QR is short for Quick Response (they can be read quickly by a cell phone). They are used to take a piece of information from a transitory media and put it in to your cell phone. You may soon see QR Codes in a magazine advert, on a billboard, a web page or even on someone’s t-shirt. Once it is in your cell phone, it may give you details about that business (allowing users to search for nearby locations), or details about the person wearing the t-shirt, show you a URL which you can click to see a trailer for a movie, or it may give you a coupon which you can use in a local outlet.
The reason why they are more useful than a standard barcode is that they can store (and digitally present) much more data, including url links, geo coordinates, and text. The other key feature of QR Codes is that instead of requiring a chunky hand-held scanner to scan them, many modern cell phones can scan them. The full Wikipedia description is here.
How does the cell phone read the code? The cell phone needs a QR code reader. It takes literally less than 1 minute for someone with an iPhone or Android phone to find and install the reader.
How do you generate a code? You can easily generate a QR code using a tool like ours on your website to generate codes for you if you have a smart developer on hand. Our QR code generator creates a unique code for each page on your site. You can even take the image and have it printed on the back of your business cards to create Instant Contact Business Cards.
How can you use QR codes to benefit search marketing? One example is putting the image on the back of your business card. People can scan that image and quickly add your information to their smart phone even if they thrown your card away as soon as they're out of site. Another would be what we did for a client with multiple locations. They put our QR Code Generator images on bulletins. Someone may not have the time to read the full bulletin right away but when they scan the code and save the link they can use their smart phone to go back to it later without typing all the info into the phone.
If you've got a smart phone click the QR code link at the bottom of this page and scan it with your smart phone to see how it work.