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Semantic Web:  Closer Now Than Ever

Semantic Web. For those of you who don’t know what a semantic web is, here is a common language description: smart Internet. Moreover, it is an Internet that tailors itself around the user. We’ve seen it creeping into Google with location-based relevant search returns, and in Google’s Knowledge Graph. And last Friday, Fuel’s Ashlee Carson mentioned the new Facebook Search Graph. This makes a leap forward to how our searches will be rendered back to us. Intuitive searching will make the web more navigable, but how will it change SEO, PPC, and social media marketing? 

First, a look at what the semantic web really is.  It is an Internet that can understand meaning for the user so that they can get to the page that they are truly needing.  From SEO Skeptic A simple understanding of our searches based on what we’ve previously searched, location, purchase history, and social media interactions gives the search algorithm the ability to give you the most relevant results.  Take "Cricket," for instance.  An entomologist would see information regarding the insects in the Family Gryllidae, Prince William will most likely see the sport, and curious children will see a Disney classic that represents that nagging voice that always tells me I should not lie. 

Soon searches will integrate your social media inputs, purchasing history, browsing/search history (I already regret searching for the new Furby), and so much more.  It will give you the most relevant information without needing a Boolean search. This is a big change in how the world will interact with all search engines and the Internet in general.

Marketers should rejoice, though, and not be afraid of the integration. The search engines are qualifying your audience for you. While Cost Per Impressions (CPIs) will probably increase, the click through rate will also increase and higher conversions are more likely. 

So what should SEO folks do? SEO should concentrate on quality content (call me a natural Sherlock for uncovering that one). Structuring your data so that it can be highlighted by the search engines is also equally important. 

And Wil Reynolds, founder of Seer Interactive, talked about data structures and its use in the Google Data Highlighter in his first post of the new year, and its use in how engines do what they do. 

For those of you in social media marketing, the changes will also be important. The new Facebook Graph Search will also play a key role in shaping searches. The semantic web using the information that you and your friends have provided will tailor your results more deliberately, leading to less sifting through results. Creating relevant and engaging posts on your brand’s social media outlets will allow those interactions to have more of an effect on the internal search results that are produced. Bing powers the web results for Facebook, so the click-through rate on posts may be a factor in their internal search as it is with Bing’s algorithm. 

Many interactive agencies are drooling over the possibilities of a semantic web, we at Fuel Interactive especially. It is a big part of how searches will be interpreted in the future. By providing clients with quality information, marketers can help them achieve real and profitable results. The semantic web will evolve and we could just be seeing the big first steps changing into a big evolution.   

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