around you just with your camera.
- Find Out That Species – With Google Lens, you can find out the species of an animal, plant and a number of other living things.
Available via the Google Lens app, the Google Assistant app and Google Photos, it’s already out there in the world and while it can always be improved, it’s a real-world application that SEOs can’t ignore. After all, when the way we search changes, so does the way we optimise for that search. With Google Lens now recognising over a billion items, it’s popularity could very well grow over the coming months, and as marketers, we need to be prepared.
How Will This Effect SEO?
With all of the above in mind, it’s clear to see that AR has the potential to completely disrupt how we search in the very near future, and so the time to act is now. But how exactly do we optimise for something that is constantly improving? Well, in the same way we prepare for any changes in Google’s algorithm. We need to take a proactive approach, by understanding just what we could expect in the future and preparing accordingly.
Local SEO Progressing
Local SEO has always been an important focus for small businesses but with augmented reality working its way into daily use, this is more important than ever before. As mentioned before, AR applications are making it not just possible, but simple to use our mobile devices to get information about our surroundings. Just with the camera, we can scan businesses around us and be provided with insights into their products and services, ratings and reviews and details like opening times, phone numbers and more.
For this reason, it’s important to keep on top of your local SEO and the first step to doing precisely that is to optimise and maintain your Google My Business listing. Without a full profile of information on your GMB, those using AR around your store or property won’t reap the full benefit. Beyond this, however, any person scanning a business will have competitors suggested to them. If you can put together a compelling, competitive listing, you can capture the attention of a prospective customer, even if they aren’t outside your property.
One way you can capture this attention is through strong citations – in other words, reviews and ratings. By encouraging your customers to leave reviews on your business, you can build up a directory of reviews that will appear when using AR. What’s more, with consumers typically reading an average of 40 online reviews before actually believing a star rating, the importance of plenty of reviews from customers and clients is undeniable.
Depending on how your brand is performing online, your social media accounts can actually influence your local SEO and, therefore, how you’ll perform with Augmented Reality. While your social platforms aren’t thought to be a direct influence on your ranking, being able to engage your audience certainly does. Utilising AR within your social media is proving to be one of the leading ways to produce this engagement. 360-degree images that utilise AR to determine which part of the image you’ll see, Snapchat’s aforementioned filters both on your own face and now in your general surroundings, and of course, their Lens Studio, have all proven to engage the audience.
Of a study made across social media users aged 12-24, 74% of users utilised Facebook, and 57% used Snapchat and while it’s difficult to determine how many of these users are encouraged by the AR features, it’s a clear sign that social media platforms offer plenty of opportunities to capture the attention of your potential and existing audiences. Utilising AR to improve your engagement may just be another unique way of doing so.
Interactivity Is Key
While social media may be a great way of building up and engaging an audience, it’s on your website where the conversion usually takes place. For this reason, building up an engaging and interactive website can set you apart from your competitors and capture the attention you want. By offering interactive elements on your website, that can be brought alive with just the use of a camera, you can offer something truly unique.
Currently, this isn’t a common feature and sites that had done it successfully in the past are hard to come by, but with the improvement in the technology and offering creative AR applications to your customers, the interactive element could bring entertainment, engagement and, ultimately, growth in conversion rates.
Making Purchases More Informed
Whether you choose to implement it within your website, within an app or an in-store application, more and more brands are offering a unique way of helping to inform purchases. Through, you guessed it, AR, customers can try on outfits, see how make up would look, try out a new hairstyle or a pair of glasses and even introduce furniture into their home without having to pick up the product itself.
This kind of opportunity gives your potential clients that chance to make more informed decisions before they make a purchase. It can reduce bounce rates, increase the length of sessions on your website and ultimately lead to a higher number of conversions from customers who are making the purchase with confidence. An AR-based service like this enhances the customer experience, giving you a selling point over your competitors and increasing your overall number of sales.
Augmented Reality is constantly improving and there’s no better time to start investing in this new technology. From an app that allows customers to try out your products and utilising AR within your social media, to enhancing your local SEO to ensure you remain at the top during potential changes, the possibilities are endless. We really are at the very beginning of what could be a disruptive, but incredible change to the world of search and e-commerce and we’re eager to see what happens next.
To find out more about the services on offer at Absolute Digital Media or how we can help with your SEO, get in touch on 0800 088 6000, today.