From Google Glass to smartwatches, I’m awed and excited by all the new devices that provide access to information on the go.
Welcome to the “Internet of Things.” In our push to link everything to the Internet, we’re closing in on the dream of living and working in smart homes and offices, where an entire realm of devices will be interconnected to help make our lives more efficient and comfortable.
We’ve all heard about this idea before, but earlier this year the Internet of Things really took off. With Google purchasing Nest Inc. for $3.2 billion (in cash!), the search engine giant took a big leap that could lead to big changes in how we seek and find information online.
Imagine that your refrigerator can connect to your phone’s browser history and alert you about sales on ingredients in recipes you are constantly looking up online. Think about how much time you would save on sorting through recipes, planning meals and grocery shopping. How cool it would be if you could click on your refrigerator to purchase food items to be delivered to your house? Who wouldn’t love that kind of service? I know I would.
Here’s another thing that makes my jaw drop about our super-connected future: the countless opportunities for businesses to increase their brand visibility through the Internet of Things. More devices linked to the web mean even more ways for users to find your business.
With so much change in the works, it’s possible that many aspects of the Internet we know today, including SEO, will also change. And with so much potential benefit for users and businesses alike, you need to take care to navigate potential challenges and keep your SEO strategies current.
Optimizing for Smart Home Devices
If you hate unsolicited ads as much as I do, you’ll be happy to hear that paid ads probably won’t show up on Nest’s devices. They might, however, show up in other ways, such as when people perform searches. At this point, we can only predict how to customize our optimization for new smart devices. Consider Google Glass and smart watches, for example. While the two gadgets have certain similarities, there are enough subtle differences that savvy marketers will need to tailor their approaches to each device.
Once more of these items become mainstream, marketers will need to worry about more than just desktop and mobile marketing. With the Internet of Things, not all devices will support search as a main function. You probably won’t be performing searches on a vacuum cleaner, for example, but you might do so on your fridge. The motivation for users to search on certain home appliances or gadgets, however, might vary greatly depending on the device and the individual.
All of this means that on top of desktop and mobile SEO, we now have to think about “residential SEO.”
Predictions for Residential SEO
These are just a few ways I think SEO will change:
– The rise of residential SEO will boost the value of psychographic data. Even if your business isn’t going to be directly affected by the Internet of Things, you can still use the data that residential SEO will provide. You will be able to track every aspect of your business, from fulfilling orders to responding to your customers in real time. You can leverage market research gathered from residential SEO. Imagine that you own a restaurant and you notice that many residents in your area love a certain dish. You can use that data to market to potential customers since you already know what they enjoy.
– Local search will be more and more important. You can’t get much more local than someone’s residence. If someone is looking for places to purchase groceries or get a haircut, they’re probably not going to go very far from home. In other words, they’ll be looking locally – very locally – for the goods and services they need. With small screens on smart household devices, people probably aren’t going to want to slog through too much content, which will make local directories more popular. It makes total sense to get on the local search bandwagon.
– Content marketing will dominate residential SEO: Let’s take another look at unsolicited ads. If you want your business to appear on people’s devices, you have to give them what they want. That means informative and relevant content that encourages customers to see you as the authority in your industry. Now, think about your (future) smart refrigerator: How cool would it be to use your fridge to look up and watch a YouTube tutorial about how to make your favorite appetizer, only to find out immediately that a local restaurant is the one who made the video! If you’re hungry and don’t feel like cooking for yourself at that moment, there’s a good chance you’ll head out to that same restaurant for a quick bite.
Only time will tell how the Internet of Things will develop. The most important thing to remember is to keep all smart devices in mind. While we may not see residential SEO becoming mainstream anytime soon, there’s nothing wrong with preparing now. Start with mobile marketing as a way to lay a solid foundation for your residential SEO strategy. There is no better time to start.