Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Quick Thoughts on SEO

Note: tumblr publishing is down right now but normally I blog at

The goal, for many companies, for a long time has been hitting the #1 position on major search engines. A "science" called SEO was invented to game (both ethically and questionable aka white hat/black hat) the results. Things like Link-building, keyword set, and Meta tags are now buzz words.

I have a somewhat controversial thought about all of this...

SEO isn't as important today as it was a year ago and in a year from now it will matter less.

Google is trying to humanize search, that is what Google Buzz (#fail) and Google +1 are all about. The idea is that great content will be voted up and not so great content will be voted down. Variable data will be a major key to success in SEO going forward. In short content is more important now than now than a year ago, and relationships are even more important.

If your not with me, here is the kicker... Semantic Search. Semantic search is a complicated concept but basically it gives you content based on thematic cues. Semantic search can "read" the content of a site and come up with contextual results that cover several different modalities (youtube, flickr, blogs, websites, product pages, etc.).

I would venture to say within the next 3 years Google will be 80% semantic based. Meaning adding meta tags, building links wont matter as much. It is going to be all about content.

How does this effect community managers?

  • Content should be developed with strategic keywords in mind; this will help semantic rankings as search engines change
  • Relationships will effect your search engine rankings, no is the time to develop them and get your fans to vote.
  • Hitting page 1 of Google shouldn't be your goal... content that spreads should be. Over the long haul content that spreads will = Page 1 (possibly position 1 for Google)

Last point about search and leads...Every brand concerned about being #1 on Google should ask themselves, "what type of leads search is producing?"... Search is not always a good fit for business objectives...

What do you think?