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Most would say I’m asking a ridiculous question. Hear me out, either I am loosing my marbles or I may be on to something.
Recent changes in Google's algorithms (Hummingbird) revolve around semantics and conversational search. Google has quickly become more than just a search engine. We now are being provided answers and rich content on the search page. This provides a much quicker, seamless tool for people looking for answers. We need to seriously consider this change and adapt. Will websites be obsolete? Let me explain...
I commute an hour everyday to different cities across eastern Ontario. This time of year, in Canada, Mother Nature can bring some nasty weather (freezing rain, blizzards, etc). I like to know what I might be getting myself into the night before. So before I hit the sac, I research the weather. In this case it was "Belleville Weather". Usually, my next step is to click the link to the weather network and check out the forecast for tomorrow. This time my results were different. Google gave me the answer, right on page one! No need to go to a website! No need to click. All I did was ask… THANKS GOOGLE! Jeez you’re helpful these days….but wait!
1. The big blue arrow is the information I was looking for. Right on the search page! Powered by a website but obviously presented by Google!
2. The red box that I highlighted for you is the site I would usually click on.
What does this mean? Things are changing, once again. For me it's a wake up call, proving how important quality content generation is to our business. Not only do we need to provide valuable content that is helpful to the searcher, we need to structure it around conversational search and have it marked up properly (semantics) to meet the requirements of Google's algorithm changes. Will websites disappear? Nah... Not right away...however, the way we structure them will be VERY different if you ask me.
I truly believe we need to stop thinking so much about how we can manipulate our SEO efforts so the algorithm favors our content. We should start thinking how we can provide valuable answers to our customer’s questions. Google will take care of the rest.