- Semantic Web is changing the way web users search, and how digital markets can drive traffic.
- We look at the main areas of change, advising the skills upcoming SEOs need to learn.
- How is Search Real Estate effecting your Search traffic?
- Will Google+ lay waste to Facebook (finally)?
We are approaching the end of an era. SEO as we know it is nearing its end of days, with experts in the industry facing an ‘adapt or face extinction’ situation. The past decade has resembled a game of cat and mouse between Search Engines and some of the industry’s brightest, as ‘search engine optimisers’ aimed to manipulate search engine results to their own gain. This of course is human; with change (an emerging technology in this case) comes opportunity, and with that, the opportunistic. For the past decade SEO has resembled our generations ‘Gold Rush’, with thousands hungrily trying to learn the skills so sought after by big business. Whilst the gold is far from drying out the SEO community will once again need to move to pastures new should they wish to make home on green plains. Adapt or die.
The Semantic Web, or Web 3.0 as it is also known, marks Googles statement to the SEO community; it is no longer playing games. Plain and simple. Of course, it would have been very easy for Google to continue along its current route, releasing finely tuned updates to its existing algorithm to keep those ‘gaming’ the system guessing. Google have opted to take the ambitious path in overhauling how their search engine works by ‘educating’ it in ‘Semantic Context’, developing its algorithm to understand the relationship between what a user is searching for, and what they expect to find. By combining their semantic web with altered ‘Search Real Estate’ and ‘Ownership’ Google have effectively killed SEO as we know it. Thankfully, SEOs are a tenacious bunch who will undoubtedly find a way to improve the digital cash flows of those they work for. They will simply need to become even more skilled. To learn more about the Semantic web we highly recommend David Amerland‘s Google Semantic Search, for contact us in Manchester to learn more about digital marketing.
The future of SEO; Our Predictions
Whilst traditional SEO is becoming irrelevant, there are still fundamental aspects which will be essential for web optimisation on semantic search. The past decade has shown us the that best SEOs thrive in periods of change, and we anticipate many of the industry’s best being around for years to come. Here are our predictions for the future of SEO. You may also wish to read our top 9 Digital marketing predictions for 2015.
Onsite SEO will continue to be relevant. Google is clear on its desire to rank quality material, and SEO’s are experts in ensuring existing or future content is communicated with Google in an optimal way.
Channel diversification will become more crucial as Search real estate becomes more competitive, and internet users change their searching habits. An SEO will also have to become a Social marketing expert.
Creative content marketing will gain more prominence as brands look to combine their SEO with Brand marketing. Quality content will continue to be shared, building signals which indicate authority. Because of this SEO’s will need to improve their general creativity, PR and marketing knowledge.
Search Real Estate
Googles Search pages have already begun to evolve over the past 12 months. The introduction of PLA (Product Listing Ads) to Adwords, the integration of Google authorship, the increased prominence of Google Places, and the addition of Knowledge Graph have changed how web users find information. Previous assumptions that a website in position 1 should receive 50% of all search traffic for a term have long since proven inaccurate as browsers are offered more information before choosing which link will offer them their best source of information. Search Real Estate is becoming crowded. Page One is no longer a simple list of the top ten search results as defined by limited metrics. It is now a page created for the specific user based upon their location, search phrase, and known connections.
To truly future proof your websites traffic, digital marketers need to consider your websites client base. Ranking in position One is no longer enough as web conversion is no longer the simple X/YxZ (search volume/click through rate x conversions) equation. Todays marketer needs to understand (amongst many, many others);
How Local search can affect both digital traffic and real world foot fall.
How PLA optimisation can lead to greatly improved sales for increased PPC marketing.
How Rich Snippets can sway the decision of browsers into clicking their link over their competitors.
How the Knowledge Graph can be used to drive highly relevant traffic.
Search is still very much an important part of how your website will receive relevant traffic, but the ways visitors will be drawn from Search is diversifying, and only in understanding of the opportunities arising from Semantic Search can we expect to ensure longevity in our digital marketing strategy.
As Uncle Ben once said…
With great power comes great responsibility
Above all else, the message to take from this article is that companies can no longer rely on Search as their sole source of traffic, nor should they; even children’s tales teach us the dangers of placing our eggs in one proverbial basket.
Many digital marketers have begun diversifying their product portfolio, offering skills ranging from Content marketing through to Social. Of these areas it is Social which appears to offer the greatest potential benefit, particularly with the rise of Google own network, Google+. In fact, Google+ is predicted to be a major part of how the Semantic Web operates, tying all of Google’s products together with one very attractive ribbon.
Users logged in to Google+ whilst searching have already begun to see their search results effected by the circles they have added to their profile, as Google aims to rank information from sources it knows you already trust. Websites too have begun to benefit from increased CTR attributed to Google author integration.
With Google+ Google appears to be offering SEOs an Olive branch; the opportunity to become a part of its drive to make the web a better place, together. What we decide to do with it is up to us, but regardless the Search landscape is changing. Are you ready it?
Google+ is a masterstroke by the Search giant. For the past decade it has struggled to devise a method of creating responsibility and ownership to digital material; a method which would qualify the data it is aiming to constructively rank. By allowing website owners to confirm their owned content they create a web of users responsible for the work they create, rewarding them in the process.
The Facebook Conundrum
The post so far has painted Google as something of a saint, diligently working to provide the world with a search engine that serves us. Whilst this is true for the most part, we must also consider that Google are a business, and as such must be considered dangerous to some. You would image other major Search Engines to be the biggest threat to Google’s dominance, but an understanding of Google financial model suggests otherwise. Google are almost entirely funded by their ad network, Adwords. The PPC service contributes 98% of Google current income, so understandably the Search giant would be keen to protect this asset. The biggest rival to Adwords is now Facebook’s paid Ads, a service which promotes posts to the social networks 1bn strong user base. That Google still appears to be using Facebook’s social signal as a ranking metric in their algorithm is somewhat astonishing; they are motivating businesses to use the service in the aim of ranking better in Google’s SERPs. Many are predicting the importance of Social signals with Semantic Search, but are Google shooting themselves in the foot by using its biggest rivals signals as a ranking factor? In our opinion, Google must at some point stop using Facebook signals, and could even begin to weight their own G+ signals in favour. Doing so is a risky move though. It is known that a significant portion of Facebook’s user base is representative by ‘Fake’ accounts; accounts created purely for the synthesis of social signals. Weighting G+ signals would undoubtedly result in a surge of Google+ accounts created to manipulate signals, something Google would surely be keen to avoid. Whilst we cannot predict the future of Facebook we would be fascinated to hear what our reader have to say on this subject.Join us on this Google+ post to join the conversation.