10 Ways Beacons Will Change SEO

Written by: Jason Bayless | October 10, 2016
Beacons, a device that you can put in your store that broadcasts text messages to those nearby smartphone users who have opted in, are going to dramatically impact Search Engine Optimization in the future. Search Engine Watch even believes that 2020 will be “The Year of the Beacon.” Businesses who adopt beacons early may end up having a competitive advantage as they will be able to reach out to a consumer at the point-of-sale, instead of trying to convince them from behind a computer screen in their home. Here are 10 ways that this innovative technology might impact the future of SEO.

1. Local Search Becomes Even More Important – Since Beacons act as mini-lighthouses that push notifications in a particular geographical location, this makes local SEO even more important so as to properly target individuals in their zone.

2. Marketers Can Anticipate Buyers at the Point-of-Sale – Beacons will tell business when someone who has the opted into their app is nearby and ready to buy, giving marketers an opportunity to send out coupons and introductory offers directly to the consumer at the point-of-sale.

3. Business Can Be Rated Higher for Adopting Beacons – Consumers who get better deals by adopting beacons will rate those businesses higher in reviews and on social networks, impacting their online popularity and ranking.

4. Search Engines Could Use Beacon Data for Ranking – In addition, the big search engines, like Google, could start ranking businesses on whether they offer beacons or not at their locations and raising ranking for those with hyper local SEO terms.

5. Beacons Could Boost Organic Traffic – Instead of trying to attract traffic through a search engine, a business could attract it at their front door via push notifications that offer them a chance to flag down nearby foot traffic.

6. Beacons Would Personalize Search Results Better – If the app is cleverly designed, beacons could even personalize the push notifications based on what a person is looking for in their nearby area.

7. Beacons Can Push Reviews and Recommendations – Marketers can also offer reviews and recommendations from an individual’s online friends, in an effort to persuade them to try them out.

8. Marketers Control Push Notifications, Not Search Engines – Since businesses are the ones pushing notifications, they have complete control over what reviews, recommendations, or messages get sent to a smartphone.

9. Integration with Other Apps on Mobile Devices – Once beacons become more established, it’s likely they will integrae with social media apps and more. This will allow buyers to query what their social circle likes about different stores or products in a nearby area.

10. Can Guide People Without Searching – Even if an individual is shopping alone, with a beacon it can be more of a social experience. Beacons can provide narrative about locations that is of interest to tourists and sightseers and help guide them to the best spots, even without a friend in tow.

Beacons As an Open Network

Since beacons have the potential to establish their own open networks at the point sale, they could end up bypassing some of SEO ranking algorithms that determine what content rises to the top of the pile. Search Engine Journal even predicts that a network of businesses could piggyback on a major store’s beacon, like Best Buy, to promote their particular items in the store. However, even stores in a mall that are in nearby proximity could piggyback on each other’s beacon to drive traffic from one store to another.

Exactly how the content that a beacon serves up will be ranked, since it bypasses a search engine, is still a mystery and may end up creating a whole new SEO niche. One thing is certain, early adopters with have a higher visibility and a potential for higher ranking and more sales than those who wait until 2020 to start adopting beacons into the SEO strategy.