Wearables to Heighten Demand for Local Search: Prepare Now!

Content Takeover Mobile & Local SearchAs the Apple Watch’s April debut looms, many advertisers are beginning to question whether the tiny screens attached to wearables will really prove all that useful for reaching consumers. But marketers can make the Apple Watch, as well as other wearable devices, relevant for local search if they make the right moves to maximize potential. And now is the time to do it.

Mobile devices have already created an expectation of immediate, accurate local search results. The rise of wearables will most likely only heighten the demand for quick local search, according to Jim Yu, founder and chief executive (CEO) of BrightEdge, a leading enterprise SEO platform. “Similar to how we’ve watched mobile evolve into a prime device for local discovery, wearables will likely follow suit,” says Yu. “Today, people live their lives on their devices, which heightens consumer demand for information that is contextually relevant to their immediate location. The increased adoption of wearables will impact not only how companies engage consumers, but the buying cycle itself.”

Location-Based Shopping Buddies 

One way that wearables might affect the buying cycle is their use in connection with mobile devices for wallet technologies. According to Mark Tack, vice president of marketing for Vibes, wearables will most likely become connected to a cloud system that will allow consumers to use their mobile devices as constant shopping companions. Push notifications tied to geo-tagging in wallet apps or iBeacons stand to drive customers to both search and shop locally by reminding users of relevant offers and loyalty programs saved to mobile wallets.

“We’re investigating how we can combine location-based mobile offers with interactive content on the Apple Watch,” says Tack. “That is of course in its early phases. Our concern there is that the watch is such an intimate device and there is such limited real estate on wearables that the best application of a wallet ad is as part of the notification function.”

But for wearables to really take off, consumers must see more value than simple sale alerts and tracking capabilities to get them to their favorite stores. “The challenge marketers face is in repurposing and resizing the same content and data for optimal consumption on the different wearables,” says Yu. “Companies that figure out how to achieve machine learning alongside content creation will have an early advantage in the battle for eye, hand, and wrist real estate.”

Voice Search

One solution for winning valuable wearable real estate is to segment search functionalities across the Internet of Things (IOT), says Jay Taylor, managing director at Leverage Digital. One example is recognizing the voice search capabilities of smart watches. “Wearables really have the potential to push predictive voice searching that knows what you’re going to want before you want it,” says Taylor.

Now is the time to perfect voice search across mobile in preparation for things to come, according to Yu. “Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana have led the way in voice search, and the trend will only continue to grow, even beyond mobile devices. Understanding the value you’re providing customers and how they want to engage will soon become more critical than ever before. Every company should be thinking with a query mindset rather than keywords and optimizing for voice across devices, including wearables.”

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