Last Wednesday I gave a presentation on Entity Search at SMX East. Here are the slides from that presentation, along with a video screen cast that I recorded to explain the deck. What do you think about my take on the coming Entity Search revolution? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
The second quote is from Matt Cutts at SXSW last year when he announced an algorithm update designed to catch overly aggressive SEO signals. Cutts said the focus for Google is on great content and great sites and making relevance better, and the way to do that is to take action against over optimization, which we all know has a lot to do with onsite keyword use and link-building practices. I gave an example of a rain coat business that overuses the keyword raincoat on its site, even in places that would be invisible to users but visible to search engine crawlers, and also has a bunch of people with high PageRank sites link back to its site with the term raincoat in the anchor text, in exchange for reciprocal links or perhaps money.
This probably sounds like a familiar SEO strategy. But you really can’t tell by those signals that this example rain coat business is the best site for the query raincoat. What if the business is in New Jersey and the searcher is in Hawaii and the business does not ship there? What if the business isn’t legit and its product(s) is/are low quality?
The link graph can’t help Google answer these questions. Because of that, the system is pretty easy to game. But the knowledge and social graphs can help Google answer those questions, improve search result relevance and level the playing field against overly aggressive SEO.
Next, I provide some statistics that show the number of people logged into Google increasing while the percent of searches with keyword data is decreasing. This means that more people are experiencing personalized search results and traditional SEO tactics aren’t as effective at cracking into that experience. However, though there’s less keyword data due to secure search there’s more social data and social levers to pull to get into personalized search results. It all rests on Google+.
I then explain how the knowledge and social graphs lead to the democratization of data, that is more data for marketers, developers and of course Google. The link graph was just about text and links between files, essentially matching patterns, the intertwined link, knowledge and social graphs are about the meaning of things, and the relationship between things on the Internet and in the real world, which has more marketing value than keyword data alone.
Finally, I provide the steps that webmasters need to take in order to appear in the knowledge and social graphs.
So what does all this mean for marketing? In my opinion, it means that SEO isn’t dead but it’s starting to look more like traditional marketing where having a fuller picture of searcher personae is key. There’s also a need for greater focus on the technologist side of things with semantic markup becoming so important in SEO. I predict that you’ll see many SEO departments integrating with social teams and more SEOs being pulled from the content, social media and development worlds for their capabilities in those respective spaces. It’s clear to me that the future of SEO and social are intertwined, and leveraging best practices from both disciplines is the way to success.