The Database of Intentions AKA Who We Are Online

2012 was a special year for SEO and social media – they got married!

Well, perhaps that isn’t strictly true, but they are shacked up together and getting along pretty well. In an ever evolving online landscape, the link between SEO and social media has never been so close.

In the Beginning, There was Search…

Search has been around for a long time in some shape or form, but never before has it been so easy to look for what you need when you need it and on the device you need it. Whatever we want and whatever we think of can usually be called up in a few taps of the keyboard or given more recent developments, a few swipes of the screen.

Search was all well and good, but SEO made simple search better and allowed marketers to trust SEO agencies with very important aspects of their business – their visibility and online reputation. SEO combined with social media is a whole different ball game and helps marketers to determine current trends and how best to read and also encourage search behaviour.

Introducing the Database of Intentions

The ‘Database of Intentions’ is a term coined by John Batelle, a well-respected SEO consultant in the US. On his popular blog he posted this description:

The Database of Intentions is simply this: The aggregate results of every search ever entered, every result list ever tendered, and every path taken as a result.

So in layman’s terms, what does that mean? Well, John Batelle thinks more and more companies should leverage ‘The Database of Intentions’ to better target customers and give business a higher return on their investment into SEO and social media.

Database of Intentions

As can be seen in the diagram above, search has evolved into social search giving a richer and fuller picture of the audience and more specifically customers. This works great for companies, but what about consumers. Can they still find what they need easily?

Google Gets Busy

One of Google’s top priorities is to enrich the user experience so that Google users get what they need first time. That means fighting the good fight against “black hat” SEO techniques and those trying to game the system. You’ve probably heard about the release of various Google updates (notably Panda and Penguin) that aim to penalise websites using bad or spun content and also using link and content farming techniques. Google is also pioneering the use of its own social media network, Google+. Right now, Google is saying they are unable to take advantage of the search data that could be gleaned from Facebook and Twitter right now, but some of their engineers say otherwise! We expect Google may buckle at some point and recognise that Google+ may not take off as quickly as first hoped.

In summary, search is changing (has changed) and with that brings greater insight into what your audience is doing and what they intend to do in the future. By tapping into the perfect partnership of SEO and social media you could target your customers and chart their habits so much easier.

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