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Personalised Search: Historical & Geographical Factors


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A look at the “new normal” of search personalisation continues, examining how both Google and Bing use search history and geographical location factors as a way to customise the results that searchers see. Learn how making a good impression may help make a lasting impression in both search engines.

Performed by Phillip Ohren, Senior SEO at Mindshare Australia for SMX Melbourne 2012

Published in: Technology, News & Politics

Personalised Search: Historical & Geographical Factors

  1. 1. Personalised Search Part 2:Location & Historical FactorsOnline Marketer MelbournePhillip Ohren@PhillOhren
  2. 2. Quick Question?
  3. 3. A survey of 2,253 US adults age 18+on Search Engine use was performedby in February 2012. Source: Pew Search Engine Use 2012 2,253 adults age 18 and over3 OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  4. 4. 65% thought… It’s BAD for historical data to be used to rank your future search results, because it may limit information returned. 29% thought… It’s GOOD for historical data to be used it to rank your future search results, because it gives you results that are more relevant to you. 4Photo: RobEllisPhotography & Mindaugasdanys (Flickr)
  5. 5. 73% say they would… NOT BE OKAY with searches being tracked to personalize their search results because they feel it is an invasion of privacy. 23% say they would… BE OKAY with searches being tracked to personalise future results, even if they are gathering information about you. 5Photo: lantzilla & eskimo_jo (Flickr)
  6. 6. 68% say…I’m NOT OKAY with targeted advertising because I don’tlike having my online behaviour tracked and analysed28% say… I’m OKAY with targeted advertising because it means Isee advertisements and get information about things I’m reallyinterested in.66% of search engine users say search engines are a fair andunbiased source of information55% of search engine users say that, in their experience, the qualityof search results is getting better over time, while just 4% say it hasgotten worse. Source: Pew Search Engine Use 2012 2,253 adults age 18 and over6 OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  7. 7. The survey summary was…1. Search engines remain popular,2. Users are more satisfied than ever with the quality of search results,3. But many are anxious about the collection of personal information and concerned about the accuracy of information. Source: Pew Search Engine Use 2012 2,253 adults age 18 and over7 OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  8. 8. Look, I get it....Some things are quitePersonal….Our shared work-Google accounthas some strange (yet thankfullyexplicable) search queries . 8 OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  9. 9. Evolution of Personalised SearchBing & Google.
  10. 10. The intial search mission statement…Google Googles mission is to organize the worlds information and make it universally accessible and useful.10 OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  11. 11. Then one day search engines thought…11 OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  12. 12. The birth of the personal mission.Google & Bing To organise the worlds data and deliver more relevant results tailored towards each individuals preference or location. Reducing search time & improving SERP quality.12 OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  13. 13. The First Public Encounter…Evolution of Personalised Search 2005 Google: First Announced Personalised Search 2007 • For logged in users only (~20%) 2008 • Using historical query data 2009 • & Google Bookmark / Personal HomePage Content data 2012 • Raised initial privacy concerns 2012 • Provided an opt-out option Source: OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  14. 14. SERPs changed… Different results started to appear.Google The same query. 1 user logged-in, the other not. 2 slightly different results.14 OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  15. 15. SEO’s….. This could be big. We need to start broadening our appraoch15 OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  16. 16. Version 2: Becomes “default” – G Ramps up PSE.Evolution of Personalised Search 2005 Google: More data, meant better results. New users automatically get signed up for 2007 • Search History • Personalised Search 2008 • Personalised Homepage 2009 • Uses IP address data (for better location based) personalistion. 2011 • First smart-phone devices released. 2012 • Universal Search is released. • Test: Searching without a query Next… Source: OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  17. 17. More signals, meant morediverse SERPs.Google & Bing With more data, Google was able to make a better assumption around what users wanted. Sites which were popular began to see improved visibility. Source: search-1043017 OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  18. 18. SEO’s….. Just being #1 isn’t enough anymore. How do we get new websites into the conscious minds of users / search engines?18 OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  19. 19. Experiment: User controlled personalisationEvolution of Personalised Search 2005 Google: Promote & demote 2007 buttons • For logged-in users 2008 • Lasted <6 months 2009 2011 Users could set their own PSE preferences. 2012 Next… Source: OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  20. 20. 2009, A huge year for personalizationEvolution of Personalised Search 2005 Google: Personalises Everyone’s Search Results 2007 For all users / browsers 2008 • Based on IP & Cookie (180 Day range) 2009 • Mobile Local results improve with 2010 better location detection. • Personalised suggestions first appear 2012 • Huge privacy questions resurface. Next… Source: OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  21. 21. Better user profiling produced unique SERPsGoogle PSE for logged out users. 2 People with different interests would see completely different results. Source: search-1043021 OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  22. 22. SEO’s….. Freaked out! My normal SEO tactics simply aren’t getting cut through. SEO is dead. What on earth do we do now?22 OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  23. 23. Social personalisations begin appearingEvolution of Personalised Search 2005 Google & Bing: Social annotations 2007 • Bing used Facebook 2008 • Google used Twitter & Friendfeed 2009 2010 2012 Next… Source: OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  24. 24. Bing catches up…Evolution of Personalised Search 2005 Bing: Releases “Adaptive” search 2007 • For all users 2008 • 28 days range 2009 • Historical query data 2011 • Site usage data from Bing toolbar. 2012 Next… Source: OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  25. 25. Today, search plus+ your world…Evolution of Personalised Search 2005 Google: Search History of connected G+ users… 2007 • Google using site 2008 usage stats of your connected friends 2009 to deliver more relevant results 2009 • Knowledge Graph 2011 • Connected with all 2012 Google products. Source: OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  26. 26. The new norm.Evolution of PersonalisedSearch On this example SERP, there are on 2 traditional organic listings above the fold. SEO will become harder still.26 OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  27. 27. The new norm. Continued…Evolution of Personalised Search Knowledge Graph: Google is making more of focus around providing information directly This could potentially mean lower click through’s27 OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  28. 28. FactorsWhat are search engineslooking at?
