The complete guide to the impact of online 3D viewers on SEO

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Companies that sell physical products, especially those that are difficult to transport and display, are increasingly turning to technology. On one hand, to make everything better, but also to get ahead of the competition.

Many of them decide to turn to technology tools such as 3D viewers instead of 2D-based technologies. The team or manager will of course see an advantage in integrating this tool on their website, but can a 3D viewer harm the company’s overall SEO?

Google’s SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) change an average of 500-600 times a year. This makes it difficult for marketers to determine what works and what doesn’t when it comes to SEO.

In this article you will find:

  • How 3D viewers and AR (Augmented Reality) affect your SEO in comparison to 2D-based technologies
  • What is the impact of implementing a 3D viewer on your website compared to your competition
  • The challenges you should expect

How are 3D viewers integrated into a website?

To visualize 3D models within a website, the most common and user-friendly technology is called iFrame. An iFrame is a frame that displays an HTML page within another page.

By now, Google’s bots are smart enough to understand that what is inside the iFrame is not associated with the website itself and instead belongs to another website. In fact, they consider that the content belongs to the owner of the visualization and not to the person responsible for the website.

Here is a 3D viewer created with Visao‘s 2D-to-3D transformation technology platform.

3d model seo on website

Two ways 3D & AR technologies can help improve SERP rankings

First, it’s important to mention that since Google attributes the content of iFrames to the property of another website, there is theoretically no direct impact on search ranking.

But the presence of 3D and AR tools on your website can indirectly contribute to a SEO search engine optimization strategy in two important ways.

The objective of search engines is to give the best possible result to their wide range of users (visitors who make a search). A good search result is therefore one that technically allows the visitor to find what they are looking for quickly and efficiently.


270% increase in time spent on your site

3D views allow users to experience the product from any angle, zoom in for a closer look and see a wide range of detail.

In fact, on average, customers interact with a 3D model for 20 seconds, while 34% of them interact for more than 30 seconds. Furthermore, greater interactivity not only increases the time spent on the model, but also the time spent on the website by up to 270%.

3D models with a number of features that require more attention, such as annotations, animations, exploded views, are also elements that will make visitors spend more time interacting with it.

As an added bonus, the extra seconds spent on a page can significantly reduce or negate the bounce rate, which is the percentage of visitors who leave the site without going on to other pages.

From Google’s and other search engines’ point of view, a longer interaction time on a page means more useful and relevant content and, therefore, a better future ranking.


11 times higher purchase rate on your website

Customers are 11 times more likely to make a purchase when a product is demonstrated through an interactive 3D model or augmented reality tool than with 2D-based technologies.

An increase in the percentage of conversion to a purchase also leads to an increase in the number of page views.

Clearly, a visitor with a purchase intent is someone who will go through multiple pages of a website, either to learn more about the business or simply because the site offers a relevant funnel. To Google, a website with a high number of page views indicates that the content on the site is relevant to users and should be ranked higher.


Can the download time of a 3D viewer / 3D virtual tour have a negative impact on the Search Engine Optimization of a website?

3D viewers & 3D virtual tours do not negatively impact the SEO of a website, on the contrary. Since search engines consider the content of an iFrame as belonging to another website, on the surface, it will not have a direct impact on the SEO ranking. However, it is important to make sure that certain technical points are respected to guarantee an optimal result.

One aspect to watch is the weight of the iFrame, which can slow down the loading of the website. Indeed, a too high loading time can negatively affect the user experience, the technical SEO and consequently affect the overall SEO.

To avoid slowing down a website when an iFrame containing a 3D model is embedded, it is possible to add the loading=”lazy” attribute in the iFrame code.

Only when a visitor scrolls down the page where the iFrame is located will the iFrame load. The page will not be negatively affected by the loading of the 3D model since it will only load when a user arrives at the precise location of the model.

Furthermore, it is possible to optimize 3D models before importing them into the iFrame in order to provide a satisfactory customer experience. By applying these recommendations, in combination with other more general suggestions, such as those offered by MOZ, it is possible to ensure optimal SEO.

A website with a faster load time means a better user experience, higher conversion and therefore a higher ranking.

In summary, whenever possible, it is best to use a lighter 3D model (less loading power needed), which contains fewer textures, less animations and less information in general, and place a link that contains the full rich model.

How Google is adapting to the growing popularity of 3D modeling and AR

In early 2019, Google added a new feature that allows users to view and interact with 3D objects, such as animals and cultural heritage sites, directly from their mobile search engine.

3d viewer seo


But what does this mean for companies that have production of 3D viewers / 3D virtual tours on their website?

In their blog, Google representatives mentioned that they are currently working with companies such as New Balance, Samsung and Wayfair to include their 3D content directly in the search engine, as in the example below.

John Mueller, a web trends analyst at Google, talked about wanting to start displaying 2D-to-3D transformation technology  from non-partner companies on their SERPs. In fact, Google is currently working on a type of format so that its search software can identify 3D content on any website.

It’s clear that the web is moving towards 3D and AR and that companies that take advantage of these tools now will eventually see their SEO take a huge step forward.


What you need to remember

Experts agree that on a technical level, the production and use of 3D models in iFrame is neutral. However, the indirect impact of 2D-to-3D transformation technology is much more positive than negative on the overall SEO.

With these tools, you can improve your users’ experience, increase their visit time and achieve higher conversion and engagement rates.

As far as the download time of 3D viewers is concerned, today there exist several ways to reduce it in order to offer a more than satisfactory customer experience.

It would also be relevant to point out that these tools create a WOW effect on your customers and contribute to increasing your sales. There was once text, 2d-based technology and videos, now there are 3D models and augmented reality.

Where to start?

Visao provides a web-based 2D-to-3D transformation technology platform that allows manufacturers to use their CAD files to create interactive visualizations of their products for marketing, sales processes, trade shows, social media and production.  We also provide services to accompany you in the process of creating your 3D product viewer.

If you think your company could benefit from an embedded 3D viewer, don’t hesitate to contact Visao. Many different companies in the manufacturing industry trust us and our 3D specialists have years of experience in the field. In fact, our 3D specialists will take your basic CAD drawings and transform them into impressive 3D product viewers. Once we have created your 3D product visuals, we can help you integrate them on your website or in any marketing/sales materials.

Ready to create your own online 3D viewer? Request a live demonstration of Visao’s 3D and augmented reality solutions.