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Semantic web is the future of keyword search

The semantic web is a trend for search engines to deliver more contextual search results by incorporated social web network data. But first, at this Northern Liberties event, there was talk of football.

The trend of keyword search built by link power losing influence to the semantic web built by relationships was warmed up with football talk. If the Eagles break an ugly 10-game home losing streak this Sunday against a division rival, you can go ahead and thank a man from Boise, Idaho.

Marshall Simmonds is in Philadelphia this weekend to attend his first Eagles game ever prompted by his speaking at an enterprise-level SEO event held Wednesday by online marketing firm SEER Interactive in its Northern Liberties ‘Search Church’ headquarters.

SEO consultant Simmonds became an Eagles fan as a child back in Idaho, watching Super Bowl 15 and cheering for the team and their uniforms (the Eagles lost to the underdog Raiders). If the Simmonds presentation was the most memorable of the four speakers — he took off a layer of Eagles-themed clothing with each of his presentation slides — his was more focused than than fellow presenter Matthew Brown, who focused on the biggest trend in search conversations: the semantic web.

The semantic web is a trend for search engines to deliver more contextual search results by incorporated social web network data.

That is, if you search for the same term as someone across the country, your results will be different for an ever increasing array of reasons: geography, past search history, the search history of your email contacts and Facebook friends — and if Google has anything to say about it, Google+ too. (Find related slides from Brown here)

“SEO is not a project. it can never be done,” said Brown, a Portland-based special projects lead with online search giant Moz. Though search consultants speak generally about search engine traffic, the clear focus is the dominant search leader and how it’s changes impact the entire industry. “Google thinks its transparent but its not.”

Now that there are more than 30 trillion unique URLs on the web, according to Simmonds’s presentation, there is an effort for Google to deliver better results when it crawls 20 billion sites a day and processes 100 billion searches. Google has already done 530 search improvements this year already to get it closer to “the future,” said Simmonds, and many of them involve the network effect.

This is the balance between the accuracy of the personalized web and the fear that we won’t have the same serendipity of being challenged with new ideas or finding new communities.

The event was headlined by SEER CEO Wil Reynolds, the charismatic national search thought leader who took his time to walk attendees through the challenge of justifying an online marketing budget at large companies: if you need help, he said “We can make internet marketing babies together.”

Two other notes worth sharing from Reynolds.

  • First, he’s made a purposeful attempt to bring outside SEO leaders to Philadelphia — both Simmonds, who had never been to Philadelphia before despite his Eagles affection and Brown, who has been here before but by way of Moz is a national leader.
  • Second, the event sold more than 160 tickets at $25 a pop to raise $4,100, which was donated to charities chosen by speaker.
Companies: SEER Interactive

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