They are everywhere: on business cards, clothing, billboards, magazines, and, yes, even inked on people’s bodies. QR codes have taken the mobile marketing world by storm, with usage increasing 1600% last year*. These barcodes, which can be be generated using a variety of free online tools, can be used to launch a text message, mobile web page, email, phone number, or other data.

In an online environment dominated by search engine optimization, QR codes offer a fresh yet challenging addition to the likes of keyword marketing and URL structures. Brian Klais explains the power in using these text-free touch points:

“2D barcodes give smartphone consumers the ultimate shortcut, whether they’re looking to engage, gain more information, or to re-order a product. By satisfying the never-make-me-type ethos of mobile consumption, barcodes represent the new hyperlink (“hardlinks”) that glue offline and online together.”

In his article, Why QR Codes Could Disrupt Your SEO URL Structure, Klais discusses how long, keyword-optimized links are not suited for scanning, as large levels of storage translate into complex and unreadable images. His overarching message is this: when it comes to QR codes, LESS IS MORE. However you choose to connect with consumers, focus on achieving your target result in the most simple way possible. By minimizing data, your barcode will be crisp and easily readable, which is crucial to the success of your mobile marketing program.

The lesson here is not to throw your current URL structure out the window. Rather, it is important to recognize that while flooding your links with keywords may prove valuable in the search engines, the same strategy does not hold true for QR codes. Set goals for your campaign, isolate clear measurables, and be stringent when it comes to the amount of data your barcode contains.


Watersheds & Estuaries Mobile 

*Brian Klais, Why QR Codes Could Disrupt Your SEO URL Structure, (July 2011)