Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Search Engine Land + A Decade of SEO

There is no doubt that Search, specifically SEO, was my first love and entry to digital marketing. When I started my MBA thesis in 2006 the 1998 Tim Berners-Lee concept of the semantic web caused me to view it as a disrupter to replace to the Yellow Pages. I saw this as being accomplished by semantic programming language on websites aided by emerging mobile phone technology fascinated me.

What seemed like sci-fi marketing tech futurism at the time, is possible now. Through advancing in content tagging (rich snippets) and artificial intelligence, we're seeing a preview of of a different type of marketing. A smarter type of marketing.

Keith Hanks MBA Thesis (2007) Cover Providence College. Thesis titled, "Non-Traditional Marketing Impacting Multi Collaborative Networks"



Recently Search Engine Land featured an article, 8 ways SEO has changed in the past 10 years. It was a trip down memory lane and caused me to dust off the old thesis remembering an example, about how local search for pizza restaurants, would look in the future.

  1. The rise of content
  2. The death of link schemes
  3. The reshaping of local
  4. SERP overhauls
  5. The rise of the Knowledge Graph
  6. Mobile prioritization
  7. The soft death of keywords
  8. Update pacing and impact


#3, "Local Search" as a vocab term was not listed in the thesis, and would not become common terminology with marketers for several more years. This was just as much triggered by advances in algorithm sophistication, new taxonomy portals to document local listings online, and arguably by a decline in traditional Yellow Page industry revenue.

Source: Keith Hanks 2007 MBA Thesis (pg 58)

What's the next decade hold? In my opinion the innovation will have challenges duplicating the last decade. Instead of pure technology advances I predict we'll see growth focused around HOW the tech advances of today, or rather, the last few years, will be applied and democratized from big budget brands down to the SMB markets.

While that sounds exciting, there's a catch... sophistication. For upwards of two decades we've enjoyed the prospects of a high school student, and at times, a middle school student, being able to help a mom and pop business with digital technologies such as websites, and other marketing disciplines. While technical emersion will happen at a much younger age the idea of being able to 'read a few books and blogs, then create something' is going to have a much stiffer barrier.

Search is a much more mature industry today, and it appears to be shifting into two directions. The first is an integration with more traditional copyrighting and content disciplines. The second, is much more technical and programmatic. The later is white collar today, but very easily can become more vocational, the carpenters, plumbers, and electricians of our generation.

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