How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Semantic SEO
Hummingbird SEO and You
My brain wildly leaps among tech topics and connects some pretty disparate concepts, I wholly cop to this. Some of the more recent things I’ve been thinking a lot about are the changes to Google search and the long, loooooong term implications of this.
The Hummingbird Basics
OK, so Hummingbird is a change to Google’s algorithm. The algorithm is a mathematical formula that takes into account a bunch of factors telling it what to show you when you search for something.
In my head, Google said, “Hey. We really should try to make this more natural and give people the ability to search hands-free with spoken stuff.”
So, to get the most relevant results instead of typing in “pizza columbus ohio” you say to your phone, “where’s the best place to get pizza in Columbus, Ohio?” It’s a lot like Siri, really.
Here’s Where I Start Connecting Strange Dots
Making the finding of information hands-free a lot easier through your phone further cements an already very strong attachment to that sucker. Admit it, if your phone dies or gets lost you feel absolutely naked anymore.
I busted an old iPhone all to heck but was holding out to get a new one until Apple put NFC chips in there. (HAHAHAHA! I know, right?) I was leaning toward not holding out longer when my phone started to really, physically come apart at the seams. A friend of mine asked me if my duct taped phone was “some sort of hipster thing.”
When I couldn’t run the app for ExactTarget’s Connections conference, I knew it was for sure time to say goodbye.
The truth is, I anthropomorphized the crap outta that phone and had to admit to myself that I would miss it.
I don’t think it’s uncommon at all for us to emotionally invest in all sorts of inanimate objects. Did you have a blankie? How about a favorite stuffed animal? I sure did. Robin, or Spit Kitty as she was known by many, is STILL with me today after having her since I was a wee baby. This little donkey belongs to my friend Matt. Pretty cute, huh?
Not too long ago, I cleaned my daughter’s room and hadn’t realized she’d moved my beloved lion cub. There were real tears of panic when I momentarily couldn’t find that adorable fuzzy face.
Monkeys and Mommies
I’m extrapolating from Harry Harlow that we humans like (even love) stuff that responds. Harlow’s the guy who (rather cruelly) took baby monkeys from their moms and gave them inanimate objects. One was a wireframe figure and one was a soft stuffed animal-like figure. Monkeys bonded with both their not-mommies, but by far preferred the soft not-mommy. I’m thinking here the response of giving softness could be construed as an interaction where the wireframe was a big, fat nothing.
It’s hard to form a relationship with your knucklebone, amiright? It’s sitting there under your skin, hanging out, working, but – meh. Setting aside the religious objections to chipping us, and the subsequent logistics of having to pepper our environments with readers and displays that spit out data and junk, I think we’re leaning more and more toward interacting with the world through our phones.
I’m not real bullish on the wearables trend because the give-and-take including tactile stuff just isn’t there on the scale of our phones. You could have a watch or Google Glass that pulls up responses for you with the voice-activated search, but it’s just not the same experience as holding an object in your hand. Wearables are the wireframe not-mommies.
It’s not just me thinking wearables aren’t all that. It’s looking like they aren’t doing so well. According to the Guardian, a full one-third of those who get them aren’t keeping them.
Facetime – But Not What You Think
You might argue that if you put the smartphone functions into a realistic tiny human-like robot with a face, it would potentially bond you further with it. It maybe could carry a roll-up screen that would be able to display things a wearable might not be able to.
Don’t want a tiny robot in my pocket, thanks. That would be far too weird and you’d start running into uncanny valley issues if you got way too good at it being human-like.
It could be our phones may begin to resemble creatures of a sort. Not human-like creatures, but something kind of cute with a haptic interface. A haptic interface isn’t the flat glass screen that you’re used to, it’s bumpy and provides tactile feedback when you touch it. You could pet your phone! Good girl! Thank you for finding that pizza joint for me.
Our phones will become not fake human, but fake sentient. Kinda like how semantic SEO fakes conversational question and answer.
It could be one day, they might even become sentient little creatures that our children will cherish like I cherish Spit Kitty?