Search Engine Optimisation is changing every day and adapting to the newest trends in the world of digital marketing. So, it’s no surprise that SEO strategies are taking a new, fast-growing technology into account: the Internet of Things!

In essence, the Internet of Things (IoT) encapsulates all internet-connected devices. Upon first thought you might think of smartphones and tablets. But the options stretch much further than the conventional phone, from modern cars to refrigerators.

IoT is used to allow these devices to communicate with and share information between each other. Despite smart home technology actually existing for decades, this digital phenomenon is on the rise now.

But hold on – why would your fridge ever need to communicate with your phone? When would you want your vacuum cleaner to send information to your computer?

While the notion of a massive web encompassing billions of devices may sound daunting, the super cool futuristic features that come hand-in-hand with IoT can’t be ignored. 

For instance – Amazon and a variety of brands, including Tide, have teamed up to include the “dash” button on smart washing machines. A simple press of the dash button places an order for more detergent on Amazon, bringing them to your doorstep just a few days later. Ziploc, among many other household brands, have joined in on similar collaborations with the online giant.

For the car gadget fans out there, General Motors introduced Marketplace, where you can order your favourite Starbucks Frappuccino, find the nearest grocery store, and make a reservation at your go-to Italian restaurant, all whilst sitting behind the wheel.

There are dozens more examples of out-of-the-box ways that IoT is transforming everyday tasks. But there are countless practical SEO-related features, too.

It changes the factors that are most important when ranking search results on SERPs, as phones and laptops are no longer the only mediums used to perform actions online. It shapes your content itself, the layout and visual features of your webpage, techniques to boost ranking, and so on.

IoT is about a lot more than just ultra-futuristic, flashy features.

Why Care About IoT?

Despite the range of things it enables us to do, many people are still skeptical about the concept of IoT – and rightly so! There are some definite concerns associated with the Internet of Things.

Firstly, there is a limitation of how compatible this new technology really is. While the types of devices that are joining in on IoT are increasing, not everyone is going to have a smart coffee machine sitting at home – so the reaches of IoT still have a way to go.

There’s also the potential for technological error. What happens if the internet drops out and you accidentally end up with 100 tide pods instead of 1? Glitches are part of growing technology, so it’s not unlikely that this could occur.

Arguably, the biggest issue is safety. What does it mean if your car can suddenly go online? Is your data safe? Can IoT handle such a complex web of devices?

We’ll get into the strides made towards ensuring the safety of your information later on, but first, let’s narrow down why, despite all the downsides, IoT is actually worth it and can transform your SEO strategy.

Voice Commands Over Long Keywords

Voice Commands Over Long Keywords

The first change that B2B businesses’ SEO strategies are facing is the way that searches are being performed. Next year, a whopping 50% of searches are expected to be made with voice commands, via Alexa, Siri, and co.

As IoT devices themselves are executing searches and communicating with other devices, less importance is placed on long keywords and more on creating content that can be easily processed and evaluated by these devices.

Take the Tide dash button, for example. Your washer at home will hardly be typing a long search query into Google (it may be a smart machine, but not that smart!). Rather, it will rely on more instant processes and voice commands. Quick phrases will be preferred over a long, carefully curated list of keywords.

Thus, the focus is shifting to optimising webpages for voice searches and making them comprehensible in a way that Alexa can read it back to you or unconventional devices can analyse its content. Pairing questions and answers on your pages will create bright red signposts for IoT devices that will help your content be seen.

That doesn’t, however, mean keywords are becoming irrelevant altogether – remember that the other 50% of searches are still typed by real people. Creating catchy keywords remains an art and is not to be forgotten about completely.

SERP Formatting Takes a Back Seat

SERP Formatting Takes a Back Seat

So the way your website should sound is not the same as it was a few years ago; but the way it looks shouldn’t be either.

With cars, refrigerators, and other crazy devices accessing the web, there is no longer such a strong focus on formatting your websites for SERPs. After all, your vacuum cleaner is hardly going to care what font colour you choose for the homepage.

For B2B marketers preparing for the world of IoT, less is definitely more when it comes to the visual appearance of websites. But wait…some people are still using their phones to search, and for them aesthetics does still remain a critical feature. So what should you do?

Looking at your Buyer Persona and what types of devices they’re using can answer precisely this question for you. If your Persona continues to rely predominantly on their tablets to venture into the world of Google, you don’t have much to worry about.

If, however, your target audience is veering into IoT territory, your attention should quickly shift to discovering ways to adapt your website to these new mediums. While your interactive visuals or vibrant colours in the web version may look spectacular, some devices may not be compatible with certain features and add-ons – so think twice before adding anything too fancy.

A Wider Reach

A Wider Reach

Like I said, not everyone will have a smart coffee machine at home; however, the number of IoT devices is growing like crazy! A staggering 7 billion IoT-connected devices exist today, and that figure will only continue to increase.

That means that you can target more and more people via the Internet of Things, sharing your content with a wider audience.

Another benefit is that you can collect more detailed personal information about your leads’ preferences and behaviour. As more devices will be involved in online searches and purchases, you’ll have access to a lot more quantitative feedback from each device about the kinds of things that your Buyer Persona is looking for.

In this way, you can customise your content for each user and reach out to more people in increasingly different ways (not just via their phone or laptop!), making your marketing efforts more engaging for your target audience.

Local SEO is Taking Over

Local SEO is Taking Over

Remember General Motors’ Marketplace feature? Well, it may be more directly related to SEO than you think.

IoT strips you of one very common problem: choosing whether to market your business to a small neighborhood or spend a lot of money to spread an ad campaign around a whole city. Pre-IoT left businesses faced the tough decision of how much they were willing to invest in marketing their product or service – but not anymore.

IoT cars, electric bicycles, and other moving devices solve this dilemma by, for instance, showing your ads to nearby drivers and their passengers. In other words, rather than having to either concentrate your marketing efforts in one place or put all of your effort in spreading your business’ name across the city, IoT does this for you by showing your ad to any user that merely drives past your door. 

Basically, you’re reducing your cost-per-click and can be sure that your ads are shown to the right people.

Safety and the Future of IoT

In summary: yes, IoT can allow you to do some really cool things. It makes a ton of different tasks, from everyday nuisances like buying detergent to more advanced functions like advertising, unimaginably more efficient.

However, now we’re coming back to a big issue from earlier – safety. A big concern with IoT is the fear of being hacked, especially with so much personal data being shared by so many devices.

Malicious software, identity theft, and surveillance are all notable fears with the growing digital web. Businesses can use information from smart devices to strategically advertise something to you; for example, if your smart fridge is empty, a takeaway business that has access to this information could bombard you with offers.

While all of this sounds like a huge, scary invasion of privacy, a lot of strides are being taken to enforce consumer confidence and protect users’ data. New programs and techniques are popping up left and right to prevent these issues. 

This also means that your website must adhere to ever-changing cyber safety standards, so watch out for new regulations and updates!

Overall, as the web of devices connected to the Internet of Things grows, the changes that IoT brings with it are definitely something to bear in mind when evolving your SEO strategy. IoT opens the doors to brand new, exciting marketing techniques and pushes businesses towards constant evolution, so playing this digital game right is the key to your success!

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Yuki Braun

Written by Yuki Braun

Yuki has loved to write from an early age, whether it was embarrassing fanfictions or real blogs for real people. She couldn't be happier working with &weekly – and as a student at the University of St Andrews, the extra pocket money comes in hand for a pint and some chips at the nearest pub!