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Three Announcements That Dispose Of Static SEO And Create A New Findability Optimization Game

December 7th, 2009

The Way Things Were Yesterday

In the land we’ve known, you could do static search engine optimization (SEO) of on-page elements on your web site or blog, consider strategy for offsite, tinker with it for a while, check the results, and have some confidence that the results you just saw reflected what your potential searchers would see 10 minutes later. Although people with personalization turned on may see different results, the issue of search consistency across users seems to not have been a strong focus for search engine optimization strategies to date.

Arrow race with new rulesThis Is Today

The world of yesterday is about to vaporize, due to the confluence of three Google announcements.

Personalized Search Without Login

First, the announcement that Google will present personalized search results even if you are not logged in to a Google account. This means that if you do not stay logged in to Google, your laptop search results will likely not match your desktop at work, and will likely not match your home computer, because their search history will all be different.

Now extend this to other people on the web. Their search history will likewise be different, and their work Google login may not match their personal login, if they log in at all.

All of a sudden the simplistic “one set of search results per search query” assumption is completely gone, even for users who are not logged in to a Google account.

Real-Time Search Results

Delivery of real-time search results changes the game in obvious and subtle ways. Real-time search results provision leads us even farther down the path of creating, and needing to create, time-sensitive SEO strategies.

Real-time search results for all leads to the possibility of “Just In Time SEO” (to use a phrase from the manufacturing industry). Just In Time SEO changes content in real-time in order to reposition search results dynamically, potentially just before some event or strategic initiative where you would want highly placed results.

Another side effect of real-time search results might be a drive the creation of more real-time search engine optimization monitoring services.

Will we see disruptive corporate marketing strategies that at the surface are similar to denial of service attacks? Perhaps a competitor would create a content strategy that would “lie in wait” for the hour before a major event and the dynamically disrupt the SEO positioning of your firm just in time to intercept your positioning for the event, and then disappear from view after the fact? How many other ways could dynamic repositioning be used, for good and worse?

Visual Search

Google also announced visual search, in particular on the Android phones, with the idea that you can take a picture of something, Google will analyze it and deliver search results. The “something” might be a store front, or text from a book, or other objects around you. While it is clear that this technology is at the very start of its development cycle, the implications are immense.

Do you now have to generate an SEO strategy for pages in books, or screen captures, or for your brick and mortar stores? Do you have to watch out for signage in your stores, or perhaps parts of your web site, that if captured by a camera might lead to search results pointing to your competitor’s products and services? Will we see print advertising with custom graphics designed to link to specific search results?

The area of visual search raises the concept of “Visual Search Engine Optimization”, leading us to choose graphics and video with an eye (pun only sort of not intended) to whether these images help or hinder visual search optimization.

The potential privacy and policy issues generated by extensions of this technology are extensive, not to mention some potentially wild changes to societal expectations. For instance, what if by pointing a cell camera at a person, and not even taking their picture, you could have their latest blog posts, public profile, Tweets, comments by others about them, all show up on your mobile – without even knowing their name a-priori? This would not be possible with the first release. However it is not a long stretch to mash up the current face-tagging technology with this sort of search to enable such a feature.

This will be interesting.

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