A typical search engine results page
Image via Wikipedia

Alright, we know that Google has already been experimenting and implemented the personalized search results. So what does it mean to SEO ? Now that every individual gets tailor made search results based on their past use history and even preferences (SearchWiki), what happens to the natural organic results ?

Well, according to Google,

Personalized Search is an improvement to Google search that orders your search results based on what you’ve searched for before. Learning from your history of searches and search results you’ve clicked on, Personalized Search brings certain results closer to the top when it’s clear they’re most relevant to you.

Google’s idea is to,give you the best relevant results based on who you are and what you’ve been interested in.

Personalized-search

So that means, if I searched for “Chip” and clicked on the third result which is on “Children’s Medical Aid”, the next time I search for “Chip”, I might get the once third result, Childrens Medical Aid on the first place. And I think that’s a fair game.

And now SearchWiki. According to Google,

It’s a way to customize your search results with your rankings, deletions, and notes — plus, see how other people using Google have tailored their searches”. You can promote or demote search results, add new web pages to your search results, post comments and read other people’s comments.

We’ve all been using SearchWiki lately and it’s quite interesting. I can make the 22nd results the first and even tell others why they should try it.

But I’ve not seen any clues so far that tells me that my preferences are shared with others. The wiki is probably only my own. For everyone else, the 22nd result that I pushed up is still the 22nd result.

Google says,

It’s not clear whether user votes influence the overall ranking algorithm, but it’s likely that this is not the case.

Yea I get it. So we have a wiki for our own help. That’s fair again. But the comments on search results are supposed to be shared with others, and I haven’t seen any reports yet that confirms this. In fact, I get to see only my comments now. May be it’s not yet active on my account ?

Anyways, these two features from Google give me the idea that somehow, someday the concept of organic search results is going to be more complicated, while being more custom made for each user.

So does that mean that SEO has lesser influence on the search results ?

Even when we are inclined to think so, that might not just be the case. This is how I see it.

- SEO is definitely going to remain significant and Google algorithms will heavily rely on backlinks to determine SERPs.

- I can see a focus shift to “traffic” as one of the crucial factors (among lot others) that determines why a website is more relevant than other. (It’s not a single stand alone concept but an addition to the existing SEO metrics)

- User preferences are only going to be an addition to the organic results. After all you need to have the best 10 results anyway, to mix and match them according to your preferences.

So essentially, SEO is going to be the backbone that decides the SERPs, like it’s always been. But user preferences will make it possible for us to see the best results for us. SEO will still remain significant, or so do I prefer to believe. :)


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Google’s personalized search results and Search Wiki means no SEO ?

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