Google’s virtual game changer: Leveraging 360 VR video & image optimization for SEO
Contributor Brian Ussery notes that as global search interest in VR skyrockets, Google has quietly made 360-degree VR videos and images accessible across devices and optimizable for organic search.
With little fanfare, earlier this year Google rolled out a way to embed 360-degree VR media for headsets in search engine optimizable web pages accessible via desktop and mobile. That’s right, immersive VR videos and images for VR headsets can now be optimized for search, accessed directly from Google and experienced on desktops and mobile devices, with or without the need for a native mobile app or VR headset. (Full disclosure: I own stock in Google.)
Considering Google has shipped over five million Cardboard VR headsets, and over 12 million VR headsets are expected to sell this year, this innovation presents a major opportunity for search marketers in travel, real estate, design, education and other industries.
While it has always been possible to embed 360 VR media in pages for consumption on desktop and mobile, compatibility issues made it nearly impossible to embed content for VR headsets in web pages. Google’s “VR View” is changing that by making immersive 360-degree VR media interoperable and resolving concerns about the “limited availability of VR hardware among the general public.”
Google VR View for the web supports full 360 VR through Google Cardboard devices. For mobile and desktop users without a VR headset, VR View pages default to a “magic window” accessible across browsers and mobile apps and by search engines.