View Full Version : Google showing how results are personalized

08-11-2008, 09:56 AM
(didn't see the SEO cat - wanna move this Steve? couldn't find a way to delete the thread)

I thought this to be interesting and there wasn't much talk about it...

Official Google Blog: More transparency in customized search results (http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/07/more-transparency-in-customized-search.html)

... I tried some searches and was able to get some... very interesting. This also highlights the fact that the days of static rankings are all but over. Between personalized search and universal/geo-targeted results; no 2 people are seeing the exact same results on many levels.

Here are a few posts on PS that should get ya up to speed if you are unfamiliar....

What you should know about personalized search (http://www.huomah.com/search-engines/search-engine-optimization/what-every-seo-should-know-about-personalized-search.html)


the Art of personalized search optimization (http://www.huomah.com/search-engines/search-engine-optimization/the-art-of-personalized-search-optimization.html)

...anyhoo, thought I'd pass it along as more and more, it is becomming an area for concern with SEO efforts ;0)

08-12-2008, 06:07 PM
Moved. SEO is still a subcat for now until we get it growing more.

I saw the news this morning, but haven't really checked my search results much yet. I'm all for the transparency, but I agree the days of two people seeing the same search results are over, which puts more emphasis back on building a good site.

The major thing I don't like about personalized search is that I think it could lead to a lost of finding new things. If results are based on what you've shown a preference for in the past you'll increasingly get more of the same. Sometimes that is what you want, but sometimes you're looking to expand beyond your horizons.

I've mostly searched without being logged into Google in part for the reason above.

I just logged in and it took me awhile to get the message that Google was basing results on my search history. Fortunately or unfortunately depending on your point of view I don't have much of a search history so I can't say I found much interesting. I'll have to search logged in more info to see what I notice.

08-13-2008, 02:26 PM
Well in the testing I did back earlier this year... which I had peeps logged in and out of G accounts (across the world) doing a variety of searches... I found that the actual ranking anomalies were minimal. In short, even in a safer personalized setting, it's not a strong signal at this point.

So I don't think that too much would get lost. What is interesting is the rise of a pseudo social search approach where groups of like minded peeps could be used for even more signals. This could be active (selecting friends or thumbs up buttons) or a more passive approach where you are algorithmically grouped based on behavioral metrics.

What is important to me is the fact that it is one helluva a way to curtail web spam ultimately.

Being an SEO junky I also think it is important to get my head around the world of permanent flux and treat rankings as a baseline metric and more emphasis on actual search traffic numbers.

..this new feature from G simply reminds us that we should be accounting for it IMO

08-13-2008, 03:56 PM
Oh I agree. A tinfoil hat was more part of my wardrobe at the time G started personalized search, which is where my thoughts came from. Overall even though I can see the potential for bad, I think personalization is ultimately a good things as long as you can opt out of the personalization from time to time.

I should have been testing it more then and I should be testing it more now, but some things slip between the cracks.

I know personalization is one of your passions though so I'd expect you to have done more research into it.

Having social recommendations in search is pretty cool. I'll search delicious at times and get some really good results. The votes do help weed out the garbage in most cases. It's still easier for you or me to see a page and judge quality than it is for an algorithm.

Agreed that we should be accounting for it. All the personalization and universal stuff really do put more focus on the build a good site and they will come mentality. Adding in user behavior is also interesting. I don't like people tracking me as an individual, but if they can remove the connection to me and just use what they gather in aggregate I don't have a problem with it and can see how beneficial it would be towards improving results.

08-13-2008, 04:34 PM
Agreed that we should be accounting for it. All the personalization and universal stuff really do put more focus on the build a good site and they will come mentality.

Yeah... ain't it great? The rise of social has certainly added wrinkles to the search engineer's mind set and I am all for quality beating out BS that link spammed their way to the top... woo hoo... I for one look forward to more combinations of social and search in the years to come as those ( I do consider behavioral metrics to be social) should go a long way to combating garbage on the web... or in the SERPs at least....

08-13-2008, 06:46 PM
it is good. I know it'll never just be a build it and they will come strategy. You're always going to have to promote and get the word out even if it's simply to get the ball rolling. But yeah put the emphasis back on having good content, how can you argue against that.

Social can get spammed too. People are probably easier to manipulate than algorithms, but it takes more time to manipulate people whereas with algorithms you can automate the spam. Removing some of the automation should help reduce the garbage we all see.

And it's not just the spam. There are far too many pages that rank well with original content that's still pure garbage because it sits on some trusted domain. Social should help algorithms to see that content doesn't need to be seen as often.