With little fanfare, before this year Google rolled out a means to embed 360-degree VR media for headsets in search engine optimizable web pages reachable via desktop and mobile.
That ’s correct, immersive VR videos got from Google, and images for VR headsets are now able to be optimized for search and experienced on desktop computers and mobile devices, with or without the need for a native cellular app or VR headset. (Full disclosure: I own stock in Google.)
This year over 12 million VR headsets are expected to sell, and considering Google has shipped over five million Cardboard VR headsets, this innovation presents a major chance for search marketers in travel, real estate, design, education and other industries.
Google’s “VR View” is changing that by making immersive 360-degree VR media resolving and interoperable concerns about the “limited access to VR hardware among the general public.”
Full 360 VR is supported by Google VR View for the web through Google Cardboard apparatus. For mobile and desktop users without a VR headset, VR View pages default to a “magic window” accessible across browsers and mobile programs and by search engines.
This release comes amidst a spectacular rise in public fascination with VR technology. International search interest in “VR” has increased 300 percent over the past year and reached a new all-time high in June 2016.
Additionally, an increasing body of research indicates that 360 VR content increases engagement, interactions, views, shares, subscriptions, time on page and empathy. These can be interpreted by search engines as signals of quality content, which, since you may already know, can be crucial for positions.
Quality content is kind of the whole point of great virtual reality. When do properly, pictures and 360 VR videos provide users with the feeling they are “someplace else.” or a sense of “presence”
The thought of “presence” is near and dear to Google co-founder and Alphabet CEO Larry Page contemplated focusing on telepresence in school rather than search.
Rather than being its own merchandise internally at Google, VR is more of an interdepartmental notion that each merchandise supervisor is encouraged to research and comprehend. Google employees working on other things and Search, StreetView, YouTube, Geo, Maps, Android are also working on VR-related projects.
Because Google believes in the possibility for 360-degree VR media to be a “transformative technology,” VR has been heavily invested in by it. With its present fleet of hundreds of back packs, trolleys, trikes, snowmobiles, submarines and cars dedicated to recording panoramic images for Google Street View, perhaps no company on earth has as much expertise recording 360-degree media as Google.
360 VR has come a long way
Being a deeply invested trailblazer in this emerging medium is no little feat. Making high quality video and 360 VR images has been tedious, difficult and expensive.
As soon as I created my first 360-degree image back in 2002, it took me more than 40 hours merely to stitch every picture together. That doesn’t include time to scout locations, record pictures or “invent” the needed gear (nothing existed commercially at the time).
Obviously, nowadays there are a number of relatively low priced options for catching and automatically “stitching” VR media together, and this form of content creation is becoming increasingly more popular among publishers and brands alike.
Along with the broad range of devices and cameras out there, there are free apps like Google’s Street View camera and Cardboard camera that make it simpler than ever before to get 360-degree videos and images. In addition to real world capture, VR View supports an expanding range of CGI solutions.
With Google VR View, nearly anyone can embed and promote VR media letting users easily locate it from Google search and consume it on desktop, cellular, on their web site or with a VR headset. This is step one in what’s sure to be an exciting future for VR.
VR View begins with a “magic window” iframe embedded in a web page that is conventional. On mobile, the image on the telephone corresponds to the movement of the phone, although on desktop, VR View works like conventional 360 VR content.
With VR View, when the phone goes, the VR video or picture embedded in the window that is magic reacts to go along with the telephone. Mobile users can view 360 VR media via partial or full-screen encounter, or they could click on the Cardboard icon to transition to a head-mounted display (HMD) VR experience.
To see VR View in action, check out Google’s demo on your background, mobile and Google Cardboard -powered VR apparatus.
360 VR video & image SEO prep
VR View supports mono 360 panoramas, too as omnidirectional stereo (ODS) panoramas. Both 360 stills and videos are supported in mono or stereo. Google supports JPEG and PNG when it comes to image files, but JPEG is typically the best option from a load time outlook.
