In the ever-evolving landscape of the internet, businesses have long strived to secure visibility and attract users to their websites. Consequently, search engine optimisation (SEO) has remained pivotal for online success.
As the internet progressed from web1 to web2, the importance of SEO only intensified and diversified. However, the advent and proliferation of blockchain technology mark the beginning of a new era known as web3, which has significant implications for the future of SEO.
Defining Web3 and Its Distinctions from Web1 and Web2
Web1 represents the initial incarnation of the internet, often called the ‘read-only’ internet, as it primarily facilitated the passive content consumption created by a select group of developers.
Web2, on the other hand, ushered in the era of the ‘participative web,’ where users actively engaged in content generation through platforms like social media and content-sharing websites such as Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
With the rise of web2, SEO expanded to encompass diverse elements, including optimising for various browsers, devices, content management systems (CMS), and many content types. Where ‘participation’ is a determinant factor, community-based feedback, from forums to social media and even review websites, all factor into a customer’s decisions and, ultimately, a brand’s performance in web2.
However, Web3 introduces a paradigm shift by presenting a decentralised, transparent, and user-centric internet.
The Implications of Web3 on SEO: Familiar Aspects and Novel Considerations
Despite the nascent stage of web3, both familiar and unique aspects will shape SEO strategies in this new landscape.
Continuity in Web3 SEO:
Focusing on user-generated content: As decentralised identity and user-controlled data gain prominence, SEO professionals must increasingly emphasise user-generated content as a ranking signal. Encouraging strategies to stimulate user-generated content, such as reviews, social media posts, and other trusted user-generated content, will be crucial for decentralised search engines.
The greater importance of Community Engagement and Management: As Web 2 evolved and reached a mature stage under the guidance of users, the significance of brand-oriented communities grew exponentially, becoming a critical factor in ensuring success. The degree of audience engagement directly correlates with a company’s likelihood of achieving favourable outcomes. Search engines such as Google have recognised this trend, progressively assigning greater importance to customer relations and reviews when determining the positioning of websites.
In this context, we classify this form of engagement as passive. This is because community engagement primarily revolves around experiences with the company, which distinguishes it from the emerging Web3 paradigm. Leveraging blockchain technology, users actively engage with the brands they support and contribute to shaping the brand’s future. Consequently, companies must embrace a more extensive spectrum of engagement methods, encompassing online/virtual events, live Q&As, and a concerted effort to foster real-time communication with users.
Adaptation to new ranking factors: Given that decentralised search engines are likely to employ distinct ranking factors and optimisation techniques, SEO professionals must be prepared to adapt their strategies accordingly. Experimentation with novel optimisation techniques, such as blockchain-based link-building strategies and innovative methods for assessing search engine performance on decentralised platforms, will be essential.
Distinctive Features of Web3 SEO:
Decentralised search engines: With the proliferation of websites and applications on decentralised platforms, traditional search engines like Google may experience a decline in dominance. Decentralised search engines that leverage blockchain technology to index and rank content may gain popularity. This shift necessitates SEO professionals’ comprehension of new ranking factors and optimisation techniques specific to decentralised search engines.
Blockchain-based identity and Community Power: Web3 is founded upon decentralised identity, enabling users to control their data securely and share it across various applications. SEO may be impacted as user-generated content, such as reviews and social media posts, assume greater trustworthiness and value as search engine signals alongside brand-created content.
Cryptocurrency and SEO: The rise of cryptocurrencies and blockchain-based payment systems necessitates considering optimising for cryptocurrency-related keywords and phrases. SEO professionals may need to optimise for specific blockchain platforms, cryptocurrencies, and related terms like “crypto wallet” or “decentralised exchange.”
What’s more, where paid keywords stand shoulder-to-shoulder with organic keywords and SEO, Web3 presents an opportunity, not only to optimise for blockchain terminology, but to monetise them. With an emphasis on empowering users to monetise their data, companies in the space are already offering brands the chance to OWN specific keywords. Meaning, instead of paying for keyword positions, the future internet may see companies directly earning revenue for whenever their owned keywords are used within a decentralised search engine.
In conclusion, the advent of web3 ushers in a new era of the internet with profound implications for SEO. While some aspects of SEO remain familiar, such as user-generated content and adaptation to evolving ranking factors, there are unique considerations to navigate, including decentralised search engines, blockchain-based identity, and the integration of cryptocurrency-related optimisation. By recognising these dynamics and proactively adapting strategies, SEO professionals can position themselves for success in the web3 ecosystem.
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