As we saw in our last blog post, the internet is moving quickly to personalize data for the end user with the shift toward semantic search. With any new feature, businesses want to position themselves to make good use of technology, and this is no different. Taking advantage of the semantic web for your business takes a lot of effort, but as our examples last time showed, that work pays off with big dividends at the end of the business day.
Businesses with little to no web presence can still show up in semantic search, but to really compete with other businesses in your industry, you need a strong web presence that is enhanced with optimization specifically geared toward semantic search. Things as simple as local listings and online reviews can boost your showing in semantic search – these things let Google know who you are, which helps them match you to an individual’s needs or wants.
A company’s reputation, trust, and authority are all crucial to performing well in the semantic web. Companies can build these things using something like Google Authorship, which is designed specifically to connect a person with their content, thereby helping establish reputation, trust, and authority. Companies should also focus on producing quality content that is interesting, helpful, and sharable with others. This type of content is valuable, because it allows others to see the expertise and knowledge that your company brings to the proverbial table. Content like this will get people to naturally interact with it, which will drive online traffic to your business, which also helps build your authority and reputation as a business.
With the semantic web now in play, social signals have never been more important to your business being found online. Since the semantic web is personalized, the way that people interact with your social sites (shares, comments, likes, etc) will then go on to potentially influence the type of semantic search results that their other social friends might receive. If my friends are commenting on a particular restaurant and I then go to search for a place to eat, there’s a good chance this restaurant will show up in my search, since my friends have established it as a place they also enjoy going to eat.
Getting Personal Again
Because of various forms of communication – web, email, cell phones – much of human communication has been de-personalized over the last 10+ years. Semantic search is bringing personalization back. With this crashing return of the personal, businesses now need to be a trusted face in the mass of other faces so that people will recognize and choose them time after time. The local business owner has a distinct advantage already, since his relationship with his customers is personal by nature. He can then carry over this relationship and simply be himself online, bringing reality into the semantic web. Small businesses also have an advantage right now, since they are typically more adaptable and can change more easily to embrace this new focus in their online marketing.
Tying it all together
There are real ways that companies can now position themselves to take advantage of all that the semantic web is now offering them and the people they serve – but this also requires a bit of change in tactics for many companies. Areas are of increasing importance that perhaps have not had much focus for many businesses lately – online reviews, Google Authorship, and a strong social presence – these things are now not only nice additions to SEO, but vital to semantic search success. Helpful, valuable, and sharable content will also continue to be important – so if content writing isn’t something your business can do well on its own, there are many professional content writers available who can help you take better advantage of the semantic web.