Content in 360 VR can be optimized to load quickly on cellular and even use advanced technologies like AMP, which now supports immersive video viewing encounters. Measurements should always be divisible by 16 and be a maximum of 4096 x 4096.
Download the image to use 360 VR images from Google’s Cardboard camera app and convert it to align with Google Google ’s formatting standards.
360 VR specialized SEO training
Google has open-sourced “VR View making all the technical specifications available on Github. Google advocates uploading a local version of VR View instead of using a linked external variation.
For those folks who aren’t technically inclined, the advantage of VR View is that it does the hard work all. It is possible to get up VR View and running by simply uploading VR View files from Github to your site and making a handful of technical changes that are required.
When it comes to optimizing VR View pages for search, it is necessary to be aware that search engines don’t index video files in search results. Instead, search engines index URLs of pages.
In order to index VR View pages, the engine iframe content, find the iframe and must crawl the parent URL, associate them all together, and index the parent URL in search results.
Due to VR View, SEO for VR content pages is not difficult. In many ways, it is much like regular video or image optimization, except for a few crucial differences.
After you have a 360 VR file embedded in a functioning, cellular-friendly HTTPS page that loads quickly, it is time to start contemplating optimizing URLs for search. Iframe URL, the page and VR media URL all need to be optimized and exceptional for search.
Since file names can communicate significant clues to search engines and users, it really is wise to contain descriptive keywords in URLs for these files. For VR files, “VR” and geographical key words normally do well. For example, chicago-vr-image.jpg is better than 1234.jpg.
Google includes some keyword terms in the VR View model, but it is not impossible to make added customizations for SEO.
Each page needs an unique and illustrative HTML component (60-70 characters), meta description (a short sentence or two) and heading tag (three to eight words). Given the interest in “VR” related key words, it’s advisable to include VR and geographic -related keyword terms accurately describing the issue. For instance, “VR Video Wrigley Field Chicago, IL” is better than just “Wrigley Field Chicago.” or “VR Video”
For example, “360 VR image: Machu Picchu Peru Guardhouse View.”
Have to be worth a lot more, no? pictures if an image is worth 1,000 words, 16 Contain some unique initial text (ideally a paragraph or two) under the caption for each piece of VR content that precisely describes the subject matter of the 360 VR media embedded in the page.
Attempt to contain relevant named entities like deserts, forests, oceans, nearby cities, states, nations, landmarks, rivers, mountains ranges and seasons along with altitude, date, time, weather or other relevant advice. To attract users searching for “VR”- keyword terms that are related, do not forget to include format-connected content keywords like ” “VR images, “VR video,” “immersive video,” “360 VR media” or similar words which make sense.
At exactly the same time, the key will be to sprinkle, not spam. Stanford’s Virtual Storytelling Guide is an excellent reference for VR success.
When used properly, the rel= tag that is canonical helps ensure that engines index the page with the embedded video and correctly consolidate linking properties.
VR videos & image search alternatives
Along with embedding 360-degree VR media in web pages or uploading VR videos to YouTube.com, many of the latest 360 VR cameras, devices and apps interface directly with Google. That means that photographers can immediately share 360 VR images on Google with the push of a button.
This is essential for marketers because photographs with virtual tours in search results are twice as likely to create interest. With the Google Street View camera program, user-contributed 360 VR images can appear in Google organic search results, Google Maps, Street View, Google Earth, third party websites using embeddable widgets or the Google Maps API, as well as other Google products and services.
“gaming” is the first thing that usually comes to mind, but not all VR experiences necessitate the time it takes to play a game, when people think about VR, let alone a fancy VR headset. According to some leading VR pros, the greatest programs for VR might be communicating, not gaming.
Marketers interested in VR should think about opportunities to share real-world “bite-size” VR content that anyone can use up — and the sense of “presence” it communicates.
Rather than taking a traditional “gaming” strategy to images and 360 VR videos, marketers should focus on Google’s “VR for all approach.” Just like Google image search and YouTube, occasionally the best result for an user’s query isn’t a page full of text.
VR originators, developers and users will come up with new and interesting ways to leverage 360 VR media.