Today, at 12:01 AM, the Apple Watch went live for pre-order, and sold out in six hours. While the concept of a wearable devices and smart watches have been around since the Mid-1980s (Seiko RC series and the Timex Datalink anyone?), today will be remembered as the day that wearable computing went mainstream. Apple Watch is poised to do what the iPhone did for smartphones and the iPad did for tablet computing. Now the next question: How do we market to Apple Watch users? How will mobile users interacting with a watch instead of a phone impact local search results? Will the SEO Gurus, Ninjas, and Samurais at I Think An Idea have to start thinking about watch SEO now?
The impact of the Apple Watch (and a new generation of Android watches) on SEO and Social Media marketing will be impossible to completely measure until those pre-orders turn into actual day to day users, but there are a few pretty credible assumptions we can make.
1. Continued “App-ification”
In 2014, mobile usage finally outpaced desktop Internet usage. This shift in the way people accessed the Internet also represented a shift in the way people browsed the Internet. According to a study by Flurry, apps dominate the mobile space. User spend more than 80 percent of their time using apps and only about 14 percent of their time using a mobile browser.
The limited real estate of a smart watch guarantees that this trend towards apps over browsers will only increase. Ensuring that your website is mobile friendly? Great first step. The next step? Start thinking of ways to incorporate an app into your digital marketing strategy.
2. Greater Platform Diversification
When most webmasters and SEO companies approached the process of local optimization it was all about Google. Optimizing a local listing for Google Maps, for Google Places, and trying to dominate the entire rest of the SERP was the soul focus. The problem with this strategy is that is closes off your business to other marketing channels.
What happens when a potential customer using an Apple Watch asks Siri for directions to the nearest car wash? Siri pulls data directly from Bing and feeds it to Apple Maps. If you are not actively optimizing your local listings on Bing, Yelp, TripAdvisor and even Apple Maps your business is potentially invisible to new customers.
Want to make sure your business has search presence on Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad, desktops, and mobile browsers? Do not just focus on Google search and Google Listings. Focus on optimizing multiple platforms for maximum visibility.
3. The Rise of the Ultra-Personalized Search
Google already personalizes search results based on a number of criteria like location, device, Google + history and your visit history. Go to a particular location for a couple of days straight, like your new favorite gym, and Google Now will offer you the shortest route to that destination.
Now imagine a future, about five years from now, where you receive a pop-up on your watch telling you about a sale on shoes at a shoe store two blocks from your office. This search result was generated based on metrics like your last run time and your body weight. Data all collected by your smart watch.
When it comes to wearable technology, the limit of search personalization is virtually endless. Instead of search being customized based on several generalizations, search may one day be customized down to the person.
So how in the world does an SEO agency or company optimize for the future? Focus on brand recognition and branded search, diversify and be visible across multiple platforms, and put a premium on usability across multiple devices. For more information and ideas I’d recommend Moz’s White Board Friday on Personalized Search.
The wearable future is here and wearable technology represents a huge new opportunity for marketers. All you need to do is take advantage of it.