I’ve been reading up on the hype of semantic search lately. You can find some of that here, here, and here.
Lance Haun thinks the hype is a response to the negative reaction to Google’s “Search Plus Your World”. It could be. There are tons of people blogging and commenting, lamenting the new search as a form of censorship, clouding knowledge of the world based on your connections. For a few techy purists, it’s a valid point, however I think most people don’t even notice it. This tech/online marketing echo chamber sometimes seems like the real world.
As many people have already said, semantic search is not that new. Google already offers semantic search for certain questions. Geoff Duncan gives a great breakdown of the difference between semantic and literal search, however my view of semantic search is creating the ultimate know-it-all. I’m sure Doug Pokorny wouldn’t like to lose his spot to Google in Facebook.
Will Google be the next Know-It-All?If Google created a bot that could log into Facebook, and beat Doug Pokorny in trivia, then Google will have created “The Ultimate Know-It-All”.
Jon Mitchell at ReadWriteWeb expresses in his headline about Google’s semantics search that semantic search is “bad for SEO”, however many people take it (as I think it was intended) as a “THE SKY IS FALLING” moment for their livelihood. This could be the case for the armies of link builders in far-off lands that create nonsense blog posts with exact anchor text. For those internet marketers focused on SEO for our clients, semantic search isn’t a scary thing or bad thing, it is a challenge.
SEO is about constantly learning and adapting. Optimizing for semantic search shouldn’t be on your radar unless your income is based off of advertising that floats around information that Google will scrape and display as “semantic results”.
The difference of semantic search will have on the current SEO paradigm is that people researching information will not go to sites outside of Google until they’re ready to take specific action, such as purchase a product or service. Much of this has been done with Google+. Brands are posting information to their Google+ pages, and those pages are being found via search. If you go to the Google+ page, you are not leaving Google to go to the brand’s site. Google wants more and more of the interaction to happen in their playground, and reduce users leaving Google once they’ve completed a query.
With Google’s push into finance and banking with Google Wallet, the combination of semantic search, and Google+ identity layer, Google will capture more transactions and user activity without having users leave their site for a brand’s site, or for Paypal.
The question becomes, if the juggernaut of Google succeeds by improving the user experience with semantic search, Google Wallet and Google+, will commerce exist outside of Google? And will Google’s next move be to create their own currency?