The Semantic Web Becomes Reality

Over the last few years search engines shifted from text matching to semantically relevant search results. Google’s Hummingbird release in particular was a push toward semantic search. The goal is to understand the intent of the search query. What is the user really looking for at this moment?

To make it easier to understand the meaning behind content, Google suggests using semantic markup. This produces rich snippets of content in a search result, e.g. people, places, reviews, business, events, etc. See the MicroData format at Google’s Webmaster site. Being able to see an image, ratings and reviews at a quick glance, without having to click through or read lengthy sentences, is a big improvement in user experience. It does not necessarily matter if the search rank is going up: as long as a rich content listing stands out from the rest of the SERPs, users are more likely to click through and convert.

Since semantic markup has become an important SEO strategy, it must also be important for SEM and Social. Dan Newman says the same in The Future of Marketing Is Semantic, Conversational and Social without going into details.

Bottom line: now that search engines have more semantic capabilities, our owned, paid, and earned channels have to follow the trend in order to stay competitive.

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Facebook Advertising for Small Local Businesses

Facebook’s Ted Zagat says ‘Clicks Don’t Matter’, see

“There is zero correlation between online clicks and offline ROI.” This is a rather strong opinion, especially since Google AdWords is rolling out features to estimate offline conversion as they correlate to online advertising.

Facebook advertising is a serious alternative to Google AdWords for highly personalized consumer and local targeting. Facebook advertising is also easy to use, in my opinion.

If clicks are not that important, then Facebook is set to become a very important player for building the online reputation of your local neighborhood stores while you’re checking on your friends’ status.

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