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Could the invisible hand of search engine technology change the Web?

Search technology is becoming more intelligent and more context-related to enable better digital experiences for Web users, says an expert.

As we look at trends in Web content management taking shape in 2014, the importance of search engine technology can't be underestimated.

Principles like search engine optimization (SEO) enable content to be more findable by search engines. Using SEO tactics  – such as injecting keywords and incorporating user-friendly and informative links into webpages -- companies can make their pages more findable in search; similarly, using metadata and taxonomies to categorize content makes that information more readily accessible through search on a company website. Many of these technologies work in the background, as an "invisible hand" of sorts, making content easier to find.

But companies are finding that search engine technology is becoming more intelligent and more context-related. So, for example, when you do a Web search, you may see content snippets come up in results that provide an answer to your query, eliminating the need to click away from the search results page to yet another webpage.

These principles are coalescing to improve the user experience and create a more semantically connected Web. These efforts are influenced by projects like the Schema.org initiative and the Semantic Web, said Geoff Bock, an industry analyst and principal at Bock & Co.

Bock said the principles of search are about "making our content findable by the search engines and making it more findable within a [website] we own and manage. They are related, but also a bit different."

"We'll see more semantic enrichment in our content -- that from a user experience will make content more understandable, more accessible, and there will be a richer stew of content objects that users can draw from," Bock said. "Content will be more smartly related and smartly interacted. So we'll have better user experiences."

Next Steps

Will Web experience management kill WCM software?

WCM software must give way to multichannel content management

Are DAM software's days numbered?

Web content analytics still a black box

This was last published in December 2014

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These days, search engines like Google or Bing are skewing search results not for best user experience, but for more ROI. People are looking for new search engine that would respect the privacy of individual, and at the same time provide unbiased results.
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Could...? Does. Has. As search engines have evolved and advanced to become the ubiquitous every-tool, they've fundamentally changed work, search and wisdom. OTOH, @Arandsft is absolutely right that their endless need for ever-greater ROI risks undoing all the good they've done.

When I search - when anyone searches - the least desired result, the world possible outcome, is advertisements and paid placements. Alas, the first results are invariably ads and bought space. This is one of those times when there oughta be a law.... 
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