The Future of Search (and, Why Google Bugs the Sh#t Out Of Me)
Let me start by first professing my love for Google.
I love pretty much everything those guys and gals do in the Googleplex. My Android phone gets more attention from me than my wife does. And a few too many drinks at South By Southwest and I have no doubt I'd wake up with Google's logo tattooed across my back.
Google Search sucks.
Google revolutionized "search". I get it. Well, that was back in 1998. Check your calendar--it's time for another revolution.
My beef with Google
Google has come a long way in just over a decade--but they are not delivering the highest quality, most relevant search results like they could be. There are still too many irrelevant and spammy pages at the top of search rankings. Why? Because these publishers, along with Google, are in bed together making money off one another. It's quite the symbiotic relationship.
Google still puts too much emphasis on backlinks and the heavy use of keywords. This makes it easy for black-hat SEO masters to game the Google system. Just ask JC Penny.
It annoys the hell out of me because it puts small time publishers and businesses like myself at a significant disadvantage.
I try my best to provide knowledgable insights and provide the best advice I possibly can for you guys week in and week out on this site. You would think Google would appreciate that and reward this site with a spot near the top of the search rankings based on relevancy.
But that's not how it works. The only way I've been able to get to the top of search results for certain keyword phrases is by writing keyword-stuffed posts that sound ridiculous when read by actual human beings.
So I've given up on traditional search engine optimization. I don't care anymore.
Because I think something a whole lot bigger is coming.
Getting social will change everything
It's time to get social, folks. It's time to start creating compelling and meaningful content that tells a story about who you are and what your company stands for.
Sound scary? Too bad.
This is how you will be found in the future.
With Bing taking an ever larger slice of the search pie from Google, this fight for market share will only improve our search results. Both companies will force each other to get better at what they do--that is, delivering the most relevant results possible for folks like you and I.
That's what competition does.
Of course, Facebook will also have a huge role to play in this search game. As will more and more of the startup companies that are focusing on real-time search.
This competition to serve up the most relevant search results is going to revolutionize how we find information online. Actually, it will be more like the information finds us.
Awesome for us consumers, right?
But what about for small businesses like yours and mine?
I think a revolution in search will open up the floodgates to new customers who never knew we existed. Call me optimistic.
The future of online search will be as much about "who" is doing the searching as it is about "what" that person is searching for.
When you conduct a search, "who you are" will factor heavily into the results you receive. Your results won't be based on keywords alone (the "what" you are searching for).
"Who you are" will be determined by the online profiles you create, your social graph (the groups and people you are connected to), your browsing history, your purchasing history, the content you've created, and the links you've shared.
All of these things add up to tell a very accurate story about who you are. In the future that story will aid in your search efforts.
Let me give you an example to illustrate this. Let's say a landscape contractor is trying to figure out how to set up a Facebook Page for her business. She might conduct a Google search using the keyword phrase "how to set up a facebook page" which will return thousands of results. She will surely find some generic results to assist her. What she won't find is anything that I've written on the subject.
In the future when she conducts a search for that same keyword phrase, she will find something I've written on the subject. Why? Because it will be more relevant to her, specifically, based on who she is.
Who is she exactly? Her LinkedIn profile says she's a landscape contractor. She has bought numerous landscape related books from Amazon. She participates on a message board for landscape professionals. She's connected with hundreds of her landscape industry peers on Facebook and Twitter. This is her online story.
Of course she's going to find me.
She is who I create content for.
Search engines in the future will recognize this. They will simply play match maker.
This will be the ultimate win-win. This is how it should be. This is how search will be!