Google’s stronger competitors are not Wikia search or any of the human powered search engines, but the semantic search engines. Many authors are already supporting the idea that Powerset and hakia will shake Google’s empire in 2008. And I happen to believe that 2008 is the year of stunning changes in the search field. This means that SEO needs to change too.
The best SEO techniques that will still help a website rank within the semantic search results were almost always encouraged by professional white hat SEOs:
- Focus on the users first (write for the readers and not for the bots)
- Do not employ spamdexing techniques (keyword stuffing, invisible text, Google bowling etc)
- Provide accessible and usable web pages
Sites developed according to these principles have good chances of keeping their positions in the semantic search engines. To give a clear prognostic as to their efficiency is too soon. hakia still has some issues to work on and Powerset still tests its search algorithms behind closed doors – which is probably a smarter idea, considering the aggressiveness of the users when it comes to alpha startups.
What SEO techniques need to change?
Linking aggressiveness: gaining lots of links at one time will do no good to any website. The search engines will look at the “natural” evolution of a website. If the site is new and it gets too many links at once, it will happen as it happened in the past when Google penalized the guilty site by dropping it into a “sand box,” removing its PR or simply dropping it from the SERPs a few levels (depending on the gravity of the “mistake.”
Creating hundreds of pages of duplicate or close to duplicate content: the search engines will only index relevant, high quality pages. Everything else will be indexed too, but displayed to the public only if there are no better results.