Web 1.0 Sites in a Web 3.0 World

Lately, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the corporate Web site as it relates to how the web is evolving. Most company sites have hardly changed from their web 1.0 being. Some have added multi-media, incorporated blogs, and now encourage users to “Like”, “Follow” or “Share” something about them.

Otherwise, they have remained very much one-way, one domain, one home, all-encompassing monstrosities. The content is intended for investors, media, product owners, product prospects, potential employees, and in many cases today, those interested in a company’s corporate social responsibility efforts.

While these sites haven’t changed much, they have grown.

One key aspect of the next gen web is about managing, finding, and delivering the information any given user wants to find amidst the increasing amounts available. Critical to this is filtering information and delivering relevant results. In order to deliver the right results, search engines will be designed to understand the context of the user’s search.

So what happens to a predominantly web 1.0 corporate site in a web 3.0 world?

I don’t know. We aren’t quite there yet, but one thing I think should be considered is reorganizing our big corporate sites based on the user’s needs. What does the user want? Why are they visiting?

Take any product company site and you get a home page, with a products tab, and a drop down of the actual products or product groups. What if on the landing page you asked some questions and your site navigation, links and content adjusted accordingly? Or similarly, a site that was designed with these types of users in mind and directed them to the ‘correct’, customized section.

Consider the different needs of a user. Generally there is a current customer, prospect/candidate, investor, or person from the media. Each of these users will be searching for different types of information and yet the types of information could be focused on the same product.

Today, we make the user sort, filter, and find the information amongst all the information about the product for all users. What we should be thinking about is organizing our information around the type of user and then we could eliminate irrelevant content for a specific user type.

Eliminating content that isn’t necessary to a specific user reduces the choices and helps simplify the navigation, thereby increasing the opportunity to convert. It also makes it more clear to search engines who the page is intended to benefit. It isn’t a page about a product for everyone, it is a page about a product for a specific type of user.

It has become more specific which allows the search engine to provide a more relevant result.

What do you think? Should we reconsider how we structure our content in light of semantic search? Will a site focused on a specific type of user for a product as opposed to a product page generate the outcome I’m suggesting? Or is it too early to know?
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