How will Augmented Reality affect SEO: and how to stay ahead

The state of AR

The last time augmented reality was seriously discussed, we were on the verge of a Google Glasses type world. For better or worse, that didn’t quite turn out like many expected. Instead, my childhood Pokémon fantasy came true for a month and was everything other than heart-warming. For me at least.

Nevertheless, the Pokémon Go phenomena did go a long way to suggesting what the future of AR would hold, especially in regard to the ways in which businesses can get involved and use this tech to their advantage.

With Go, businesses who played the role of gyms brought in a ton of new customers who went along to catch a cute or deadly little digital critter and then stayed for a Flat White. This is the power this space holds.

Earlier in 2017, Apple made a big AR announcement, bringing the topic hurtling back into the public consciousness, with many big and small players alike getting involved in bringing their products and services to life in augmented reality.

Nowhere is this truer than in FinTech. This annotated world will be a breeding ground for out-of-the-box promotions, inbound marketing campaigns, and next level user experience.

So, with the AR landscape set to become mainstream, it’s important to get involved now to keep your business – from FinTechs to retail –  up-to-date and on trend as the marketing world takes its next big shift.

To create the most user-friendly and functional AR experiences, this will require a new and imaginative approach to the medium, as well as a keen eye on your SEO strategy.

What is the role of SEO in AR?

As you know, if your business’ creative written content is search engine optimised, it uses language that primes it to be found within the mechanics of search engines.

In terms of local SEO – AR tech will simply extend SEO practices beyond the interplay between search engine bots and typed words on a web page, to the interplay between the bots and all types of embedded information attached to your business on the web (be that reviews, mentions, links, etc.). All of these things, taken together, will paint a full picture of the quality and popularity of your business.

Within FinTech – AR is already being taken on by many young startups as a way to define the new face of digital banking. Whether it’s offering location services through AR mapping or intuitive data visualisations, getting started with AR early will be pivotal to standing out from the crowd, with SEO playing a major role in getting noticed.

How will Augmented Reality SEO work?

For the user, it’ll be the height of simplicity. Hold your device up to a part of the world and you’ll get an augmented reality containing optimised information offering anything from reviews on restaurants, job vacancies, to ATM mapping.

For businesses, it’ll be far more complicated. Getting known in this space will require a unique approach to AR UX and a thought-out SEO strategy that will get you ranking high.

How should your business approach Augmented reality?

The information you can display can be anything. It’s almost an open brief. It can be text, video, graphics in any preferred style and quality.

Whatever it is, the landscape is an open one, where – through SEO – you can help real-world customers make decisions on anything from what coffee they should buy, to visualised stock market trends and updates.

Utilised as a marketing tool, the opportunities are potentially endless. With brands already jumping at the bit to get involved as early adopters, ready to lead the way as the technology grows, spreads, and learns more about itself and its potential applications.

There are already many Financial Services and FinTechs that have made the leap, offering – for now – mostly basic AR applications that either display or advance on their services. When the tech becomes every day (most likely pushed by the likes of Apple or Google) the real race will be on to discover the best applications for the format and establish the new integrated face of digital banking.

Why you should get ahead in local SEO now!

SEO for AR, just like regular old SEO, will be exponentially more beneficial for early adopters.

Getting in there first with good AR tech, and skillfully optimised content to suit your audience will get you at the top of the search lists early, and keep you there as the AR world and its platforms establish themselves.

Anyone late to the p-AR-ty, will find themselves with an uphill struggle as they try to claw back augmented territory from nearby competitors.

To stay ahead, you should…

  • Build a strong citation profile

The localised 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 by the audience you want when they search online in AR.

  • Be delightful, get great reviews

Marketing in the augmented reality space will be largely defined by user-generated SEO, such as reviews.

Reviews/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).

Delighting customers will be more of a priority than ever, with inbound marketing coming further into play as the best tool to get your business heard in the online and augmented spaces.

Whether at the point of sale or via an app, high praise now will offer a great boost when AR platforms fully take off.

  • Optimise with Google My Business Listings

Google is bound to play a huge role in SEO for augmented reality platforms as they develop. Because of this, it’s crucial that businesses optimise their Google My Business Listings. It’s usually the first information received when a user searches for a local business or organisation, so get ahead of the game by making sure your listing is well optimised 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 its step-sibling virtual reality – is all about real-world location.

Because of this, the scope for creative marketing within the AR world is huge.

In just the same way as geo-targeting SMS marketing works today, businesses will have the scope to send something akin to push notifications, making potential consumers aware of close-by deals as they pass, shown in potentially highly creative ways that integrate with the local environment.

The more interesting/exciting/innovative the integration is, the more buzz you’re going to get in your area.

Okay, let’s be real for a moment…

As augmented reality platforms become the norm, it’s going to play an increasing role in the marketing and SEO strategy for any forward-thinking business.

How quickly and universally this happens remains to be seen, but the direction is clear.

More imminently, the learned applications will be more sporadic, faddy, and idea led (as with Pokemon Go). Yet down the line, could this be what we’re in store for…

However likely you believe this to be, the importance of SEO within AR is inevitable. And for businesses competing in competitive marketplaces – either locationally or in fast-growing areas like FinTech – offering the best functionality and UX, as well as ranking high in organic search results will be the key to staying ahead of the pack as the way people search for and consume products and services takes it’s next drastic change.

Now is the time to start thinking about AR and how it can be incorporated into your services. Being an early adaptor, engaging in good SEO practices, and building a strong inbound marketing strategy now will leave your business ahead of the curve and fully equipped for the AR era of consumption.