SEO What?

At bloomfield knoble, we recognize that Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing are important aspects to creating successful integrated campaigns.  It’s just that the entire concept of keyword searching is so 2010.

Over a decade ago, Tim Berners-Lee suggested the idea of a semantic Web – the idea that information should be stored in a machine-readable format – and thanks to Google, Twitter and Facebook, it may finally be coming true.  A semantic Web would allow computers to handle information in ways we would find more useful, because they would be processing the concepts within documents rather than just the documents themselves.  Imagine bookmarking a story about the Kansas City Chiefs – my computer stores the URL, but it has no way of knowing whether the content relates to a schedule of games (at least 10 of which they will lose) or a blog where I commiserate with other season-ticket holders about how much they are likely to suck this season.

If, however, each Website were to be tagged with information about its content, we can ask the Web questions and expect sensible answers.  Google’s acquisition of Metaweb in July, 2010, may be the start of a semantic Web.  Metaweb owns Freebase, which is an open-source database that accumulates its knowledge almost as if a person were doing it – making links between pieces of information in a way that makes sense to them.  Freebase entries, culled from sources such as Wikipedia, are tagged so that computers can understand what each is about and link them together.  Freebase lists, for example, that one entry for “Chicago” is about a city and another describes the hit musical.  Entries are also linked to other relevant entries, such as other towns or shows.  Freebase’s tags and links will help Google develop smarter searches.  For example, you may be able to request, “actors over 40 who have won at least one Oscar,” wrote Jack Menzel, Google’s director of product management in a recent post.

Jim Giles writes that Google isn’t alone.  Twitter and Facebook are both adopting semantic elements.  Facebook’s changes to its Open Graph protocol allows developers whose sites are devoted to specific topics, such as a restaurant, to add tags and a “like” button to their site.  The tags tell Facebook’s servers what the page is about – perhaps including the restaurant location – and when one of its users clicks the button, a link is established between that site and their Facebook profile.  The moves by Facebook and Twitter could change the very nature of how we interact with the Web.  Software writers will be able to build applications that search for bars and restaurants your Facebook friends have enjoyed, or movies and books our Twitter contacts say were over-hyped.  Facebook’s involvement should help overcome one of the biggest hurdles faced by the semantic Web – persuading Website owners to tag their content.

While users may find that the semantic Web can help them get to grips with some complex questions, its main attraction may be for advertisers.  Advertisers may seize on the capabilities promised by tools to probe consumer tastes in specific regions.  Facebook’s semantic tags will also appeal to advertisers, who can use them to explore the connections between users and interests.

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