by Steven Bradley
http://www.vanseodesign.com | ABSTRACT
Thanks top Steven Bradley
In August Chris Andersen and Michael Wolf wrote an article for Wired Magazine under the title, The Web Is Dead. Long Live the Internet. The article talks about how the internet is moving away from the wide open web as viewed through a browser and toward a semi-closed web viewed through apps.
This paradigm shift has many implications that impact web designers as well as SEOs and I want to talk about this shift and what it means for those of us working online by looking at some of the other articles that have followed the Wired article and adding my thoughts to the mix.
Apps Are Here to Stay. Long Live Apps
I’m guessing many of you own a smart phone and possibly another mobile device capable of connecting to the internet. I own both an iPhone and an iPad and I have to agree that more and more I use an app instead of a browser to interact with content online.
Chris begins his portion of the Wired article describing a typical day in which you check email on an ipad or smart phone and move on to using Twitter and Facebook apps. Maybe you take in the NY Times and read through a list of feeds in two more apps. At the end of the day you unwind by playing games against friends on the Xbox Live or watch a movie over Netflix.
You’ve spent the day on the Internet — but not on the Web. And you are not alone.
More and more we’re using the Internet to to transport information, but less and less we’re using the browser to display and interact with that information.
Even on your computer you might choose an app over the web. For example I hardly every visit Twitter the website. Since the beginning I’ve used one of available desktop clients. Same for Facebook. Most of the content I absorb online comes in though my rss reader. This post will mostly be written in a couple of programs residing on my desktop only passing through the WordPress admin briefly as a last check before publishing.
Search engines can’t crawl apps. html isn’t the dominant language across apps. Many of the things you and I do as part of our jobs aren’t as prevalent inside apps as they are on the web itself. Surely this will affect us.
Chris points out how this shift was inevitable, citing past industries with similar change and pointing out that while most of us might intellectually appreciate openness we inevitably choose the path of least resistance. Apps are simply easier and often better than their website counterparts.
In Michael’s part of the article he also argues this shift is inevitable, but for a different reason. Business can make more money through apps than through the web. Most of us won’t pay to read the news on a website, yet many of us will happily shell out a few bucks to have the paper delivered to us via an app.
None of this is to say the web is going away and the browser will die an ugly death. Apps won’t kill the web any more than the web killed tv, tv killed radio, or radio killed print. We’ll be using our browser (another app) to visit web pages for quiet some time.
While I use more and more apps, I still inevitably find most through a web page in my browser. And as great as apps might be, there’s a limit to how many we can download and realistically use before their number overwhelms us. The web through a browser isn’t going away any time soon.
Still this shift is taking place and will only accelerate as more or us carry and use internet capable mobile devices like smart phones and tablets.
SEO is Dead. Long Live SEO…
Not long after the Wired article debuted, Barry Adams wrote about the potential death of seo for The Fire Horse Trail. Barry isn’t predicting seo’s demise so much as it’s change in the face of the move toward apps.
Again search engines can’t crawl apps and if that’s where content resides how will search engines crawl and index and rank content?
Websites still are and will be for some time the primary way we interact with content online. It’s not as though you’re going to wake up tomorrow in a world without them or a world without Google. 10 years from now we may not be using our browser as much as we do now, but we’ll likely still be using it.
As I mentioned above there are only so many apps you can realistic download and use. A browser can easily be the catchall app for all the apps we don’t inevitably download and use.
Even with the shift it doesn’t mean seo goes away. True the ’s’ and ‘e’ stand for search engine, but over the last few years seo has become a lot more than optimizing for search engines. Most SEOs are aware of how it fits in with marketing in general and I’d suggest many SEOs are more internet marketers who place a special focus on search engines.
Sure we’ll use apps, but how will we find them? Maybe we won’t be finding them all through a browser, but we’ll be searching for new apps somewhere. SEOs will likely adapt and help make apps more visible wherever we happen to search for them.
The specifics and technical details might change, but the basic skills will stay the same and will transfer.
SEO won’t die. It will evolve. It’s about helping your content be found through a search engine. Who’s to say that search engine has to be one we access in a browser. It could just as easily be one accessed through an app store.
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