Just arrived back from a Web Guild meeting at Google in Mountain View. The topic was “SEO for Web 2.0.” If you have no idea what that means, let me explain. SEO is the acronym for Search Engine Optimization. It refers to the process of maximizing the search engine rankings of a Website for the selected keywords or keyphrases.
Before the panel presentation I had a very sketchy idea of what Web 2.0 means, so let me defer to the panel’s explanation. By the way, here was the line-up:
The moderator was supposed to be Markus Hoevener, chief visionary of Bloofusion, a cutting edge SEO company. I’m pretty sure I saw him there in the audience, but the moderator turned out to be a guy with a ponytail, and I didn’t write down his name. Sorry. He did a good job though.
Also on the panel were David Hahn, Director of advertising for LinkIn, a professional networking site, Joelle Gropper Kaufman, VP of Experience (nice title) for Engage, a dating site, and last, but number one on my list was Adam Lasnik, SEO Strategist (or Evangalist, according to him) for Google. Adam’s primary focus is Webmaster (that’s me) relations and building Google’s Webmaster tools (yay).
So ponytail-guy outlined Web 2.0 like this:
1. Never-ending user generated content.
3. Structural features, such as personlized experience through log-in.
So basically think about Myspace, blogs like this one, or better yet, Yelp for real world examples. Web 2.0 is basically what the web is evolving into through more interactive publishing. Joelle’s comment was that it is based on the role of the user in shaping their own experience.
Each of the new features of Web 2.0 come with drawbacks to SEO, providing the reason for the meeting in the first place.
1. Never-ending user generated content leads to less editorial control.
3. Content that requires login to view is also invisible to search engines.
1. Editorial guidance can be given by presenting a specific structure for user input, such as a template.
2. New technologies should be used wisely. If the search engine can’t see the content in AJAX modules, don’t put important content, especially navigation, in AJAX.
3. Provide a public version of private information hidden behind a login. Let the user decide what to make public.
A lot was said about the importance of viral growth for SEO in Web 2.0. Web 2.0 is about communities and cross-linking, rather than individually designed and manufactured pages. I think the key concept that I got out of the meeting was put forward by Adam Lasnik of Google when he said if you can’t come up with quality content, make your services compelling. Make them viral (my interpretation). He went on that Google engineers are working on putting that concept into their algorithm at this moment (I looked in the window as I was leaving and saw that it was true).