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    Google Stepping Up Personalization?


    Greetings Everybody,
    I would so value hearing the thoughts of the SEO-minded folks here on the following:
    google.com/support/accou...n...54041&hl=en

    Aaron Wall just posted about this, and I am doing my best to try to understand what, exactly, this will mean. I do have a Google account, and would imagine most of the members of this forum do, too. Do you read Google's announcement as saying that you will be receiving more personalized SERPS ONLY when you are logged into your account, or rather, at all times if you simply have a Google account?

    Frankly, I have been worried about this whole subject in regards to how it will relate to providing SEO services for national clients. If they aren't seeing the same results I am, I can only see confusion ahead. Please, if you've thought about this, would you share your thoughts with me?

    Though I can certainly see the benefits of allowing users to personalize their own search engine (a CSE), there is something about the invasiveness of this being done 'for' the user that is not sitting right with me, apart from the fact that I am concerned about how this may affect SEO.

    Perhaps I'm reading too much into this, but I have never gotten to have a satisfying conversation with peers about how those personalized results will alter the way we work. Your thoughts much appreciated!

    logical-host.com
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  3. SEO Monger
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    Perhaps a program could be made to analyze different serp results on different accounts. Do minor tweaks to each account till serps are changed which in turn could lead to a better understanding of the algo?
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    There is something that has been percolating inside my puny mind since February on this issue:

    Google account "spam" will start once this really gets rolling, and I personally would want to be part of it. If we can influence the SERPs by having enough people with Google accounts clicking on particular sites for particular searches, I am sure networks will pop up, similar to the Digg and StumbleUpon networks, where people scratch each others' backs to get better results.

    To answer the initial question, my read is that it is Google login sensitive, not IP sensitive. You can get your personalized results from any computer once you log into your Google account, but when logged off, you get generic results. That's my read, but sometimes Google-talk reminds me of the Greenspan-speak that once controlled the US and world economies.
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    Originally Posted by DiffeeOnline
    Google account "spam" will start once this really gets rolling, and I personally would want to be part of it.
    haha, me too.
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    For the spam comments: From what I understand It will be personalized to the user. If somebody else is clicking your site when they are logged in then it might increase your SE rankings for that user when they search for that term or similiar terms but NOT in the general SE. Or if you were to have a network of people try and increase your SE rankings with that method, it would be accomplished but only for those involved in your little network and not in the general SE results.

    It seems a lot of webmasters / SEO's are concerned about personalized searches, maybe they should be but I'm curious to know just how many regular google searches are actually performed while being logged in and if that number is growing.

    Maybe the personalized search is even broader than people think, they use the example of a biologist and a football fan searching for "dolphins" and say they would get different results but thats not site specific. Or will a specific site that is visited often by a specific user be high in his personalized results. I don't know but it will make things interesting for SEO's and webmasters.
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    Originally Posted by brian2432
    it would be accomplished but only for those involved in your little network and not in the general SE results.
    Part of their goal is to accumulate data for the sake of the SERPs. If Joe has similar search and click patterns as Sandy, their results will start to mirror each others'. For example, Joe searches for "Egyptian Cruises", clicks on SERP position 1, stays 30 seconds, clicks on SERP position 2, stays for 20 seconds, then clicks on SERP position 3 and stays for 12 minutes, visiting 7 pages while on the site. When Sandy searches for "Egyptian Cruises", the site that was Joe's position 3 may pop up as 2 or 1 when Sandy searches.

    Keeping in mind - when I say "Joe" and "Sandy", obviously I am not suggesting that 1 person can effect the SERPs of one other. But it's easier to describe the example like this versus a true example where 500 people logged into Google search for "Egyptian Cruises".

    It's the same type of data conversion, tracking, and algo as Stumble Upon, just at a much larger scale and using click patterns versus simple SU votes to put it into effect.

    In the whole scheme of things, this will not truly have an major effect on SEOs for some time, if ever, but overall it is still heading in the right direction -- sites with the best content will get a leg up over spammy sites.
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    I don't agree that they would implement such a ranking system. It's speculation. Unless every google users search was being tracked, (including those without a google account) it wouldn't necessarly reflect the majority of searches on google (How many people who don't use a google service are or would ever log in) and therefore could take away from relevent searches since they don't trully reflect the majority. (Kind of like how Alexa works based off a certain group of users - which we know doesn't work) Unless they were tracking without requiring a user being logged in, It just wouldn't work and they wouldn't implement such a platform. (At least I wouldn't think so.) Even then, there is the potential for abuse like you stated.

    Or if they implemented a tracking system that didn't require the user to log in, it would just present a whole new set of issues including how would they mesure time spent on a site, time elapsed before they hit the back button? Then most sites would have redirections etc... and many other issues / abuses.

    Besides, nowadays users have gained the knowledge of how the SE's work and how to find what they want by specific searches (Long Tail Searches)

    So, as it stands - Web History helps deliver more personalized search results based on what you've searched for on Google and which sites you've visited but only for that specific user and I don't see it affecting the search engines global results - of course thats just my opinion

    Feel free to change my opinion and no disrespect intended.

    Comments on this post

    • lovekills_s agrees : right!
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    Never said it would effect global results, yet, only those logged on to their Google account. With that said, I can guarantee that it WILL effect global results in the near future.


    Just read their patents. It will make it much more clear. Here is a snippet from the abstract:

    "The set of preferred locations presented to the user may be enhanced to include the preferred locations of one or more other users."