  29. 29. Today, typically 70% of users get personalised results. Don’t get highly- Get highly-personalised search results personalised search results In 2007, only ~20% of users saw personalised results. Using traditional SEO strategies doesn’t deliver what it used to.29 OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  30. 30. Today, multiple factors are used to personalise….PSE Factors History True Personalisation Social Language Location When combined they form the most logical route forward towards true Semantic search.30 OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  31. 31. First, search engines analyse factors around the queryPSE Factors From what I know about them, how can I work out what the user wants? Searched: Trainer shop31 OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  32. 32. USER “Historical” & “Location” factors used…Search engines understanding user intent. Historical Factors: History Geo-Location Factors: Logged-in: • IP Address • Search query • GPS Coordinates • Site dwell time • Social Circle • User-set location query data • Device Type Cookie Powered: (Tablet / Mobile / Desktop) • Visit frequency • Query • Path to conversion (Google Remarketing) Location Almost none of these are in a Marketers control.32 OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  33. 33. The intent is known, now Google works out best result.PSE Factors Ok so you are in St Kilda, using an iPhone and your friends like Footlocker So…which asset / content best suits your profile…33 OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  34. 34. Content “Historical” & “Location” factors used…Search engines matching websites Historical Factors: History Geo-Location Factors: • Bounce rates • TLD Google Toolbar • Site dwell time • Sever location • Frequency of visits • Content (localised) • Social Popularity • Local listings over time. • Mobile website Usability & Content, Server Usefulness Location & Assets Thankfully, most of these factors are in a Marketers control.34 OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  35. 35. There we go, a well matched result.PSE Factors35 OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  36. 36. Marketing in a Personal WorldTips & Thought Starters.
  37. 37. Key Thing Remember…Personalised search is personalised.The best way is to leverage people toyour site some other way first and makea good impression.Therefore marketers cant fullymanipulate it on an individual level.37 OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  38. 38. Target users further up the funnelThought starters “Types of Apples” Personalised Results & Competition “Green Apples” “Granny smith Apples” “Apples in St Kilda”38 OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  39. 39. Create “Awareness” & “Consideration” Focused ContentThought starters Re-think your content strategy…. Curate News / Blog Reviews How-to / useful topical content39 OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  40. 40. Start some ripples. Create great content.Thought starters Get some key influencers behind your content.40 OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  41. 41. Try to get that “first visit” with wider media…Thought starters Paid Earned Owned41 OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  42. 42. Link build: They’re still important.Thought starters Improve the relevance of your assets. • Link your assets together • Increase the number of Geo-graphical keywords pointing to your assets. • Try to get citations: <A> • Link to your Places Page & Reviews pages. PSE still looks at traditional factors such as links.42 OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  43. 43. Develop a Mobile & Tablet site…Thought starters No Mobile site. Lower Mobile Geo-traffic. Mobile is different by niche: - Don’t go do mobile for the sake of it. Use it well. - Where does it fit in the journey? (Touch points? Geo location?) - Stay away from sub-domains and separate websites as this may dilute cookie data.43 OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  44. 44. Get Google+’d. Connect all your assets.Thought starters Google is literally asking for this data. Think why that might be. Connect your accounts.44 OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  45. 45. Use PPC on “long tail” words & phrases.Thought starters PPC (OR SEM) is your friend. Geo-location & Historic. • Get that search Cookie data in early! • Test, test, test & test. • Use Location based targeting • Local creative • Leverage business & local extensions45 OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  46. 46. Local Listing’s in Google+ - Optimise & update them.Thought starters Google is pushing Places hard. • Regularly update details • Add rich media • Encourage reviews • Respond to reviews • Link to / from assets • Categorize appropriately A great opportunity to leverage those local factors.46 OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  47. 47. Encourage URL Sharing. Social popularity is key.Thought starters +1’ing will publicly express your ‘like’ for the website in Google search results. You should still also use Twitter, Facebook & other social profiles too. See OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  48. 48. Author your content. Google+ Connection.48 OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  49. 49. UX: Experience is everything.Thought starters Google can assume how useful content is based on bounce rate (Google Toolbar & Chrome send usage stats). • Design your site well • Provide the content users want • Encourage them to stay longer Image Source: OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  50. 50. Find G+ Influencers and engage them… Darren has the potential to influence 107,000 users search results directly. In-directly, his “friends of friends” reach is likely to be 1M+. Tip: Profile your users. Get them to +1 your content50 OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  51. 51. Whats next?Personalised search.
  52. 52. The future…Presumptive search?Next… 2005 Google Now. 2007 2008 2009 2009 2012 Next… Source: OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  53. 53. Key Takeaways: Part 2 Personalised Search1. Keep Testing!2. Target people further up the funnel3. Rethink your content strategy4. Link your assets together5. Integrate with media activity6. Be user friendly and memorable.53 OMX Melbourne. @Phillohren @Mindshare_APAC
  54. 54. Thank YouPhillip OhrenSenior SEO@PhillOhrenSep 2012