Do you ever wonder what the bridge between the ‘offline’ and online media world would look like?
It looks a little something like a pixelated square box with a hidden meaning, but instead of further describing it, take a look for yourself below.
This paper-based hyperlink which connects the physical and online world is known as a Quick Response (QR) code.
Now that we revealed the name of this digital tool, is it something that your business should employ to stand out and better achieve its objectives?
The answer is yes and YES again! SEO Sydney explains how QR codes are a useful SEO instrument for marketers to add to their digital strategy portfolio for numerous reasons.
What are QR codes?
QR codes are 2D matrix barcodes that can hold thousands of alphanumeric characters of information and are used in print publications and advertisements. They are easy and free to generate and can be done via automatic QR-code-generating websites. These codes are not too different from traditional bar codes but they are able to contain much more information.
Are QR codes a new digital tool?
These codes to many peoples’ surprise are not a new invention. The QR code system was pioneered by the Japanese company Denso Wave in 1994. This system was originally used to track vehicles during manufacturing through a high-speed scanning method.
Even though these codes emerged as early as the 1990s, major reputable businesses have only just recently begun to use QR codes in advertising and promotion strategies (e.g. Mc Donald’s and Ralph Lauren).
Quick response codes allow physical advertisements such as brochures, posters and billboards to direct users to mobile landing pages that comprise of more information and interactivity on the offering than can be afforded on the printed page.
Why use QR codes?
These 2D codes can re-invent your SEO strategy and boost its performance, here’s how:
1) User Convenience. QR Codes provide an easy one-step process to direct users to a website, campaign, video or other information.
2) Increased page traffic. These codes swiftly redirect mobile phone users to a webpage and encourage people to act.
3) Media Integration. QR Codes can be integrated with a wide range of marketing materials (e.g. print collateral, direct mail, billboards and more) to combine different information in one place.
4) Device independent. All the web pages QR codes are linked to, can be viewed on all popular smartphone software (iOS and Android).
5) Measurable analytics. The actions linked to QR Codes are traceable with web analytics or other tools for marketing campaign measurement.
6) Competitive Differentiation. Companies currently employing QR codes in their marketing campaigns strategically set themselves apart from competitors as this is still perceived as an innovative strategy.
7) Inexpensive. QR Codes cost nothing to produce and can be automatically and instantaneously generated by imputing a URL into a QR code maker.
8) Broad user demographic. Consumers of a large age group are utilising them (age group: 22-55).
These benefits best apply on shorter URLs which are converted to lens-readable QR codes. Lengthy URLs do not facilitate scanning readability, especially when shrunk to fit a poster or print ad. This is illustrated below with a complex QR code to the left and a simpler one to the right.
Now that we’ve outlined the simpler strategic functions of QR codes, let’s dive deeper.
What is the future of these codes? Unexpectedly it is in Blockchain!
Blockchain was originally devised for the cryptocurrency Bitcoin but the tech community has now found other potential uses for it. A blockchain carries no transaction cost, it is a simple way of passing information from A to B in a fully automated and safe manner. (Read more about blockchain here).
Bitcoin is using this model for monetary transactions, but it can be deployed in other ways such as working in conjunction with QR codes.
This allows digital information to be distributed but not copied, blockchain technology created the backbone of a new type of internet.
Presently, QR codes are widely used for authentication, payments, contact information exchange and much more. For instance, SafeWallet the decentralised cryptocurrency wallet, is launching a new QR code-based user identification system that will replace mnemonic phrases and private keys.
QR code are highly encrypted and thus cannot be decrypted by scanning them with other software. Platforms such as SafeWallet do not store an individual’s QR code on their servers.
QR code authentication procedure
The birds eye view of this process is the following:
In particular, Wechat pay and Alipay are major players in this new form of payment which utilises QR codes. This brings the dawn of an open protocol system which is less regulated by banks. Through utilising digital tools such as QR codes, it is easily accessible to the public and the desired outcome is fast-tracked.
What does the increased use of blockchain and its relationship with QR codes mean for SEO?
Google is an intermediate closed protocol system which ceaselessly collects and sells users’ information to advertisers and other industries. The shift to an open version of the Internet based on Blockchain will radically revolutionise the collection of data, payment for market offerings and SEO.
Additionally, as businesses start to adopt blockchain they will need to embed it within their websites.
This will present both technical issues and opportunities for companies and their page rank along with other parts of their SEO strategy.
Search engine users are raising concerns about the role played by tech giants in people’s lives. This with regards to the sale of personal data to large organisations for the pure benefit of their bottom lines.
We are globally moving towards a blockchain based search engine (BBSE) in conjunction with an identity coin (cryptocurrency) and QR code identification system. A BBSE comes with the promise of consumer data usage as without the need of controlling or owning individuals’ information to display better and more personalised search results.
To conclude, this will signal a transformation process for numerous companies across different sectors. Numerous organisations will benefit from incorporating QR codes in their SEO strategy and marketing campaigns as well as introducing blockchain to facilitate their daily business procedures.
Search Engine Land- How blockchain will impact search marketing
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