By now, you may be getting tired of hearing about how the social networking revolution and Web 2.0 practices will revolutionize the planet. What is more interesting to debate -- at least for Website strategists and marketers -- is how to morph your own Internet site from a final destination to a virtual syndication.
For years, the focus for Web thinkers has been purely on driving traffic, increasing page views, and keeping things on the site “sticky.” Coupled with an almost cult-like obsession with search-engine optimization, link exchanges, and analyzing statistics, one begins to see a blinkered focus on individual Website properties instead of on distributing information most effectively.
Well, imagine an Internet of no sites per se, of no partitions from one source to another. Imagine a Web comprising what we can call “big data.”
The Internet was not designed for segmentation and commercial control, but rather to be an endless data collective that delivers data simply and intelligently. It’s time for enterprises to realize the vision of the Internet forefathers -- namely, that delivering data flexibly is more important than page views.
So the movement out of Web 2.0 to whatever may come next will require all of us to shift from our natural practice of storing data online to empowering data -- everywhere you can. One important element in this shift, social networking, has hopefully taught us that it is completely acceptable to syndicate your content on someone else’s platform, a practice virtually unheard of in the previous World Wide Web administration.
It’s time to stop underestimating the power of gaining audience through third-party channels.
What we need to be looking at instead of bringing eyeballs to a specific location is how flexible our content and data are and how easily we can syndicate that data through smart delivery practices and even smarter devices. Are you ready for new level of thinking where delivery of data supersedes impressions to your master domain?
By some estimates, the current “invisible” Internet -- the volume of content existing behind various online barriers -- could be 500 times larger than the current reachable or “visible” Internet. Considering that Google has an estimated 8 billion pages ranked, that’s a big animal if someday all that data gets released.
The point is: Start to shift your current interest in traffic patterns and page views and take a step back. Look at your opportunities in content distribution outlets and audience points of contact. Through some basic listening programs, you can even track down where conversations and communities are engaged about areas of your service, product, or specialty. Rather than having to pay for any audience influx to your property, realize that it may make sense to start paying less by distributing your content outward to the audience that wants what you have -- even though someone else may have carried the content for you in the last mile.
So maybe Web 3.0 is a bit out of reach for us to ponder, with its promises of cognitive learning, semantic searching, and intelligent offerings. What is real today is that you need to dust off that database, start filling it with compelling content, and start finding every possible outlet for it in every format. By doing so, you will turn your old online truck stop into a trucking line that begins to deliver the goods wherever they are needed.
— Peter W. Bowman, Executive Vice President, Avericom