I recently got a comment on Facebook from Clint. He said, “I received a Google beacon in the mail today. Seems very big brother-ish. But do you think it’s worth using for a law firm? Do you think Google beacon will add beacon users to their rankings?”

Okay, so Google beacon is one of those things that as a marketer I’m very excited about and as a human, I’m not so sure about. I’ve done a lot of research on it, and the problem is that Google doesn’t really give you a ton of information on it.

Basically, there are these tiny little Bluetooth beacons, and I don’t have one, so I can’t really show it to you. But Google has been sending them to people that are running pay per click campaigns.

What Can You Do With A Google beacon?

To get them, you have to have a pay per click campaign. It has to be a local pay per click campaign, and you have to have a location extension installed. Here’s what’s cool about it: You can basically use it to increase the accuracy of the reporting.

For example, let’s say, somebody, clicks on your ad and then fills out a contact form or calls you, and then eventually they end up showing up at your business. Google can actually use this beacon to tie their visit to your location and their Google Account just by using the Bluetooth on their cell phone.

It’s very big brother-ish as you say, but, as a marketer, it’s really cool. You can even remarket to people that come to your business. For example, let’s say somebody comes to your office and they don’t retain you, you could start pushing ads to them.
If you are, for example, a personal injury attorney, you may be able to sneak one of these things into a hospital somewhere. And that way, you could run personal injury ads to them.

Maybe you can even sneak it into a jail somewhere. That would be kind of an interesting thing to sneak into a jail. I think a Google beacon is probably something that they’re not looking for. Don’t sneak it into the jail though. I’m just kidding. Don’t do that.

But, my point is that what’s pretty cool is that you can use this to start. It’s kind of like merging the real world with the online world.

Will It Affect Search Rankings?

Personally, I don’t think so. I think this is purely a pay per click thing. Google could use it maybe as a user or a searcher intent thing. Let’s say, somebody goes to Google and searches for a divorce lawyer, and then eventually shows up at your location. Google might take that into consideration, although I feel like that’s pretty far-fetched, I don’t know.

If someone goes to Google and searches for a divorce lawyer, ends up on your website, and then immediately bounces back, that’s not good. If they go to your website and stick around for a while, then you’re going to typically rank higher because user engagement, searcher intent, and search satisfaction is a big part of your ranking.

What About Push notifications?

I don’t know what Google has planned for it. A lot of people think that they’d like to do push ads or push notifications. If I have a beacon for my business or my law firm, for example, I can simply push a button.

Then, everyone within a one-mile radius or 100-foot radius of my business will get a push notification and have my message show up on their screen. Of course, there are ways to do this already.

I believe Android devices can do this. My advice is don’t do that because people get very annoyed. I know that I would be annoyed if I just had Bluetooth notifications showing up for a law firm that wasn’t relevant to me, and I wouldn’t use that firm for that reason.

Can it work? Probably. But, you are likely to piss a lot of people off. Still, Google beacon is a very interesting thing, and it’s still in beta.

I don’t even know if (or how) you can request one. I think it’s by invitation only and they’re sending them to random businesses that are running pay per click campaigns or have run pay per click campaigns in the past.

I’m pretty excited about the fact that we can tie real-world activities to pay per click campaigns. What does the future hold for Google Beacon? I have no idea, but I think it’s pretty interesting and as a marketer, I’m excited about it.