There are only a handful of people on the Internet that I really pay attention to. Aaron Wall is one of those people.
He’s a legend. When it comes to search optimization and marketing, A-Wall might just be the Michael Jordan of SEO. He’s pretty much in a class by himself, and just like Drudge drives the news cycle, I don’t think it’s an understatement to say that Aaron Wall is the leading edge of the SEO industry, setting precedents, methods and standards that the rest of us will use for years to come.
In addition to his legendary status, Aaron Wall also hosts some of the industry’s best free online seo tools and just recently he opened himself up to virtual apprenticeship (who wouldn’t want to study with the master!) through his online training class. If you haven’t visited SEOBook…let’s just say you should. Just like every Wii owner MUST own Mario Galaxy and Smash Brothers, every Internet Professional MUST follow Aaron Wall.
So enough of the gushing;-) This past week I asked Aaron Wall a question that has been pressing on my mind for the last few months. He took the time to give a very insightful and thorough response. The moral of the story for the average blogger stays the same: create quality editorial content that differentiates and “thickens” your site and you’ll most likely survive any major changes to search that occur in the future.
Will the semantic web change search? Yes. Will it have much effect on the average blogger or small time webmaster? Probably not, IMHO. Will it have much effect on larger website? Yes.
The thing about semantic search is that if it is widely adopted, it keeps pushing more value away from end publishers and toward the central information aggregators. This, in turn, kills thin listing styled businesses by sending all of their value to the search engines. Just look at how Google local recently expanded to show 10 local results above the organic search results for local search queries. That expansion occurred AFTER traditional yellow page companies like RHD and IAR lost over 90% of their market value (by stock price) in the last year. So if you are running a thin listing type website make sure you thicken it up with unique editorial content and/or user reviews.
Google mobile recently quietly launched a mobile directory service ( http://www.google.com/m/lcb ). If you are a local business you can try your best to make sure that it is categorized properly in these databases.
Shopping related search queries are about 10% of all search queries. Where I see semantic search eventually heading is some of the larger merchants will plug their inventory into Google and tell Google to sell it at x price and to target ads which guarantee y % profit margin. That is perhaps 5 years down the road though.
So if semantic search keeps driving value to search engines which types of sites will withstand the gravity of such a move? Likely sites that are destinations themselves, which have great editorial content that people subscribe to, and thought leadership positions over important keywords.
Semantic search is all about tags and language. If you know your market well you can profit from the mutation of language and growth of new words. Give trends a meaningful idea worth spreading and when the ideas spread the value of your market position goes up. In addition you can register associated domain names to further cement your position as having some form of ownership over certain keywords.
Some independent entrepreneurs will create vertical search engines based on semantic web information. Most of them will fail, but perhaps a couple of them will win enough marketshare to get bought out by Google or another large web company. The ones that do gain enough marketshare to get bought out will likely have an embeddable feature that many other webmasters use to embed the content into their sites.