If you are reading this, chances are that you have no idea about what web3 is. It is not your fault because it is a concept being developed right now in a decentralized fashion. For the same reason, there are no experts related to it. Everyone involved is trying to figure out how the next iteration of the internet will be and (of course) how to profit from it.
Note: Old articles refers to the Semantic Web as Web 3.0. These are two very different concepts.
If you are interested, I list a series of useful links:
- Stephen Diehl: Web3 is bullshit
- Ross Stalker: Web3 is not decentralization
- Scott Galloway: Web3
- Moxie Marlinspike: My first impresions of Web3
- Yesterweb: No to Web3
What is Web 3?
In my definition, Web3 is Internet based on blockchain technologies. In Web3, many applications, websites, transactions, and data flows will happen on a blockchain instead of private data centers owned by private companies.
Web3 won't be a "switch on," but a transition. It is a process, and some people (myself included) believe that we are currently on this path from one place to another. Nobody knows where this will end. Many argued benefits or game-changer technologies will likely prove useless, and others could change our lives. Nobody knows.
Web 3 and SEO
If the internet itself is on its way to a profound change, we can assume that every aspect of the current web will be impacted somehow. How will people search for information, and how the search engines will work? Will be the SEO industry changed forever?
It's way too early to know what will happen. In my opinion (because of course I must have one), WEB3 should bring new players and behaviors/markets in search, basically because most of the web3 will be running over blockchain validations.
A fair warning
As I stated before, there are no experts; Therefore, I am not an expert on web3. Everything I wrote in this article is an educated guess at best or a random futurology rant at worst. This is pure speculation. An intellectual exercise.
An Open-Blockchain driven Search Engine
I imagine that, instead of having a black box of algorithms (what Google is today), the exact weight of each "SEO element" to answer a user's query could be part of a Blockchain-based algorithm. The community could vote and decide how their search engine should work to satisfy the needs of that specific group of people.
The main difference is that the people that use the Search Engine can decide how it works, how to manage it, how to monetize it and how to implement modifications (instead of trusting a company that makes changes without warning and with zero accountability).
Also, they could decide if they want to try to index the entire internet or just parts of it or completely disregard the links as a signal. Links as an authority signal could be replaced for other metrics based on the Blockchain (like having a specific NFT or token).
Smart contracts for SEO
Smart contracts work by following simple “if/when…then…” statements that are written into code on a blockchain. A network of computers executes the actions when predetermined conditions have been met and verified. These actions could include releasing funds to the appropriate parties, registering a vehicle, sending notifications, or issuing a ticket. The blockchain is then updated when the transaction is completed. That means the transaction cannot be changed, and only parties who have been granted permission can see the results.
I can see a future in which some scenarios are defined in one or several smart contracts built into Ethereum -or a similar blockchain- between a client and an SEO provider.
This could work this way: After connecting the contract to a third-party SEO tool (such as Ahrefs), the arrangements are automatically executed when some conditions are met.
"Send a payment of $1.5 ETH when Domain Authority is equal to 50"
"Each month send a payment of $0.3 BTC when <85% of selected keywords> are in position 10 or less"
I expect some big players (Like Serpstat o Ahrefs) to add features like this soon. Maybe a startup-like company will create the smart contract and connect it to the SEO tool's API to provide the validation and trigger payments.
Since it is very difficult to deliver specific results on SEO, this can create a framework that could benefit both providers and clients, creating milestones of progress.
Web3 is not decentralized (yet)
Today, most (if not all) computer power dedicated to sustaining blockchains is concentrated in a few private hands. It is not decentralized at all. Nothing related to web3 will significantly impact without re-distributing computing power to the final user.
In web3, I think that the model could shift to people running a section of the Blockchain not for profit, just to provide enough to validate their own transactions. Instead of being part of a "free" product (that forces you to seeing ads in return), I'd happily sacrifice a fraction of my personal devices' computing/storage power for not seeing ads or being tracked for advertising purposes.
So, in real?
SEO as we know it won't change until new players appear. I don't believe that Google will vanish as the king of search or that any new search engines will suddenly take over. Still, I see a good market to compete for it for some case uses.
I started writing this article believing the possible use cases for web3 for SEO would be unique and fabulous. I have to concede that most of what I have thought of are problems in SEO that can be solved without web3 (o don't have a solution whatsoever).
- SEO credential/certification validations for professionals.
- EAT (for real).
- Fake news/Fact-checking.
- Stolen/copied Content.
- Artificial Intelligence Generated/Spam Content.