April 3, 2011

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Google’s Latest Releases Part 2: Personalised Results


Last Friday, Google announced it was rolling out personalised search results for everyone – even users without Google accounts. By storing 180 days worth of search activity information in an “anonymous cookie” in a user’s browser, Google can now present them with personalised search results.

Google explains using the example of a someone who often visits cooking website epicurious.com: if that user searches for “recipes”, Google’s personalised search results will place epicurious.com at the top of their results page.

Of course, Google emphasises, this feature can be turned off or paused if a user desires, but it is currently opt-out rather than opt-in. This video from Google goes into more detail:

So, what are the implications for online real estate advertising? It seems unlikely that personalised results will have much of an effect on traffic to more well-known real estate websites, which can rely on familiarity to ensure their users don’t visit Google in the first place. But it could have an impact on those that rely on Google to attract their audience. As searchengineland.com’s Danny Sullivan points out:

“Happy that you’re ranking in the top results for a term that’s important to you? Look again. Turn off personalised search, and you might discover that your top billing is due to the way the personalised system is a huge ego search reinforcement tool. If you visit your own site often, your own site ranks better in your own results — but not for everyone else.”

In other words, for less well-known websites, personalised results could mean existing SEO has to be reworked to capture Google results that might have previously have been considered reliable.

However, as Sullivan goes on to say, this doesn’t mean all the effort you’ve put into SEO for your website is now pointless. Google told searchengineland.com it wants to preserve diversity in its results, even as it skews them to a user’s preferences.

Quick off the mark, digital agency zeta.net have already come up with a few tips on how to make the most of Google’s personalised search. As always, we look forward to your thoughts and ideas in our comments.


Related posts:

  1. Google’s Latest Releases Part 1: Real-time Search
  2. Google’s Latest Releases Part 3: New Maps Perspective
  3. Is Google Personalized Search A Threat To Property Sites
  4. Google Instant: What Does It Mean for Marketers?
  5. Rev Up Your Website
  6. As Google Changes, it Pays to Check Your Rankings
  7. Using Google Keywords for More Traffic
  8. Back to Basics: What is SEO?
  9. Google Gives SEO Tips
  10. Google in 2010: What Changed, What Didn’t

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