    Here is a sample of how they are implementing it:

    "12. A method of creating a set of locations for a community of users, comprising: identifying for each of a plurality of members in the community of users, a respective set of previously visited locations from the respective member's historical browsing activities, each location in the respective set having one or more respective ranking values and satisfying first criteria; combining the respective sets into a combined set; applying a respective weighting factor to the one or more ranking values in each of the respective sets of previously visited locations; and ordering the combined set in accordance with the weighted one or more ranking values."
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    Originally Posted by brian2432
    I don't agree that they would implement such a ranking system. It's speculation.
    Sorry. Speculation ended a couple of months ago. It is here, working as we speak, nicely under the radar with limited effects so far. Call it beta if you want, but they've spent millions since 2005 in R&D.

    Here is the speculation part -- they are waiting for the exact right time (from a financial point of view) to really push this out there as "The Search Engine that knows what you like". It most likely coincide with the time when MSNYahoo starts really looking like a reality or when merger talks falter -- either just before or just after the big news, one way or another.
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    Originally Posted by DiffeeOnline
    Sorry. Speculation ended a couple of months ago. It is here, working as we speak, nicely under the radar with limited effects so far. Call it beta if you want, but they've spent millions since 2005 in R&D.

    Here is the speculation part -- they are waiting for the exact right time (from a financial point of view) to really push this out there as "The Search Engine that knows what you like". It most likely coincide with the time when MSNYahoo starts really looking like a reality or when merger talks falter -- either just before or just after the big news, one way or another.
    They are difinatley tesing it.. I think the first big effect will be much better geo targetting.

    Other than that i would imagine in general distictions could be:

    age
    occupation/industry
    interest/hobbies
    commerical/information sites

    I would not be supprised to see some more choices come in when a search is instigated or the ability to research results with more specific targets.

    The only effect i notced before i turned it off currently are that it brings the pages you have visited before to the top when you research the same query.

    I think there will be resitance to it unless it is clearly a 'choice' option as people 'may' feel they are missing out on some results.

    The big motivation for google to do this is i think to target ad words much more user specifc than just webpage specific. This i think will increase the revenue pull of 'pay for action' advertising which is currently being tested.

    Comments on this post

    • DiffeeOnline agrees : Yepper
    • brian2432 agrees : I agree but this applies to personalized (individual) search and doesn't mean they will move to change the results of users not logged in to reflect those search patterns in their search history. It will definitely be better for adwords.
    Live the moment
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    Originally Posted by brian2432

    Feel free to change my opinion and no disrespect intended.
    Giving your opinion is never disrespectful in this forum.. keeping it to yourself is...

    Comments on this post

    • DiffeeOnline agrees : ABSOLUTELY!
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    Originally Posted by gazzahk
    Giving your opinion is never disrespectful in this forum.. keeping it to yourself is...

    Absolutely -- forgot to mention that part. In rereading my responses, I didn't mean to come off as cross. It's midnight here and I've been working on an impossible solution to a client who really WANTS to use duplicate content... more on that when I pose it to the group tomorrow.

    Without disagreements, Brian, this forum wouldn't be half as effective as it is. I love a good debate with a knowledgeable poster!

    Comments on this post

    • brian2432 agrees : A good debate makes you think and who doesn't like to think.
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    age
    occupation/industry
    interest/hobbies
    commerical/information sites

    This seems like Google doing a trend analysis.
    How is it going to affect the SERPs anyways
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    Originally Posted by DiffeeOnline
    Never said it would effect global results, yet, only those logged on to their Google account. With that said, I can guarantee that it WILL effect global results in the near future.
    It won't effect the global results, sure they want people to use personalized search but they can't personalize the general results unless that specific user is logged in - otherwise who would it be personalized too?

    I don't know exactly how many people perform searches on google while logged in but i'm willing to bet it's not the majority of users. Therefore, I find it hard to believe that google would influence the search results of the majority based purely on the search patterns of the minority. You might have a larger demographics of specific users who use google tools and are therefore logged in, yet their search patterns and what they seek would differ from the average person.

    They are using the personalized search because they want to offer individual users more specific results by tailering the search results to that user. That doesn't mean that that users search history and search pattern will effect other users when they perform that same search. If that user is logged in then he will get his own personalized results based off his own personalized search patterns. But none of these personalized results are going to effect the results of users who aren't logged in.

    There are many other implications involved, how would new sites fair in this ranking system? Will people be locked in to the same results?

    I agree that they will push personalized search out there because they want most of their users to log in and use the features but I don't beleive it will affect the search results of users who aren't logged in (the general results), it wouldn't make sense, you can't personalize one set of results for every user - everyone thinks different and everyone searches different. Two people could search the same term yet be looking for slightly different content or a different view.
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    Originally Posted by brian2432
    They are using the personalized search because they want to offer individual users more specific results by tailering the search results to that user. That doesn't mean that that users search history and search pattern will effect other users when they perform that same search. If that user is logged in then he will get his own personalized results based off his own personalized search patterns. But none of these personalized results are going to effect the results of users who aren't logged in.

    There are many other implications involved, how would new sites fair in this ranking system? Will people be locked in to the same results?

    I agree that they will push personalized search out there because they want most of their users to log in and use the features but I don't beleive it will affect the search results of users who aren't logged in (the general results), it wouldn't make sense, you can't personalize one set of results for every user - everyone thinks different and everyone searches different. Two people could search the same term yet be looking for slightly different content or a different view.
    I would tend to agree - whatever search results/behaviour they want, they should have already, whether u are logged in or not (*although if u're not logged in, u dont get any cookies), so it shouldnt make a difference. The only difference is if they want to tailor the search to u.
    Last edited by trlg; May 7th, 2007 at 02:30 AM.
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