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Semantic Web Is A Game 

When computers win crosswords instead of finishing 134th we will need to take a very different approach to #websitedesign  . I've often asked how teams I managed made over $30M online. Doing what Google told us to do is one answer.

Another is being 5 minutes ahead of ever other #Internetmarketer  . This post is theory and practice. I share ideas for how an #ecommerce  team can begin to adopt "video game" tactics now in preparation for Web 3.0. 

* Use HTML5 and CSS3 to create a small dynamic zone on your homepage.
* Create a “Read the cookie, fire the creative” business rule for the dynamic zone.
* Keep the dynamic zone out of Google (for now).
* Test the business rule with 3 to 5 keywords.
* Test the business rule with 3 to 5 traffic sources.
* Baseline heuristic and monetary measures with and without the zone.

Soon your design and #uxdesign  team will need to move from static boxes to highly dynamic persona and segment based WHAT, IF conditions. If returning customer X who we know is persona Y visits from Google on keyword z then present content creative ABC. 

Since variables can easily slouch toward infinity I shared tips on how to start small. I only got to dip my toe in this "read the cookie, fire the creative" water when I was a Director of Ecommerce, but it was intriguing and clearly sketches our not to distant future.

When I lead seminars about #Internetmarketing  I ask what those listening think is their most important "product". I hear things like our brand, our messaging or offers. 

WRONG :). 

The most important "product" any Internet marketing team creates is a team capable of developing winning Internet marketing. Internet marketing is not easy or for the faint of heart. We lucky few Internet marketers create sand castles on the beach. 

Inside of this post is the theory and practical tips that will move your Internet marketing five minutes ahead IF you have the courage to embrace the future a few seconds before its actual arrival. If your true product is a team capable of developing great Internet marketing then your mission is making sure you have the courage to do so despite the slings and arrows of the ill informed. 

Internet marketing is highly relative. We have reams of data and all of it can be dead WRONG. The more Internet marketing you create the more you realize 1. there is no BAD Internet marketing other than NOT doing something and 2. what you think is BAD today can become great tomorrow. 

Problem with such a highly relative environment is everyone has an opinion that may be equally "correct". Don't waste time on the wrong battles. Begin to move your Internet marketing toward a dynamic #semanticweb  now and you lose nothing and may just jump five minutes into the future. 

I have direct experience being five minutes ahead and five minutes behind. Trust me, ahead crushes the behind experience :). M 

Think +David Amerland may share thoughts on how a more relevant web helps his new value system, +Mark Traphagen may weigh in on why #GooglePlus  is arguably the most "dynamic" and so dangerous social web (to any established business vertical) and +Phil Buckley may have thoughts on #SEO  when Google can both index and UNDERSTAND :). 
Luis Galarza's profile photoPhil Buckley's profile photoMartin W. Smith's profile photoDavid Amerland's profile photo
+Martin W. Smith Interesting thoughts not least because just yesterday in relation to a post shared by +John Dietrich (it can be found here: that had been initially curated by +Luis Galarza and then independently given fresh life and greater value by its introduction into GDrive by +Michael Bennett I explained (in the comments) how this was the direct result of the "Trust Economy" +Mark Traphagen frequently mentions. 

In many ways these activities that had I tried to organize in the pre-semantic web, pre=G+ days would have taken a lot of effort and money, now just happened. We all gave a lot of our time and expertise into creating a valuable, learning resource because A. It drives our reputation (reputational gains in the semantic web) B. It adds to the G+ community (community activities in a connected world) C. It also makes us feel good. 

In many ways these were factors that turned the traditional value pyramid on its head and introduced the gift culture mentality that +Tim Rayner has frequently written about. 

+Michael Bennett rightly pointed out, as we discussed this, that what made it all possible was a combination of many small steps: blogger where some of the content was created, HOA technology than enabled me to have so many at such a little cost, GDrive where the post was hyper-curated and, of course, Google+ where the initial content was shared, we connected with each other and where the end result was also shared. Each of these is disruptive in its own right and catalytic in its effects. Taken together they become the online marketing equivalent of an "Arab Spring" they require a relatively low amount of effort to have a large, disruptive impact and cascading effects. 

So, to return to your post, the most disruptive element to web design in a semantic web is that as now act as individuals, connect and deliver value to each other we bypass websites as the most valuable resource on the web, indeed, we collaboratively produce far better content than any website can cost-effectively produce or contain and that is leading to a true paradigm shift that will have websites seeking to redefine their role in a web of people. 
Great conversation +Martin W. Smith  and I couldn't agree with +John Dietrich  any more about doing nothing is a death sentence.

Just last night at the +Raleigh SEO Meetup  someone asked, "how often should we be thinking about redesigning our website?". It's a super common question, but for some reason I finally came up with the proper answer last night... ALWAYS! Your site should be in constant flux running A/B tests. 

It got me thinking about every question that starts with "How often..." that relates to online marketing - the answer will always be "constantly". 

From an SEO perspective I used to think small businesses could spend an hour a week and keep up with what is generally going on in search, but I dropped that line of thinking about 18 months ago. If you have a business to run, you should concentrate on that. I work with 20 other SEO's and we have trouble keeping up with the rate of change coming out of Google/Bing/Yahoo/Baidu/Yandex/Blekko/DuckDuckGo and of course AOL.

I spend time engaged here on G+, in the Google Webmaster Forums, watching Matt Cutt's videos, John Mueller videos, Google Webmaster Hangouts reading all the usual blogs, attending conferences, teaching content marketing and I still feel like I'm only 1/2 prepared.

I honestly feel none of this is magic, or that the truth is only known by a small handful of people. Everyone knows, but the amount of effort required is breathtaking to scale the mountain. I know how to have a six-pack ab but I'll be damned if I have the energy to make it happen.?
Wow, great +John Dietrich +David Amerland and +Phil Buckley riffs. I agree with John and Phil especially the "ALWAYS" improve, always change idea since it feeds another major trend - #appification  of everything. 

At the same time I KNOW where the question comes from. Unless you stand right next to the fire it is hard to understand #Internetmarketing . IM feels contradictory and strange. 

Ironically "contradictory and strange" is precisely when a "newbie" is about to become a pro. When the tired and put upon ask "How Often" they really mean, "Please tell me I'm fine, that change will slow down and wait for me / us". 

Not so much as it turns out. 
+Martin W. Smith You started the thread :) Great food for more thinking and I can't help but feel that by degrees we are adging towards a new economy, regardless what the old one does. 
+John Dietrich yeah, within our environment in G+ it certainly has acquired that kind of value already. Within the wider world of the web, not quite just yet but ,,, but, step-by-step things are really changing. It is incredibly encouraging to see. 
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