The Future without Links
Wednesday, 07 May 2008
Let me take you forward to a 20 AG* (2018 AD) - a world without links governing search engine position.
"What do you mean? Links are always going to be part of the Web, its the fundamental framework!"
Calm yourself, young padowen. Of course hyper links will always be available to click on the web (and even off the web links) - I talk of the days Google do not factor in backlinks as the prime way of ranking websites.
The text link wars of 10AG
Google declared outright war on text link sellers and buyers. After initial compliance, everyone realised that Google can't manually demote sites fast enough to stop sites making millions from high profit keywords, which got top ranking from buying links.
The ever increasing worldwide web traffic means ranking for top keyphrases is more and more lucrative. Greyhat SEO descends into a text link guerrilla arms race - websites trying to buy up more text links than their competitors, with Google fighting against them all.
As quickly as Google demotes a site, other link sellers leap out of hiding offering links at prices kept high by Google keeping the supply of text link sellers low.
As the problem escalates, Google have two choices - hire half the planet as keyword monitors (feasible given their cash flow revenues from millions of Adsense websites) or factor out links altogether.
Larry and Sergey took the decision hard; after all it was how it all began back in 1 AG - but times have changed and with their current policy spiraling out of control, action needed to be taken.
The Great Chaos
And so, one fateful day in 11 AG, back links were turned off. SEO webizens rejoiced briefly as suddenly all Google back links were revealed, only to realise soon after they were only revealed as they were SEO useless - useful for traffic only (although still a worthy goal)
Big name websites suddenly plunged from rankings, particularly those in link networks and heavy buyers of text links.
Those who rose to the top were topical, relevant and less corporate - household names and community guru's of subjects (with the obligatory Made For Adsense sites peppering the results to keep the Google revenues flowing)
The New Dawn
Google unveiled their new systems - (hints were there in AG 10) - new pattern recognition had enabled searchable video, pictures and mentions within the social media sites - crowdsourcing had gone to an extra level with every mention of a website being used as a reference to how topical it would be to the keyphrases surrounding it. Offline mentions were factored in - traditional marketing regaining its significance on public exposure. With webcams appearing everywhere, now your poster campaign could influence your search rankings.
Advanced semantic search, and the web integrating more and more with the real world meant two people walking down the high street chatting about a new social networking site get recorded on the CCTV, streamed into the web and then counted as a vote for that site for its search page.
Social news sites control the news - the crowds decide what was important to the population now, not the news editors (which usually meant LOLKoalas/MyFacebark dominating headlines). Newspaper portals are courted even more, since a mention on their high traffic sites means many more mentions around the web as the article is syndicated.
So rest in peace links - welcome to the new era.
Some more prophetic Google sites:
Some more prophetic articles on the future of Google:
CNN gives 4 possible Google Futures
Google Earth morphs into some kind of SecondLife Ouch.
Look for yourself with Google Future Search