As an SEO agency, we’re big lovers of all things digital, so the question arises, is metaverse SEO (or should we say meta SEO) the future of search marketing?
After witnessing Facebook’s rebrand to Meta, a question that now comes to mind is which company will be next to commit big to the metaverse? Will we see search engine giants like Google and Microsoft commit to the same extent as Meta, or will they stick to more conventional software and services?
Microsoft and Google are both big players in the tech and software space, but they are search engine juggernauts as well, with Bing receiving around 90 million searches a day and Google receiving a whopping 5.6 billion search requests a day. It is only reasonable to assume that these search giants would adapt to cater to new types of search.
What could metaverse search look like?
Most of us have seen the movie ‘The Matrix’. In one specific scene, Neo is requesting guns and seconds later, a seemingly infinite number of them are available to him at his location. Could this be how search will work in the metaverse, only with assets and virtual experiences?
Your metaverse avatar (which is a digital representation of you) could search via voice for an existing experience or asset within the world, and have it delivered to you immediately. Alternatively, you could search and be taken to the requested location immediately if the search was for a location or gaming instance.
These types of searches could be most impressive in social sandbox experiences where users are interacting with other people within the virtual space. The use of assets in these worlds is also an interesting topic.
Who would be in control?
Could we see a future where assets function as NFTs that can be used by others for free for a limited time (bought or rented) from the creator? In this example, NFTs will all need to work with metaverse search in order to connect the user to the creator.
The question is, would this need a dedicated search provider, or could this be implemented by each respective metaverse or sandbox?
The answer comes down to scale. As it stands at the moment with a fairly manageable user base, each metaverse experience could provide their own search capabilities. This may be what metaverse search will look like in the future rather than relying on a third-party dedicated search company.
If many popular metaverse worlds exist under a unified umbrella with a huge population of users, then it seems more viable to expect dedicated search teams to tackle the task of serving search requests.
If Meta goes on to create multiple metaverse social experiences, they could have a dedicated unified search division, much like how Google currently works. This would allow users to search through multiple metaverse instances in order to find the experience or asset they are looking for.
How would metaverse SEO work?
It’s impossible to theorise about the future of metaverse search without thinking about SEO. Firstly, let’s start at the beginning and think about the fundamental basics of search. The job of a search engine is to deliver accurate and appropriate results relative to the user’s enquiry.
If we envision a rich and diverse number of assets and experiences in future metaverse worlds — similar to that of the real world — then metaverse SEO could work in the following ways.
- Let’s use the example of a user searching for a VR cinema that is showing the latest movies within the metaverse. This cinema has been active for some months and the search algorithm that served this location to previous enquiries learns about relevance and accuracy over time.
- Data could show that visitors served this location for the request “cinemas” resulted in high conversions and a lower ‘bounce rate’ than competitors.
- Bounce rate in this context would mean that users stayed at the cinema and didn’t leave until the movie was over.
- Optimising metaverse in-world services in order to keep users at a location digitally could be a type of metaverse SEO (or meta seo) that can be optimised — much like optimising a website in order to keep users on-site longer. Other cinema experiences in the metaverse may have poor image quality or bad facilities and may have a high bounce rate in comparison.
- Unlike traditional SEO, these improvements to meta bounce rate could have positive implications for metaverse SEO in terms of the order in which search results are shown to subsequent users.
- When presenting the user with something a bit simpler, let’s say an asset such as a VR jetpack, the user could be asked to rate the asset which could be used to determine subsequent relevance and search quality. This data could be used as another flag to impact other users’ searches.
- Some services in the metaverse could be run by bots or AI in a similar way to how some websites use a chatbot for customer enquiries.
- Businesses that operate without automated AI and that have a human workforce could be favoured when serving search results for specific business or entertainment services.
Could it only be a matter of time until we see a digital representation of something like Disney World inside the metaverse? It all sounds a bit bizarre, but you have to think within the context of this being where future metaverses and augmented experiences are heading.
Is ‘meta SEO’ the future of search? SEO 2.0
The answer is that it largely depends on where the majority of searches are taking place.
It’s hard to imagine a future where conventional search queries aren’t being made. The future of rich media and its evolution could become exclusive to metaverse worlds due to the removal of real-world limitations (such as viewing on a flat surface).
If and when this happens, search and therefore SEO will need to evolve in order to serve requests for this new type of ‘meta-rich’ media.
How could search marketing work in the metaverse?
If you are a company that makes visual assets for the metaverse, you could pay to list your digital product above organic listings – similarly to Google’s sponsored listings in web search.
Offering limited-time trials of your assets or experiences could be another way to draw people into buying your premium line of digital assets.
Making sure that you do everything possible to ensure visitors to your virtual business enjoy the visit, and stay on-location for a sufficient amount of time could give you a lead over the competition.
Businesses could have a rating system too, much as we see on Google Maps displaying customer comments and reviews.
The actual location of your business or service in the metaverse could also be a factor determining your search position. If you are located close to premium digital real estate, your service and in-world business could potentially be suggested to regular visitors who attend that area.
This shows that your digital location within the metaverse could prove to be very important — not just as an investment, but to enhance your position in metaverse search.
All of this is highly speculative, and can easily sound like something from a fever dream.
The coming years will be an interesting time for the metaverse, virtual reality, XR and MR as more people than ever will be spending big on VR hardware and more marketers become involved.
Of course, all of this is assuming that the metaverse will continue to gain popularity. With so many tech companies investing in mixed reality experiences, it’s hard to imagine a future without metaverse experiences and some form of metaverse SEO being at the forefront of what is possible with the internet, web 3.0 and NFTs.
This article is part of our latest series on the metaverse and what this means for businesses. To jump straight to one of our other titles, please feel free to browse below:
- What Is the Metaverse & What Are NFTS? What Does This Mean for Business?
- Are The Metaverse And Virtual Reality The Same Thing? What About XR & MR?
- Is Metaverse Social Media Marketing a Trend to Watch in 2022?
- Is Metaverse SEO (Or Should We Say Meta SEO) The Future of Search Marketing?
- Should Businesses Think About Metaverse Marketing as Part of Their Digital Strategy?
- Leading Metaverse Companies, Projects & Examples: Who Will Win the Race?
What do you think? Is metaverse SEO the future of online search? Is it just a fantasy? Or will SEO no longer be needed in the metaverse?