Virtual tours have become the talk of the time, considering in the business world. This article aims to address how a virtual tour can boost the local SEO of a business. But, before we get started, let me familiarize you a little with the technical terms used later in the article: virtual tour, SEO.
What is a Virtual Tour?
A virtual tour is the 3D representation of your product, service, location of your restaurant, car showroom, real estate property, shop, etc. It is an immersive, almost real-like experience that has a more emotional touch to it since it feels like you are present inside the shop, restaurant, property home, etc. The software coding behind this enables the viewer to have a virtual experience or visit the whole thing!
Now, what is SEO, and local SEO?
Well, if you have not heard the term ‘Search Engine Optimization’ short for SEO; then you need not worry. It entails improving your website’s position in search engine results page (SERP). Google is the dominant search engine, accounting for over 90% of searches processed globally. Moreover, local SEO is based and fixated onto a peculiar geographical location – most likely country-based. For instance, if your target audience is Malaysia; then you will have to work on strengthening your local SEO.
There is whole step-by-step rigorous procedure on how to optimize your keywords for a particular search engine results page(SERP), but I will not be diving into the specifics instead I will be sticking to enlisting specific ways how virtual tour is related to boosting your local SEO.
So, here are 6 ways a virtual tour can boost local SEO of your business:
1. The percentage of online bookings increase by an average of 85%
Around 44% of business searches are contributed by Google Maps. On average, 41% of these searches lead to on-site visits. People look for proximity, the information regarding the service and reviews and most importantly the photos attached with each listing. It is usually the photos that make the viewers click more and stay on the listing, thereby increasing the chances of on-site visits. So, if you have a virtual tour attached with your Google My Business (GMB) listing, on average 85% of online booking chances increases – is not that just GREAT!
Moreover, you can optimize your SERP standing by doing keyword research, getting to know the lower competition long-tail keywords for your product service by also limiting it to local SEO. Most business owners are wary of the significance of local SEO. You need at least 3 months to track the progress. The Google My Business (GMB) has its own version of Google Analytics for you to analyze and track the progress of your keywords after incorporating an interactive virtual tour.
2. Generates 30% More Backlinks
Backlinks are links that you get from external websites which have a good authority score, and thus thereby increasing your standing in the eyes of Google’s algorithm – better SEO. When you incorporate a virtual tour to your GMB listing, website, and other platforms, websites of high domain authority can link back to you. Therefore, Google then values your website more, and your SEO standing increases. All in all, websites with a virtual tour generates 30% more backlinks than those which do not have a virtual tour.
3. Increases 80% Time-On-Page thereby reducing Bounce Rate
Having a virtual tour on your GMB listing and your website leads to more time being spent by your traffic, thus reducing bounce rate. Bounce rate is the rate of people which after landing on your website immediately close it and go back to google to search again for what they were looking for. Since, time-on-page increases, this way, you benefit in SEO. Google loves websites which can retain their traffic for longer periods of time.
Virtual tours have proven to show an 80% time-on-page increase, which is splendid.
4. Higher Social Signals
Social signals entail the number of times your content is shared amongst different platforms and people. Having a virtual tour increases your chances of being shared twice as much. Google deems the website whose content is shared more often as ‘important’ and ranks it better.
5. Higher Click-Through Rate (CTR) – more traffic
A virtual tour lures the eye of majority of the people, since it provides an immersive, 3D, in-and-out walkthrough of your whole retail shop, restaurant, car showroom, real estate property, etc. This generates more click-through rate (CTR) – hence more traffic to your business’ website. More and more people click onto your Google My Business (GMB) Listing through your virtual tour. Having interacted through it, on their own, as they like; creates an emotional connection, and increases website to on-site traffic. This also, establishes customer empathy, retaining new customer base.
6. Boosts Customer Confidence Immediately
By providing a surreal, 3D virtual experience through your virtual tour, customers are more confident with what they can expect from your business product or service before making an on-site visit. It also satisfies a majority of the customers, since a virtual tour is an interactive, simulation of your store, restaurant, hotel, property, etc. giving the viewer the discretion to move about how they like and look at the place just like a Google Street View but in an enclosed area.
Incorporating a virtual tour on your GMB page, website and other platforms, can lead to a numerous benefits when it comes to optimizing your local SEO, it increases customer interaction, retention, sharing, and your online local visibility is enhanced, your website’s authority is improved by more and more backlinks that you can get from other companies linking back to you. Moreover, your brand recognition improves resulting in a greater customer base by converting website traffic to on-site traffic.