So many of us keep referring to Web 2.0 and the vast online world of user generated content and social networking. We see a trend of people beginning to seek information from other peers in their online communities rather than simply running a Google search. If you have a community you trust, wouldn’t you want to get advice straight from the horses mouth? This type of user interaction among trusted community members offers a transparency and level of in depth opinion not offered by search engines.
As the world wide web develops and evolves, we are seeing a gradual transition from simple online platforms and services, to comprehensive user interaction. What’s next? User innovation? Absolutely!
To take a step back let’s look at how the web has evolved so we can see how this will effect global communication and commerce…and more specifically Internet marketing. Web 1.0 is essentially the Internet as we usually perceive it. Search engines evolved from simple directories to sophisticated tools used for finding “containers” of information. The term “containers” can be used when referencing any type of media including print and television. For example a container in the print world would be a publication and the objects inside the container are the articles and content. In the same way, web pages online are containers and their specific content consists of various objects. Web 1.0 refers to websites available for information and services like Amazon.com.
Then we evolved into a Web 2.0 realm where user generated content is no longer just mainstream but expected. Good examples include sites like YouTube.com or any e-commerce platform where users can rate products and services, blog, and post forum comments and questions. Consumers no longer have to translate the “message” of the seller but rather listen to their peers who have used the products or purchased the services. Social platforms are a product of Web 2.0 and are now a driving force behind just about everything. When sites like Facebook.com and YouTube.com are involved in global media and politics, then you know we have created a new revolution. And once you are deep into a new revolution, what do you do? That’s right, look to see what the next best thing is over the horizon.
Thus emerges discussions of Web 3.0. Simply put, Web 3.0 might be defined as the evolving web where users do not just contribute, but also innovate. Imagine free and available resources for creating new code and applications. One of the greatest parts about Web 3.0 is that is takes us back to the roots where some of the greatest technological minds can easily create and distribute their innovations. Its like the web will be an artist’s canvas with vast resource for creating anything…all you will need is a great idea. Of course there is much more to it that this, but we will leave it at that for now.
So what does this mean for the world of Internet marketing and search engine optimization? Will these “revolutionary” marketing concepts quickly become obsolete? We hope not! I do not think it is a matter of whether Internet marketing will become obsolete, but rather a question of how we adapt to the industry changes. We can already see search behavior changing just as search results are changing. Google algorithms change every quarter or so and now we are seeing personal and universal search making new strides. We are seeing more results for objects rather than containers as Google improves its universal search features providing pieces of individual content like YouTube.com video or PDFs in search results. These changes alone force search engine optimization companies and Internet marketing firms to make some shifts in strategy.
A truly comprehensive Internet marketing company will help their clients take inventory of all their digital assets and optimize them accordingly. If clients do not have any digital assets it will become one of the jobs of the service provider to help them develop these assets. As search improves and search engines increase levels of artificial intelligence, different users will start getting different results for the same search…this is actually already happening. It still all boils down to providing the best user experience and the most valuable and relevant content. If we are all doing this the best way we know how, we can’t lose. Keep mind that the definition of “valuable content” is always evolving and now includes much more than some fancy keyword rich content!