We Received a Google Beacon. Now What?



Google recently released a new program called Project Beacon. As part of this new program, Google has been sending out their beacons to businesses with physical addresses in hopes of making the location more visible to customers while at your location.

As with most things Google, there is always a bit of hesitancy to participate. Sounds weird coming from a digital marketing agency, huh? Well, to be honest, our initial concern is protection of privacy for our users. Obviously, we wouldn’t want a device that we installed at our SEO agency to gather data from our clients unknowingly.


After doing some digging, we did find some key points on user privacy that helped ease our minds.

Some helpful Project Beacon privacy tips:

1. Beacons do not transmit any personal user data. In fact, beacons are just low-cost hardware transmitters that only broadcast their individual UUID, major and minor values. This information is then received by the concerned mobile app (that is associated with the beacon) to process the information and trigger an appropriate notification to app users in the range of the beacon.

2. Beacons by themselves do not track exact user location. All a beacon does is to notify that your phone is nearby. The concerned beacon-enabled app can then translate this information into a geographical location (such as latitude and longitude) by using a mapping solution or GPS.

3. Ensure that your beacon-based app provides a transparent data policy that clearly outlines the brand’s stance on data collection, usage and ownership. A well laid out data policy is one of the first steps in ensuring customer confidence and brand loyalty. Important details such as source of data collection (through multiple channels), app permissions, use and ownership of collected data are some of the important details that can be part of an app’s privacy policy.

4. Providing privacy controls within an app is a great feature that beacon-based apps should include. This feature typically allows users to toggle privacy controls back and forth based on their individual preferences at any point in time.

Now with the ever important privacy concerns out of the way, let’s get down to the nitty gritty.

How Can Project Beacon Help My Business?

Google’s Beacons help mobile devices more accurately determine a user’s location when location services on their device are enabled. Because your store’s actual physical location is programmed within your beacon, your phone will then use the signal from the beacon to understand that the user is actually physically in your store – as opposed to relying on other, less accurate location based signals.

According to Google, by activating and using the beacon they sent you, you can:

  • Help your business show up on personal maps or saved places, where users have opted in to Location History.
  • Gather photos, reviews, and other user-generated content for your business from people who’ve actually visited.
  • Provide features like popular times and typical visit duration to help customers plan their visit to your business.
  • Help provide Location Insights about how customers engage with your store.
  • Access more features as they become available.

Can Project Beacon Help My Local SEO?

The short answer is no; simply having a beacon with not directly pump up your visibility in local search results.

However, the beacon can indirectly influence your Local SEO. Here’s how…

As mentioned above, the beacon will help you gather photos, reviews, and other user-generated content for your business from people who’ve actually visited.

By using your Google Beacon, location services enabled users who visited your business will receive a notification on their phone proactively asking them to leave a review and/or upload pictures that were taken at your location.

Let that sink in for a second….

It just so happens that Google My Business Review and Engagement Signals are two of the many Local SEO ranking factors their algorithm takes into consideration when providing local search results.

So yes, indirectly your beacon can help improve your Local SEO.