Slate: SEO, Superbowl

Slate has an awesome article up about the way that search engines are changing the way SEO works -- eliminating some of the more horrible SEO practices entirely:

In a follow-up to last year's post, Petchesky today observes that the Super Bowl SEO-trawling is looking a little sad this year. "It might be a lost art," he suggests. Either that, or it has been so well co-opted by the NFL itself that everyone has given up.

Petchesky may be right that "SEO-whoring," as he calls it, is on the wane. But he's got the wrong culprit. After all, it isn't actually the NFL.com page that shows up first when you search "What time is the Super Bowl" (or "What time is the Superbowl," etc.) on Google. It's [...] not a link to anyone's website. It's Google's own "quick answer" to your search query. These answers predate, but are related to, the company's rapidly expanding "Knowledge Graph," a vast internal "semantic network" that links natural-language queries to facts about the world, culled from an array of sources that includes Wikipedia and the CIA World Factbook. The basic idea: Why force users to sift through a bunch of links to external sites when they just want a straight answer to a simple question?