One not entirely unexpected side effect of the coronavirus pandemic has been a technological renaissance for augmented reality. Amidst quarantine measures and distributed work, multiple businesses—especially those in the ecommerce sector—began exploring ways to simulate an in-person experience online. Augmented reality technology offered exactly that.
Many in the marketing sector further recognized that the potential of AR extends far beyond interactive product pages. AR has the potential to completely revolutionize multiple segments of marketing, including search engine optimization (SEO). Potential which, we expect, will be realized within the next decade.
Here are three of the most compelling innovations we’re likely to see from this.
Visual Search Gains Ground
Imagine the following scenario.
A customer is trying to mount a monitor, but they can’t quite figure out how to remove it from its base. They pull out their phone and take a snapshot of the device, at which point Google automatically detects the brand and model number. From there, the customer is able to quickly find a digital product manual and solve their problem.
This is a concept known as visual search, best exemplified by Google Lens. Instead of relying solely on text or voice search, visual search creates queries based on real-world items, a sort of natural ‘next step’ from standard image search. It’s also a technology that’s been around since at least 2017.
Renewed interest in AR will likely bring about a resurgence for visual search and its associated technologies—high-resolution product photos, accurate keywords, and optimized alt text, titles, and descriptions will quickly become more important than ever for SEO.
A Bridge Between Digital and Physical
Once the pandemic is well and truly over, and everyone can return to a semblance of normalcy, we expect local search to undergo a period of explosive growth. AR technology will allow users to view a business’s Google My Business page, reviews, and even social posts. Again, this is an innovation we’ve already seen some leverage to a limited extent.
In order to ready yourself for this shift, all you need to do is ensure your business follows general best practices for local SEO:
- Ensure your Google My Business page is up to date.
- Submit your business’s information to all relevant directories.
- Create a Facebook Business Page.
- Monitor online reviews, and take action to address negative ones.
Immersive Web Design Will Become the Norm
We already briefly touched on how AR will make ecommerce product pages more interactive and immersive. Moving forward, we expect to see an increasing number of websites leveraging immersive design. Real-time feedback, environmental overlays, and features that leverage the visitor’s smartphone camera or webcam are just a few examples of what this will look like.
Websites will need to account for how AR technology changes the user interface and user experience, and redesign their frontend and backend accordingly.