Amsterdam, September 2019 – I had the pleasure to be a guest at Olivier Rikken’s highly interactive live webinar. Olivier is the #1 keynote speaker in Netherlands and Curaçao on blockchain and founder of Emerging Horizons. We’ve discussed how the internet is broken, and how timestamping content is the way which leads us toward a trustworthy internet.
Thinking 24/7 about Timestamping content with Blockchain, I came across an amazing webinar from Yoast Academy with Jason Barnard, Omar Reiss, Jono Alderson and Joost de Valk on Structured Data. The huge number of valuable insights in the webinar literally blew my mind and it made me think: “Will timestamping content impact your SEO results?”
To be found in Google, Structured Data is essential. It will make the web a better place for companies, search engines and, ultimately, it will result in better user experience for everyone.
Yoast does a great job in making the implementation of Structured Data as easy as using their WordPress SEO plugin. Also in their eyes, structured data is a great way to push the web forward.
In the webinar, issues regarding Trust and Structured data were introduced. From my point of view, combining Structured Data with timestamping content have the potential to solve the issues addressed, ultimately bringing SEO to a new level.
The problem of Structured Data & Trust
One of the questions that were asked: “Does the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress add Structured Data for reviews, already?”.
The given answer: “When we add a review schema, it will become too easy to abuse, which is something we think about a lot.”
Here are some thoughts:
Implementing Structured Data is very useful to help search engines interpret the information on your website. However, as long as it’s serving information from your website’s database, it’s easy to tamper with content (revisions, publication dates) and reviews. This hurts the trustworthiness of the web as a whole.
Although Google might be fast and decisive in penalizing fraud with for example reviews, we as a society should not solely rely on Google penalizing brands by filtering them from the search results.
How Timestamping Content with Blockchain Delivers more Trust
Via hashing, you can create a unique fingerprint out of content, called a timestamp. Adding this timestamp to a blockchain results in indisputable proof that content existed at a specific moment in time.
By anchoring critical information in the blockchain and thereby storing its fingerprint in a decentralized manner, you as a brand make your trustworthiness visible and verifiable for search engines and your readers/buyers.
Therefore, we’ve written a draft proposal for a Timestamp Standard. This is a first step in advocating for the blockchain timestamp to become part of the Schema.org standard, as the ability to prove integrity leads to a more trustworthy web.
Why Blockchain Timestamps should be in your Structured Data
We aim for blockchain timestamps to be part of Structured Data soon, as most importantly, a timestamped piece of content will be a higher quality search result than a non-timestamped piece of content.
Logical next steps for the adoption of blockchain timestamps in Structured Data:
Add hashes of content timestamps and its revisions to Structured Data (objects: WebPage, Article, and Product);
Add hashes of a timestamp review to Structured Data (object: Review);
Timestamped content is content which verifiably hasn’t been tampered with. Publishers can take accountability for it by connecting their identity to the blockchain account they timestamp with.
Does Timestamping your Content with Blockchain help your SEO?
The right question here is: does timestamping content improve the quality of a search result? And does that make it a potential ranking factor for Google?
It should be:
Firstly, if the full history of a piece of content is transparent, I as a reader have the guarantee that the content hasn’t been tampered with.
Secondly, if someone connects their identity to the content, that form of accountability puts reputation in the game.
Thirdly, it makes us less reliant on Google. After all, every search engine will have access to the verifiable truth timestamps bring! It democratizes the superpower and access to truth that only Google has at the moment.
Structured Data as a ranking factor is what the panel in the Structured Data webinar agreed on.
The arguments above make me confident that adding Content Timestamps via blockchain to the mix will improve SEO tremendously.
So, let’s push the web forward with timestamps and Structured Data, together!
At WordCamp Europe 2019, I was invited to share my thoughts on WordPress, blockchain and a 100% open-source future. Giving a keynote on this topic for 2.500 open-source enthusiasts was amazing.
In my opinion, open-source technology is the only way to build an inclusive and free society. Or, as Drupal founder Dries Buytaert states: “I believe Open Source to be the only way to build a pro-privacy, anti-monopoly, open web”.
Keynote From WordPress to Blockchain, The future is 100% open source
What if businesses, planet earth, and the galaxy operated with the friendliness and openness of the WordPress community? We conquered the CMS market, why not take over everything else?
In this 30-minute talk and Q&A, I take you on a journey to a 100% open-source world:
These questions have been asked during the Q&A. The bold numbers refer to the time in the video where the question is being asked and answered:
28:27“What happens if somebody steals your content?”
29:14“Is there a way to prevent people from stealing?”
30:03“What is your take on decentralized WordPress hosting?”“With WordPress and blockchain, we might be able to build and host uncrackable websites, soon!” – @delans on decentralized WordPress hosting
31:14“Which blockchain do you use and why?”
32:24“How can I as a developer get started with blockchain development?”
33:05“What is the environmental impact of the blockchain WordProof uses?”
33:58“How could a Decentralized Autonomous Corporation start? What is the WordProof business model?”
34:53“Is it possible to automate timestamping?”
36:17“What part of the content is part of the timestamp?”
I used a quote by Matt Mullenweg on the ecosystem: “For every dollar that Automattic makes, twenty or twenty-one dollars are made by the other companies in the WordPress ecosystem”. That quote is from this interview (full transcript);
The day of the keynote, marked a special day for me and the WordProof team, as it was our initial product launch: WordProof Timestamp v1.0.
WordPress & blockchain makes WordProof
Since the start of 2019, I work full-time on WordProof; a tool to timestamp your content within a blockchain. This helps you to prove authenticity, proof existence and thereby protecting your valuable content.
The day before my presentation, Matt Mullenweg (founder of WordPress) said on WordProof: “It’s the coolest thing on WordPress and blockchain I’ve seen so far”.
Being an entrepreneur, working full-time in the open-source space for more than 12 years, I see a lot of parallels between WordPress and blockchain.
I actually see WordPress as a prove that blockchain can work. With blockchain technology, we can bring the principles of transparency, openness, and collaboration to the world of finance, and doing business as a whole.
With timestamping your content, you can prove that you didn’t tamper with it, and you can prove at any moment in time, that you published that piece of content, a proof of existence, which is a great start to protect your valuable content.
In this article, I explain to you exactly how to timestamp your content in a blockchain.
Timestamp Your Content Manually with WordProof Timestamp, in a Open Source way:
Install WordProof Timestamp
From your WordPress Dashboard, you’re able to install and activate the WordProof Timestamp plugin.
Create a Blockchain Account
Create an account on a blockchain. This can be on the EOS, Telos or Ethereum blockchain.
Install a Blockchain Wallet
Timestamping your content is a blockchain interaction. With a blockchain wallet, you’re able to interact with the blockchain.
Timestamp your first Post, Page or Product
On every Post, Page or Product in the admin, there’s now a button to timestamp your content with in the blockchain.
A video explaining the manually timestamping of your content in the blockchain is available now:
Automatically Timestamping Your Content
The makers of the WordProof Timestamp plugin, with which you can manually timestamp your content, also offer a way to timestamp your content automatically, without the hassle of working with a blockchain wallet.
Here’s how to onboard yourself in minutes:
Get a WordProof Timestamp key, which you can simply paste in the WordPress plugin. After a simple configuration, all new content and content edits will be stamped automatically.
Automatically placing your first 10 timestamps is free of charge. After that, plans for automatically timestamping your content are available from as little as $8 a month.