What is Google Beacon: How Google Beacon Project Affects SEO
September 6, 2018
What is Google Beacon? This new technology is slowly transforming local search engine optimization and user data exchange. While Google Beacon technology may not directly affect your site’s organic performance at this time, it’s setting the foundation for the future of local SEO. At Blennd, we work hard to be the leaders in web design and digital marketing, and are always looking for new ways to place brands ahead of the competition both online and offline.
In this article, we’ll start with an overview of the technology, followed by information about how the Google Beacon project is changing affects business data, consumerism and SEO.
What is Google Beacon?
What is Google Beacon? Google Beacon is a technology that enables proximity-based triggers and actions in both the digital and physical world. By utilizing existing Bluetooth low energy (BLE) hardware technology, beacons communicate with nearby smart devices. Devices enabled with what’s known as “Eddystone” technology are capable of receiving and transmitting data to smartphones. The result is gaining updated details about your current physical environment.
According to Google Developers,
“Beacons are one-way transmitters that are used to mark important places and objects”
Project Beacon by Google
Project Beacon by Google was created to provide hyper-local proximity-based communications. The idea is that organizations and individuals can transmit and detect information being broadcasted from nearby devices. The Beacon project attempts to bridge-the-gap between the physical environment and the virtual one. While the project is still in its early stages, the technology holds some truly incredible potential.
Google Beacon Technology
Project Beacon by Google was developed using open source software licensing. As a result, third-party developers can build new applications and services surrounding the technology. The Google Beacon project addresses the location accuracy limitations imposed by global positioning system (GPS) regulations. While GPS is limited to a radius of 11 feet, beacons offer more precise proximity data through BLE-capable devices.
Bluetooth Low Energy Beacon
Formerly known as “Bluetooth Smart,” and developed by Bluetooth Special Interest Group, a Bluetooth Low Energy beacon (or BLE beacon) enables smartphones to perform actions through a wireless personal area network. This is accomplished using proximity data provided by BLE hardware transmitters. Bluetooth beacons are a sub-class of Bluetooth Low Energy devices.
Google Beacon Analytics
You can track the performance of your beacons just like you do with search engine optimization, paid advertising, and website conversions. If you’re spending valuable time and money developing a beacon for your business, you’re going to want to track results.
Do you need help with Google Analytics? Contact our web developers for assistance!
Google sorts beacons into three general categories, which we’re abbreviating as “Receiving,” “Interacting,” and “Integrating.”
A ‘Receiving’ beacon can be configured once and then managed through the cloud. The beacon accesses messages that are stored in the cloud with or without your own app. The solution involves adding attachments to your beacons. It uses what Google calls “Nearby Messages” and “Nearby Notifications.”
A ‘Interacting’ beacon specifically interacts with what’s known as the “physical web.” The most common solution involves broadcasting a link to a web page using Eddystone-URL frames which can then be read by Chrome and Nearby Notifications.
A ‘Integrating’ beacon requires you to register it with Google. The Google Beacon Registry is accessible via the Beacon Tools app on Android and iOS. Doing so unlocks extra location data, such as latitude, longitude and floor level, via Google Places ID / API.
Need help configuring Google Places? Get in touch with Blennd today!
While Google beacons do not directly affect SEO, the technology does have an indirect effect on brand visibility.
Scenario: A well-reviewed pizza shop leverages local SEO strategies to attract business when someone in the neighborhood searches Google for “pizza” on their smart device. The shop has trouble attracting enough foot traffic as its storefront faces an alley with limited visibility.
Solution: If the shop set up a beacon to broadcast specials and linked to its Google My Business listing, potential customers located nearby could discover the business via messages or notifications.
Potential Sales and SEO Benefits of Beacons
Does your organization receive a lot of foot traffic? If you serve customers at your place of business, it may be beneficial to broadcast a beacon with a newsletter signup link.
Encourage users to leave a review using Google Beacon messages or notifications. After someone has been at your location for a set amount of time, prompt them to submit feedback. Reputation management is a valuable resource to improving your local search visibility.
Visitors to your business can have the option to upload photos, videos and descriptions of you products, services or storefront. This kind of user-generated content enhances SEO strategies and customer engagement.
The more engaged users are with your business, website and services, the higher Google will value your pages. Engagement signals are among the most important ranking factors for search engine results pages (SERPs).
Google beacon technology enables businessess to target potential customers on a hyper-local level. This presents huge opportunities for local advertising campaigns while significantly shifting the landscape of digital marketing.
Are you running a special today-only? Stores can advertise deals and promos through a Google beacon broadcast to encourage nearby customers to purchase additional items.
A concert venue typically posts, emails or hands-out flyers of upcoming events. With a beacons, the venue could send its customers a list of upcoming events directly to their smartphone.
Want to integrate Google beacon into your website or SEO strategy? Contact us today!
According to Google Developers, you must:
- Comply with all relevant privacy laws and regulations when handling user information.
- Honor user requests to delete their data.
- Carefully review the Terms of Service before using the Proximity Beacon API, and other terms of service which may apply to your use of other Google APIs, for example the Nearby Messages API.
The Near Future
- Developers are flooding the market with new BLE beacon hardware, software and cloud services. We can expect to see some big players marketing new technology solutions to consumers.
- While beacons currently require an Android or iOS device to detect Eddystone frames, we don’t expect this to last very long. Soon there will be many different types of smart devices broadcasting and receiving data from beacons.
- We can expect to see more integrations with Bluetooth technologies, such as Bluetooth Mesh networking.
Stay Ahead of the Curve with Blennd
At Blennd, we provide a wide-range of services to businesses all over the world, such as local search engine marketing, web design and SEO services. We deliver top-notch services to clients interested in out-performing their competition. We stay ahead of the curve by researching, testing and implementing the latest digital marketing trends. If you’re ready to get started, contact Blennd today.
- Apple Developers: iBeacon API
- Apple iTunes Store: Beacon Tools (iOS App)
- Google Beacon Dashboard
- Google Developers: Beacons – Register with Google
- Google Developers: Places API
- Google Developers: Proximity Beacon API
- Google Play Store: Beacon Tools (Android App)