Blockchain is increasingly becoming an acceptable idea in some corners of technology. Of course, it has its supporters and naysayers; the spectacular rise and fall of the cryptocurrency market have served to bring blockchain more into the public eye.
But it’s important to remember that when it comes to blockchain, buying and selling digital coins is only jumping-off point: at its core, this is a revolutionary, disruptive technology idea that potentially touches all industry sectors, including SEO.
Understanding the Influence
Admittedly, blockchain so far has mostly been discussed as a platform for the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Essentially, it enables cryptocurrency’s main selling feature, which is the ability to conduct transactions without any sort of middleman.
But what is blockchain, exactly? In simple terms, it’s a digital ledger: “blocks” of information are moved across a network and confirmed before funds (or credits) are actually re-assigned from one party to another.
The system is hard to corrupt because it is transparent and easily shared with the public; it could be compared to Google spreadsheet that can be seen by all but not altered by all. The big difference here is the lack of a Google or other centralized authority entity. Google ultimately controls Google Docs; no one party can control blockchain
Until recently, blockchain was almost synonymous with cryptocurrency transactions. The fact of the matter is, however, that blockchain can be programmed to record data of any type. And that can impact all types of digital marketing, as well as SEO techniques.
Blockchain as an SEO Overseer
Search engines started out as programs that scoured resources worldwide for requested information. They still do that, of course, but in order to monetize the system, search engines also began being programmed to act as the go-between for websites and advertisers…as well as being their two-way link to internet users.
The search engine companies guarantee predictable outcomes, for which they take a cut of the profits…and in doing so, produce profits for their shareholders. Introduce a blockchain-based search system into this scenario, however, and suddenly and having any kind of intermediary becomes redundant.
From a technological perspective, blockchain has the potential to verify that any user is legitimate, and that all revenue-generating clicks are valid. This would turn the entire process transparent, which makes fraud exponentially more difficult while making it easier for advertisers to trust things like affiliate marketing.
Turning Theory into Functionality
Of course, at this point, blockchain search engines are not unlike driverless cars: so far, they are mostly theory. We’ve seen a few driverless vehicles perform admirably in tests, but we’re a long way from seeing that technology becomes mainstream.
It’s possible—perhaps even probable—but switching the entire internet search system to blockchain-based model isn’t going to happen quickly. We’re not going to see a coup; rather, we’re now setting the stage for a selective, step-by-step implementation of blockchain principles. At the same time, it’s safe to say we can expect companies like Google to fight hard against adaption until they find a way to make money from blockchain models themselves.
The Effect on SEO
Currently, it’s next to impossible to accurately and convincingly assess the true position of any given search term. There are too many variables influencing it–and not just manipulators, although they certainly play a role: things like location and device type have an impact, as well.
By allowing cross-verification, however, blockchain is capable of tracking average keyword position against multiple various factors. It would grant us the ability to snag results from a myriad of different nodes in almost real time.
Applying blockchain technology could potentially revolutionize the way data is analyzed and processed by providing faster and more accurate access to data. And that’s just a start: there is an entire slate of other issues that could likely be solved via blockchain. We may end up finding answers to questions we don’t even know enough to ask yet.
The Revolution Is Coming
Blockchain could radically alter the entire SEO landscape, creating an infrastructure where middlemen are obsolete. We’re not likely to eradicate fraud, but blockchain could make it much harder to commit: there would be fewer nooks and crannies in the system where fraudsters could hide their activity. Decentralized management means everything would be recorded and verified.
Of course, that leads right into the massive privacy concerns revolving around blockchain. But that’s a story for another post.