Beyond Algorithms: Search and the Semantic Web

The Beyond Algorithms session at SXSW was filled with with an All Star cast.  Danny Sullivan, Editor for Search Engine Land and one of the most respected thought leader was a surprise addition to the panel.

The semantic web has been the most emerging topic in search engine optimization and the overall usability of search engines. The term semantic web has a lot of different meanings from different people.  My definition of semantic web is that it is a higher level, or more concise matching the search query to the user's intentions.<!--more-->

Danny Sullivan wasn't a big fan of the term "semantic web".  His argument was that the core functionality of search is semantic and that the term is not needed.  Search should be relevant and match the users intentions by default. He also brought up the point that since December,  Google has been personalizing the search results pages.

A passion point of the panelists was what do you want out of your search results?  Are you satisfied with the current results or would you like more detailed answers.  The use of API's to mashup (Yahoo! search monkey for example) can allow you to build some really cool pages on the fly. 

In summary, you will see improvements in semantic web, but it will take a while.  Faster innovations are coming up with display advertising serving up ads that are more relevant to users.