SEO in the Age of the Semantic Web by David Amerland
SEO in the age of the semantic web
AN INTRODUCTION TO ENTITIES
AS SEO PROFESSIONALS WE THOUGHT WE KNEW
HOW THE WEB WORKS …
We look beneath the fabric of the web and see the
code that runs it … the connections that form it.
SEO IN THE PAST HAS ALWAYS BEEN ABOUT
• Search returned statistically probable answers to keyword-laden search queries.
• To succeed in search, we needed to ‘load’ the dice. And we had a variety of techniques in our
arsenal on how to do that exactly:
• Keywords, links, anchor text, on-page techniques, inbound links …
• If something did not work we needed to increase quantity, volume, intensity. It was always a
case of having to dial things up.
BUT IN A SEMANTIC WEB STATISTICS FADE AWAY
The traditional “ten links in search”
Are changing, becoming:
Populated by people with
SEARCH ITSELF IS CHANGING:
• Predictive (Google Now)
• Functional (Google Maps)
• Infontational (YouTube)
Information is growing at an exponential rate and search is changing with it
Volume ● Velocity ● Variety ●Veracity all Big Data components play a key role
AND ENTITIES ARE THE NEW DRIVER:
Entities are generated relational mapping that uncovers the association between different data points.
This is RADICAL. Entities become trusted points around which other data revolves.
ENTITIES ARE PRODUCED IN A VARIETY OF WAYS:
• Imported from trusted sources (Wikipedia, Freebase, Metaweb)
• Extracted from web pages
• Data mining in the social web
• Sentiment mining
ENTITIES ARE A CHALLENGE TO SEO BECAUSE:
• They provide answers at the search box rather than suggestions
OPTIMIZATION APPEARS TO BE REDUCED TO
ANSWERING A SEARCH QUERY
• But let’s look at it again:
THE ‘ENTITY’ THAT IS THE ANSWER TO THE
SEARCH QUERY “WHO IS THE PRESIDENT OF
THE UNITED STATES” PRODUCED:
• An answer
• A biography with associated links
• Recent posts with links
• Associated entities, complete with links
A ‘one’ answer result generated a much wider, related field of data than it might have been
ENTITIES: THE CHALLENGE & THE OPPORTUNITY
• For SEOs the challengers are as steep as the question is simple:
• Changing search interface (screenless computers and keyless devices)
• Less reliance on keywords
• Deprecation of existing, on-page SEO techniques
• Loss of real estate space in SERPs
• Reduced reliance on statistical association in results
• How do you take advantage of Entities to make up for it all?
REVERSE ENGINEER ENTITY AS A DRIVER:
• If that’s the end result how can it be reduced further into manageable steps?
• What actions can be taken at the content-creation interface that will produce these
outcomes, and how can this be ensured?