Over the last couple of years Google has been quietly working on ‘Project Beacon’. A Beacon is a small device that you physically place in your business which will allegedly increase your visibility in Google search.
It’s basically a little Bluetooth device (2 inches long) which auto-connects to any nearby smartphones that have location services switched on (Most of our smartphones have this activated by default).
The signals emitted from the Beacon give an accurate location of where the beacon is located, this means that it can track when people are in that specific location because their device connects. Apps can then read these signals and perform the appropriate action.
When your device is within the correct proximity of the Beacon it can receive information, or send information – this might take the form of simply informing the Beacon that the person has arrived at the location, or possibly displaying some special offers from the Beacon to your phone.
When someone is in the vicinity of your Beacon and search for things related to your business, the chances of you appearing in their search results increases.
For example, if you run an Italian restaurant and if Susan were to search for “Italian restaurants near me” and was within range of your beacon, you would appear as if by magic.
There’s More to Google Beacon…
According to Google, by activating and using the beacon they sent you, you can:
- Help your business show up on personal maps or saved places, where users have opted in to Location History.
- Gather photos, reviews, and other user-generated content for your business from people who’ve actually visited.
- Provide features like popular times and typical visit duration to help customers plan their visit to your business.
- Help provide Location Insights about how customers engage with your store.
- Access more features as they become available.
Safe to say, that is some great features packed into a small device. We really think this beacon is useful for both the venue and its customers, especially now the mobile usage is at an all-time high. Whilst it is limited to certain businesses, most venues are eligible to have this installed.
And just when you thought it cant get better…
Google has reached out to us in a bid to get these devices out and operational. We are able to request beacons for clients venues and we won’t charge a penny for processing the request or for the beacon itself!
How will this benefit my business?
The Google Beacons can be used to mark a physical location, you can mark a small location, so that means you can track a conversion from a specific Google AdWords campaign.
If you had an AdWords campaign for a certain product, the Beacon can be placed in that products location (right down to a specific shopping aisle) and will know if somebody who has seen that ad on their phone goes to the location of the product.
This means that there is another goal that can be tracked for conversions in a physical way. You can track the conversions of how many people came to your shop after seeing your ad online, so it is another way to see the effectiveness of your ad.
You will be able to see exactly how many people came to your shop after seeing your ad on their mobile because the Beacon will connect with that same device creating a conversion for that person.
This in turn means you can measure actual ROI from campaigns targeting physical real-world locations.
Your Google business listings will also benefit from a beacon, the Google Beacon can track popular times for people to visit your shop or company, give customers the opportunity to upload photos and reviews straight from their mobiles.
This will help improve the quality of information available to your customers within your business listing. Promotions and information can be broadcasted to all receptive devices within the proximity of the Beacon. These can be set up to alert them on your business listing when they are within range of your location.
This could mean that people who weren’t intending on using your business see the offer or event and then as a result visit the shop. Special offers or big events that your company is having presently or in the future can be sent directly to your customers phones when they are in your shop.
Will Beacon impact my SEO?
One of the questions we’ve been asked regarding the beacons is if by having one will your SEO, specifically Local SEO, get a ranking boost in applicable search results?
The short answer is no; simply having a beacon with not directly pump up your visibility in local search results.
However, the beacon can indirectly influence your Local SEO. Here’s how…
As mentioned above, the beacon will help you gather photos, reviews, and other user-generated content for your business from people who’ve actually visited.
By using your Google Beacon, location services enabled users who visited your business will receive a notification on their phone proactively asking them to leave a review and/or upload pictures that were taken at your location.
Let that sink in for a second….
It just so happens that Google My Business Review and Engagement Signals are two of the many Local SEO ranking factors their algorithm takes into consideration when providing local search results.
So yes, indirectly your beacon can help improve your Local SEO.
How does the Beacon benefit the customer?
A new ease for customers is also provided, people can order things directly to that Beacon because of the precise location, for example if a restaurant put a beacon on each table then people could order directly from their phone.
This is likely to increase sales and therefore the profit for your company. The precise location means that indoor navigation is possible, navigating round an airport or a shopping centre would be available on phones or tablets with the use of Beacons.
At the moment, the Google Beacon is in a Beta period so all costs of the Beacon and installing the Beacon are covered by Google. As a result of the Beacon being in beta period we have not had a chance to see exactly how the Google beacon works, we only know what it has been designed to do and the function it has been intended for.
If you need any advice or guidance on this topic, or you’re interested in looking into Google Beacon to benefit your Adwords or general Google visibility feel free to contact us.