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How VR Will Impact Online Marketing

Virtual Reality (VR) is growing fast, and so are the opportunities for businesses to leverage VR marketing for financial gain, topical visibility, and brand exposure.

In this article, I explore my top 5 practical steps that you can take to optimise VR, focusing on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

Is ‘VR SEO’ a thing?

Yes, but it is still an emerging opportunity, and with Virtual Reality a massive Q4 2017+ trend for Christmas spending, VR SEO needs to be considered for businesses selling VR in all its forms (from online retail stores and outlets, through to VR creative teams, and much more).

At present, there are over 16.7 billion competing results in Google for ‘VR SEO’:

As you may expect Virtual Reality has not experienced the rapid expected growth since its early inception and release to the wider public in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but the re-invention of VR has been fuelled in no small part to gaming and mobile progress seen.

The recent growth of VR can be seen using Google Trends:

The remainder of this article focuses on my ‘5 practical tips for VR SEO’.

Tip 1 – Treat VR content like video content

… At least initially.

By looking at VR content optimisation in the same manner as video content optimisation you can begin to drive forward your approach, as the two are surprisingly similar.

Some of the key factors for VR SEO include:

Tip 2 – Use Google VR View

One of the key factors for optimising VR through SEO is the ability to embed VR into your website and host the content directly. Thankfully, Google has created, and provides for free use, VR View for this very purpose.

Taken directly from Google:

“VR view allows you to embed 360 degree VR media into websites on desktop and mobile, and native apps on Android and iOS. This technology is designed to enable developers of traditional apps to enhance the apps with immersive content. For example, VR view makes it easy for a travel app to provide viewers with an underwater scuba diving tour as they plan a vacation or for a home builder to take prospective buyers on a virtual walkthrough before the home is built.”

Source: https://developers.google.com/vr/concepts/vrview.

Tip 3 – Take a tiered approach to Virtual Reality content creation

Embedding VR content into your website is great for showcasing the power, use, and potential of Virtual Reality, but it will not work effectively for SEO unless it is supported with other content types.

When using VR content, support it with supplemental blog posts, social media snippet content, and wider external engaged audience’s including forums.

This type of tiered approach to topically relevant content creation, will help your website become more of an authority on Virtual Reality, give you the chance to demonstrate your expertise in this area, and externally promote new, and often exciting VR products and services to active audiences, who are looking for what you are providing.

Tip 4 – Write about the wider topic

Virtual Reality is still very new to a large majority of the potential consumer base. This provides an informative challenge to business to effectively convert users into customers, but also an even greater opportunity to position your business as the educational resource within your, and the wider, VR niche.

From Google Cardboard to VR gaming headsets, and VR apps for virtual property tours, there is a wealth of media, and mainstream potential for expert’s content creation and audience value addition.

Source: https://vr.google.com/cardboard/

The sooner you position your brand as the educator for VR, the more likely they will remain loyal to your business once they have the commercial intent and are ready to buy.

Tip 5 – Integrate VR into your search marketing strategy

Like any new venture, SEO for VR is a tactic that needs to become integrated into the broader marketing mix to be as effective as it can be.

Some of the integrated actions that I often deploy with new additions into the marketing mix include:

VR SEO in summary…

VR SEO is happening, it’s happening right now, and it is going to be much bigger in the build up to Christmas in 2017 and through to 2018 and beyond – this time Virtual Reality is here to stay.

Getting prepared for the VR boom, and generating greater SEO results for VR content, plus the VR topical online niche is going to be more familiar to you than you may think.

VR SEO shares many of the traits of traditional video optimisation, meaning that you can get going with my practical tips straight away, and the fact that Google has provided VR Viewer for embedding VR content into websites for free, helps remove any barriers to adding VR content online.

If you do one thing today, book in some time to make website updates based on my 5 practical tips for VR SEO – I’m confident these will put you in good stead for improving your business gains in organic VR search.

I’ve been leading digital marketing teams since the early 2000’s, and headed up the SEO department for a top 10 leading search and digital agency (VerticalLeap) from 2010 to present. In 2016, I had my first solely authored industry book published (Tactical SEO – the theory and practice of search marketing).

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