AllFacebook.com recently announced that Facebook is declaring a war on Google and then backtracked a bit from that and basically settled on that Facebook is only preparing for a war on Google. In any case it would appear Facebook will be playing an increasingly important role in the search market, and possibly in the defining of the future of search.
Inspired by this, and particularly about the idea of "likes" replacing "links" I wrote a post on our technology site: The Future of Search: Likes Instead of Links, Humans Instead of Bots where I express my attitude towards SEO as we know it and hopes for what may be the future.. and I'm curious about your opinions on this topic.
In a nutshell I think the future is, or at least should be, about SEO becoming in a sense redundant so long as you're already focused on optimizing for your user's experience. It already is this way a lot more than it was in the early 2000s, and with a possible shift to "likes" instead of links it could be even more so. Basically, it's about impressing the humans, not the bots.
It's a question of placing editorial trust in a link, directory or social profile. The funny thing is that a social profile stream is looking more or less like a directory. Both directories and social profiles use links to give a site "editorial trust". A bookmark is a link. So, in my mind a profile is a Web 2.0 directory.
Back in 1994, Yahoo organized the web by placing a collection of links in a directory.
A few years later, spiders (the bots) crawled and indexed the web. Yahoo and Google partnered up and Google soon dominated.
Facebook is in a similar situation to Yahoo. Facebook has all kinds of traffic, but just like Yahoo, they don't have search.
This makes me wonder what this means for Microsoft Bing. Didn't Bing invest some money into Facebook?
I think FB traffic will never be so well targeted as Google traffic. I think the 'likes' is just a trend, people will get used to it and stop clicking on it.
It is like Digg - it can bring you a decent amount of traffic but it will never bring such a good traffic as Google.
Hellas (10 November, 2010)
Well, your website is made for getting traffic from FB(I'm refering to website in your sig). Can you tell me how is your traffic converting?
I'm actually not talking about amount of traffic, I'm talking about quality. Visitors from FB are usually visits websites because they are bored, but Google can really bring people who are ready to buy and that's the traffic I like.
Of course you can make money with FB traffic but you need to use different methods(CPA offers usually work well with FB traffic but you have to be inovative because one technique usually works only for a month and than FB bans it or users get used to it... ).
It is beauty of internet marketing -> I'm focusing on SE and you are focusing on FB and we are both happy.
Also, the "like" paradigm may be starting with Facebook since Open Graph is Facebook's endeavor, but I'm thinking about it in a broader sense. Facebook wont necessarily be the only way to get "likes" or the only database server for likes. This could hopefully evolve into a networked decentralized system where it wouldn't matter whether people "like" you from facebook, from your own site or from any other site. Wherever they click the button it gets recorded to a database server and synced with the rest of the interconnected servers storing likes.
Thinking about it like this reminds me of how domain names, email and other decentralized network services work.. I admit I'm letting my imagination run wild a bit with this, but it's still possible, especially if more people start pushing for things like open social networks (see Diaspora). It would deal a blow to the current centralized model where you have one company doing the searching, indexing and... spying.
Search and quality/popularity ranking of web sites would become an open standard.