iCrossing POV - The Implication of Google Personalized Results, Rob Garner, Eric Sidone


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POV on the impact of Google's personalized search results page. By Rob Garner and Eric Sidone.

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iCrossing POV - The Implication of Google Personalized Results, Rob Garner, Eric Sidone

  1. 1. icrossing PoV:the imPlication of googlePersonalized resultsWritten by:rob garnerStrategy Director, iCrossingeric sidoneNatural Search Strategist, iCrossing
  2. 2. icrossing PoV: GooGlE PERSoNalizED RESultS DECEMBER 2009 the imPlication of google Personalized results Google announced today that it would be serving personalized results to users who are signed-out of their Google account. according to their post, search results will be customized based on anonymous cookie data, storing the previous 180 days of search activity (browser stored). these results will also be customized for an approximate location based on your iP address. Google will continue serving personalized results when you are signed-in (server stored). Fundamentally, this represents a shift from “objective” results (everyone sees the same results set), to “subjective” results (everyone theoretically sees their own unique search results). “Previously, we only offered Personalized Search for signed-in users, and only when they had Web History enabled on their Google Accounts. What we’re doing today is expanding Personalized Search so that we can provide it to signed-out users as well. This addition enables us to customize search results for you based upon 180 days of search activity linked to an anonymous cookie in your browser. It’s completely separate from your Google Account and Web History (which are only available to signed-in users). You’ll know when we customize results because a “view customizations” link will appear on the top right of the search results page. Clicking the link will let you see how we’ve customized your results and also let you turn off this type of customization.” (source: Google Blog) there are several implications to general users, and the SEo community resulting from “signed-out personalized results.” Search engines have long been criticized for their inability to aid users in discovering new content. this limitation is largely the result of starting with a known query. With this enhancement, the amount of new content being served for a query will be reduced. this may also negatively impact smaller, less established websites from being visible in Google. From an SEO perspective, there are several items to be aware of including rankings reports. Using an anonymous proxy to collect data should continue to provide an accurate average position number. Although, factoring in search origination may become a larger component of the overall search strategy. In general, we will continue to see an increased focus toward optimizing for long tail, geo-specific keywords. We may also see less emphasis on SERP position and more on destination or entry pages (where did a user come in vs. SERP visibility). As with many other changes in the search engines, it is also important for marketers to stay on course with SEO best practices throughout this major algorithmic change, as optimizing for top listings in the “opt-out” version of the results (objective) will translate to higher traffic volume and visibility in personalized results (subjective). So this means that it is more important than ever to focus on sustainable SEO practices, particularly in ensuring that sites maintain domain authority and trust. And also now more important than ever, marketers should embrace the fact that they are also in the content publishing business, and that engaging content will also translate into higher visibility. Creating compelling content for your target audience will not only translate to engaged visitors – it may also spread to other like-minded individuals via personalized search. Overall, there is also an element of privacy concern. Sure, you can opt-out, but how many normal users will go through the steps? Let’s remember how Google generates revenue – by monitoring which pretty blue links you click on, Google can serve more relevant paid ads that you are most likely to click on. It is also possible that by integrating results from Social Search, Google is looking to social signals for discover-ability and tailoring standard results for personal relevance.© iCRoSSiNG. all RiGHtS RESERVED. 2