Google Search Personalization and You

Google has recently announced they are personalizing all searches. In the past you had to turn this feature on. Now it’s the default. Personalized Search is how Google attempts to use your web history to give you the most relevant results.

Here’s a quote:

Now when you search using Google, we will be able to better provide you with the most relevant results possible. For example, since I always search for [recipes] and often click on results from, Google might rank higher on the results page the next time I look for recipes. Other times, when I’m looking for news about Cornell University’s sports teams, I search for [big red]. Because I frequently click on, Google might show me this result first, instead of the Big Red soda company or others.

Overall, this is a big deal! One of the biggest problems for search engines has always been providing results for general search queries. Google is using your search behavior to solve the problem.

What This Means to You

Not a whole lot for the average searcher. If you often click on Amazon results you’ll end up seeing Amazon pop up a lot more during product searches. The same goes for your favorite news outlet. If you really like the Huffington post and click on it often, you’ll see more stories in the search results from the Huffington post.

This also is Google’s way of understanding very broad searches. Let’s say you really like basketball. In the past 180 days you’ve visited 3 dozen basketball-related sites. Now, when you type in “traveling” you should get a definition of traveling as it applies to basketball as opposed to a very general query relating to travel. This is the overall idea of the technology.

What This Means to your Business

Let’s say you’re a Personal Injury Attorney and you have a great site that gets a lot of relevant traffic. Should you be worried that this change will dramatically affect your bottom line? Not really. If a visitor clicked on your competitor more than once in the past 180 days, it’s likely that either:

  • They typed in the same query to find the same website (maybe for a followup, or to get a phone number)
  • They are searching through the search engine result pages to find other attorneys, ie “shopping around”.

In the first case the person was already a client, and in the second case the person will most likely eventually click on your site because they are looking around. If someone is doing comparison shopping they’ll likely find you either if you were pushed down a spot or two on the first page, or if you’re on the second page.

This change may drastically affect ranking reports, or reports that indicate where your site is ranked for specific keywords.  Since everyone will potentially see slightly different results, it reduces the accuracy of an already diminished metric. It has already been diminished because people have been using personalized search for a while now. This change is a shift from the minority to the majority.

What This Means to WebTech Marketing Services

Not Much! Our focus is to create valuable websites that are optimized for search. We research which phrases people are using to find products and services, build sites around that language, market the site, and finally analyze the user behavior to both increase conversions and user engagement.

While we do utilize ranking reports, we use them as a general progress indicator of how we can improve our sites.  We use them to look at what search engines think of our sites overall, and use them to try and detect patterns.

If you are interested in learning more about us and what we can do for your company, please fill out our contact form or call today!

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