Posted by: Marshall Sponder | July 17, 2008

Future of Search Engine Optimization – Google’s New Search Interface

I wrote about A Peak at Google’s new “Digg” like Search Interface on Webmetricsguru.com but I held back the most interesting part for here (because I own The Analytics Guru while I don’t own Webmetricsguru.com domain, Know More Media, does, and won’t sell it to me – I create the content for it, though, but personally, I do want to own it, someday, as well) – my predictions on the Future of SEO, given this new Search Interface from Google that is currently being developed.

Here’s the thing, once the new “Digg like” / “FriendFeed” like / “Twitter like”  Search Engine interface gets deployed (it’s not an “if”, but “when” and “where” it gets deployed – the current ranking systems are becoming more unsatisfactory each day, and I’ll explain why) Search Engine Optimization will have to radically change.

Before I go into my predictions for the Future of Search Engine Optimization – I have to state some caveats

  1. What Google developed 11 years ago was brilliant at the time, but no longer works that well and is constantly being “patched” every month or so, or else search results would be come so full of spam the results would become almost useless.
  2. Human beings – Searchers – have evolved over time and increasingly want more sophisticated search capabilities and have much more sophisticated questions than they did 11 years ago, when the Page-rank system was developed.  At the time Page-rank was introduced to the world, documents and search habits were unsophisticated enough that Page-rank worked very well to find the best information in the available, indexed, web pages – but that’s no longer the case, or even possible – given the growth of the Internet and the way people interact with it.
  3. The Introduction and Evolution of Social Networks and User Generated Content, in parallel with the penetration of Broadband and resulting Rich Media/Flash – along with the rise of Mobile 3G networks and power devices (like the 3G IPhone) have made people now want to use Search in ways that were much different, or even, possible, when Search Engines first became popular 11 or so years ago.

Here’s the Future of SEO – Future of Search Engine Optimization:

  • It will be as important to monitor “search comments” as it is to optimize the content – in fact, optimizing content will become “secondary” to reading the social media comments (the FriendFeed/Twitter part) and coming up with a set of actions to improve the comments.   In fact, the “comments” searchers leave about a search result will become more important than the content of the page, and the SEO person of the Future will need to “datamine” and “summarize” the comments.  Google will also try to evolve software to do some of this (ie: Sentiment Analysis) but it will be the voting of real, human, users, that will count the most.
  • SEO will focus more on anticipating what comments people are going to make and coming up with a plan to have content / site owners, create experiences that will be “commented” on more “positively” than they might otherwise – this will become, the new optimization.  I expect to see people specializing in this new skill within the next two years – but it will start really taking off once the new interfaces are fully rolled out.
  • New software will be written (largely super-seeding the current, very two-dimensional ranking software of today and yesterday) that will collect all the comments on search results for keyword phrases – along with the site information – these will be the new reports of the future.  In many ways, Keyword Research will become much more focused on extracting long tail information from the “commentary” via Social Media, than anything we have today.
  • In terms of using Google Search – the clear market leader, combining Search History, Web History and the SOCIAL GRAPH will result in personalized Search Results that will also highlight commentary by a searcher’s “friends” – but the “commentary” will also be able to be filtered by location (ie: searchers who made comments on search results in a DMA Code, and Searchers, who make comments and also fall within a certain age/sex group, or a PRIZM Geo-Demographic Cluster Group.
  • In many ways, the enhancements in Search will come from third party companies offering advanced data mining capabilities, such as a PRIZM Geo-Demographic overlay / segmentation of Search Results – and these packages will be used be Search and Web Analysts in the future – once they evolve.
  • Search Engines, themselves, will become backend processors and service providers – much as Yahoo’s “Boss” interface is beginning to hint at – I expect this will become more apparent within 3-5 years.  By 2012, most of these changes will have taken place – Search will be totally transformed from anything we have today – and that’s just in 4 years from now.

I think you can see where I’m going with this – what we call “SEO” today, or even “SEM” (which I haven’t dealt with at all here) won’t disappear, in fact, it’ll move up the food chain, along with Web Analytics – but none of these things will be called by the same names within the next 4-5 years.

What I’m doing now is called Web Analytics – what it will be called in 2012-2013 – will be something else – it will a lot different – things are moving faster and faster, and yet faster.

We do need to move up the food chain – and I wrote about it recently in – I think I just figured out where the Future of Marketing is going– both Web Analytics and Search Engine Optimization are moving closer to the creation of the content – the creation of the campaigns, the conception of it – actually.  And, the Web Analyst is moving up (what ever they end up calling us) to be  a partner – we’re going to end up getting a “seat at the Table”  – in fact, we might end up being the Table – as, more and more, marketing results need precise measurement – we need to show results – and people need to learn from those results.

So, we’re moving up, the faster, the better – but it will be an evolution – as these improvements in Search roll out along with improvements in what we call Web Analytics today, roll out – we’ll have move up – we’ll become too crucial to be down 5 levels – I’ve worked in places like that, so I know of what I speak.

.. and that’s the future I see – probably there’s more to write here – but I’ve written enough for one day – plus seeing into the probable future, at least I think it’s the future, takes a lot of energy – I need rest now.

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Responses

  1. Hi,

    I think you have some great ideas here but I do think you are a little wide of the mark on the importance of content, specifically this comment:

    In fact, the “comments” searchers leave about a search result will become more important than the content of the page,

    I can’t quite buy into that so maybe you need to expand on it a bit. If the content is what has spurred all the comments, then that is its overriding value relative to the comments. Now, they may work like reviews of a book in that they may influence whether or not I read the post. But in order to join the conversation and be able to express ideas of value or speak with some credibility , I think most people will need to read the content.

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