Yahoo’s announcement that they intend to introduce a different method of search, such that Yahoo will pull microformatted data out of a page and deliver it on Yahoo’s results instead of passing the searcher through to the target page should send a shiver through the minds of SEO experts and content producers alike. Let me explain it again: imagine search results that don’t encourage users to land on your website, but instead, they’ll get served at the search results page. Sweating yet?
From a user’s perspective, this is much more useful in certain situations. In the Blogspotting article, Stephen Baker uses the example of someone looking for restaurant info. Instead of getting links to all kinds of varying pages where the info is housed, you’ll get a simple, easy-to-read, useful collection of data that should help you get what you need.
From a content producer’s perspective, this requires you to make a lot of changes to your perception of what matters, and especially if you believe the value of your content is the site that houses it.
Advertising on the Page Pales
If someone’s seeking how-to videos on playing cello and you’ve got a cello podcast relying on a wrap around of Google Adsense for bandwidth and beer money, that video might now have “legs” to land on a search results page sans advertising. In all cases where you’ve built ads and affiliate programs all over your site, a search like the one Yahoo’s Prabhakar Raghavan is envisioning might leave your ads in the dust.
Good Content Will Be Found
On the other hand, if it benefits you or your organization to get your content out to more places, then as Mzinga’s Aaron Strout pointed out to me, this is a case where excellent content will suddenly have MORE visibility, and you’ll be heard by more folks. If you look at it another way, asking users/searchers to jump through hoops to connect with what they’re searching for doesn’t sound all that appealing, does it? You can watch a video pretty much anywhere. You can read anywhere. Content was built to be let loose, even if this means changing the business model a bit.
Producing great content and this new way of searching go hand in hand, but it also means that you have to consider tweaking your content for this new world. Include ways for people to get back to your main site, including links, directly IN the content you’re creating. For text, consider adding links back to your main site in each post. For audio, make sure to read out your URL at the end (maybe near the beginning, too) of every post. Ditto with video.
Get a Jump on the Competition
If you look at this as an opportunity, you can see all kinds of ways that having quality microcontent, using appropriate microformats would be a great way to deliver portable value that might catapult you ahead of other previous search efforts.
And, for the average user, it’s worth considering how you might interact in this new space, and think ahead on how you present YOUR brand in a world where semantic data might change the search game in a big way. ( Read more from Nova Spivak from Twine on how users should see this announcement).
So what do you think? Is your data ready? Are you?
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