How will blockchain impact SEO?


Digital marketing / Tuesday, February 25th, 2020

Blockchain, now that’s a word that has become quite popular. The sudden explosion of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin has brought a lot of attention to this technology. It is much more than just a buzz. It’s becoming more and more apparent that it has the power to change the way things are done in almost every industry and SEO is no exception.

This technology has a revolutionary and disruptive influence sending ripples across all industries including digital marketing and SEO. Some hail it as the greatest innovation since the introduction of the Internet in the 1990s. Still, skeptics are wary of even getting involved. But, and this is the background of this article, we want to focus on what this revolution, the blockchain, really is and how it might affect the already tumultuous world of SEO.

Blockchain, a revolution?

A complex technology

It’s a complex technology, but a blockchain is essentially an immutable, decentralized ledger. This means that instead of a single intermediary, a single company, being responsible for maintaining this ledger, each party has a page-like record. As transactions occur, the pages are updated simultaneously. If someone falsifies data on their page, the blockchain notices the deviation from the majority of records and cancels the bad data. Because it is almost impossible to change the data on all these pages, a blockchain is a very secure way to verify, move or exchange assets and data.

A real paradigm shift

You may be wondering what this has to do with SEO. Well, the key thing to note here is that blockchain can be programmed to record any type of data, not just cryptocurrency transactions.

As you probably know, search engines serve as intermediaries between websites and advertisers, as well as between both parties and Internet users. They take the profit share and guarantee predictable results. But, if we translate blockchain into the search engine domain, the intermediaries mediating the agreements become redundant. Technically, blockchain can verify that users are genuine and that clicks are “real.” This will likely result in greater transparency (which promotes trust) and less online fraud.

Small steps

Yet, as a result of the sudden and widespread adoption of blockchain, the Internet would collapse like a house of cards. In other words, the institution of the peer-to-peer network giving real power to consumers would mean the destruction of search engines as we know them. Clearly, such a scenario poses an obvious threat to Google’s display network revenue system. Some startups are already shaping this future like Presearch.io.

Instead of a dismantling of the current global powers, we are ready to see a gradual and selective implementation of blockchain principles. One of the priority areas is ad fraud, a problem that costs advertisers a lot of money. Digital giants like Microsoft are already working on blockchain-based identification systems.

But at what pace?

As more and more companies adopt blockchain, they face a challenge: integrating this technology with websites. This is both a technical issue and an incredible opportunity that web developers and SEOs must work on together.

Their efforts will revolve around solving blockchain’s incompatibility with various Content Management Systems (CMS) and website platforms. This investment of time and money should pay dividends for early adopters and propel them forward.

Conversely, those who are struggling to make the transition will need to partner with more experienced organizations to avoid being left behind. They will look to the best digital marketing agencies that waste no time capitalizing on rising trends and leading the race into the future of SEO. Along the way, companies will also be pushed to be more socially responsible and publicly accountable. One mechanism that could facilitate greater transparency is the use of blockchain to create digitized contracts that are easily accessible to the public (as we are beginning to see in commerce with Carrefour and Mousseline, for example).

This will present both technical issues and opportunities in which SEOs will need to work with developers to resolve compatibility issues with different content management systems and website platforms. In addition, the Schema community has already begun work on blockchain certificate markup and user ID profiles. Both of these are under development and have not yet been published on Schema.org.

Climbing the steep slopes of SEO

Linkbuilding and blockchain

Link building has long been an important part of SEO. That doesn’t mean that the same tactics used in the 1990s can work today. For example, it’s possible to see a ranking improvement from blog comment links, but these are looking more and more like spam and are weighted much lower than they used to be. Natural link building has long been the most effective strategy. Blockchain will make it easier for the major search engines to detect and penalize any website they catch buying paid links. Although discouraged today, enforcement of this practice is difficult and underutilized.

Verified Data

User interaction data is very important. It is useful to all marketing teams and necessary for web crawlers to rank your site. This data can be diluted by bot traffic. Implementing a blockchain solution allows verifying the traffic coming from real users. This makes the traffic more readable because it is separated from malware and bots. Thus, you will have better visibility and, probably, a better ranking.

Keyword research

It is difficult to determine exactly how a keyword will be used in different contexts. Results vary by device, location, user, etc. With a token incentive, keyword research could use the backend space across thousands of devices. This would create a deep aggregation of data-rich results to increase knowledge about the semantic universe of the target customer.

Trust, the keyword in blockchain

Trust comes from transparency

Here’s another indirect benefit from blockchains for SEO. Trust between advertisers and the companies they do business with is only part of the trust factor inherent in blockchain technology.

When consumers decide to do business with a company for the first time, they don’t always have a strong level of trust. They may read reviews online, but even these are not always authentic, resulting in a trust issue. When a company is transparent in all its actions and transactions through a blockchain, then it is easier to trust them.

Having a high level of trust involves customers talking about it in their communities. These recommendations then bring more traffic to the site. But it is not necessary to report wrongly.

Trust comes from legitimacy

Counterfeit products are widespread in Internet sales. And consumers are constantly falling victim to such transactions. Legitimate online merchants are constantly fighting this lack of trust. The “bad guys”, on the other hand, continue to act with impunity.

But the blockchain can change this. Its system of record, which cannot be altered, will allow customers to verify the origin of a product, its legitimacy, where it was purchased (store or auction), and the path from merchant to the buyer.

Search engines will eventually need to access records from the blockchain to determine the legitimacy of merchants. They may use this data as part of their indexing. This will be even more important as global e-commerce continues to grow. E-commerce websites will be set up and localized for countries around the world and consumers will demand that their searches provide reliable results.

Ultimately, the bad guys will be eliminated. They will not receive a prominent place in search engine results. In fact, the search engines will punish them severely, once they learn the facts that blockchain technology can provide. Only merchants who can demonstrate their legitimacy will be indexed and ranked highly.

*******

Blockchain technology is not going away. While it is not yet understood by many businesses and consumers, it is a secure and transparent method for businesses to build trust. Whether used by marketers for advertising campaigns or by consumers to determine the legitimacy of an online retailer, blockchain will impact SEO in new and significant ways.


While all of the impacts are still uncertain, it probably won’t be long before technology leaders start using blockchain as a way to secure and process interactions like they do transactions. The rules of SEO will thus, no doubt, greatly evolve. We can hope that blockchain rewards good SEO habits and practices, eradicate bad ones, to works towards creating a terrain where trust is the rule and security is assured.

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