Google continuously strives to make certain that searchers have a positive experience, and recently further updates have been made to take personalized search results to the next level.
Earlier this month, an announcement was made regarding the release of “Show options…” You can access these new options via the link positioned just above the search results.
When you click this link, additional selections are provided to the left of the search results, enabling you to further customize your search.
According to Google, this new feature is “a collection of tools that let you slice and dice your results and generate different views to find what you need faster and easier. Search Options helps solve a problem that can be vexing: what query should I ask?”
There are numerous ways for you to sort the data — by videos, forums, reviews, date, etc. For example, if you are planning a Caribbean vacation, doing your homework before solidifying your plans is now a bit easier. When searching for “Caribbean vacation”, you can easily view forums where people are discussing topics related to Caribbean vacations. You can also view related results from the past 24 hours, the past week, or even the past year.
Another great feature is Rich Snippets. “Rich Snippets give users convenient summary information about their search results at a glance”. Google looks for markup formats that can be added to pages of your website’s pages. More information on Rich Snippets can be found on Google’s Webmaster Central Blog.
One thing that still remains consistent is that even though searchers are able to customize how they want to sort the results (videos, reviews, forums, etc.), basic search engine optimization and social media tactics still hold true. In order for your video to be found for keywords when someone selects the video link within these additional options, your video must be optimized with those keywords. If you want to appear for reviews, it will be beneficial to encourage customers to write reviews of your products or services. As these constant changes are being made by the search engines, don’t forget to address the fundamentals of search engine optimization and even consider encouraging reviews and other user generated content that can help to propel your site upward in the search results.
Google says of its “Personalized Search” that, “personalization is subtle–at first you may not notice any difference. But over time, as the search engine learns your preferences, you’ll see it.” I myself never really utilize the personalized search experience. I kind of like the randomness that Google or search engines in general provide to me in regular search results.
The Search Engine Optimization industry was a little concerned about the development of the Google technology which provides relevant, useful search results, recommendations and other personalized features. Many SEOs felt that optimization efforts would be thwarted by people getting less general search results, but something specific to their needs. Matt Cutts says, “The thing that will change the most will be local search results.” Basically he is saying that certain search terms in some areas may result in different search results in others. Of course, localization is not really the same as personalization. You can turn personalization off and in most cases, people with a Google account of some sort will do that. Personally, those little icons in the SERPs that allow you to move your search results up and down are kind of redundant as once I’ve found what I’m looking for, I’m more prone to simply bookmark that page and not use Google again for the same search result.
The big question for SEOs is that down the line, how much will they have to adapt to new trends? Good, legitimate SEOs already know that there isn’t always just one general search result to target. It’s the consensus of good SEOs that it’s better to target multiple search terms for your website and increase your reach in the search engines. So, in actuality, if you follow good optimization efforts to begin with, as opposed to only focusing your website on a couple of highly placed keyphrases, personalized search should not hinder the SEO industry that much. Those that optimize their website to target for several, relevant keyphrases should certainly prevail in the personalized search conundrum.
The fact that you are able to turn the personalized search function off by simply logging out of your Google account is the overriding factor. The casual Internet surfer will simply just visit Google, Yahoo! and MSN and plug in their search result. For those that want the customized search results, it’s purely at their discretion, but it may just be a matter of time before Google or any other big search engine do a major overhaul and base all search results on one’s personalized search habits.
A close friend of mine purchased a new SUV over the weekend and we decided to use Google to research various aftermarket accessories.
I typed “Nissan rims” into the search bar but did not find what I was looking for. In an attempt to get more specific results, I entered “2008 Nissan Xterra rims”, and again I didn’t find what I was seeking. In my third attempt I typed “Chrome Rims” and was very surprised by the sponsored ads. The displayed paid ads were all for Nissan products. The various titles of the ads read “Nissan Parts”, “Shop Nissan Parts”, “Nissan Xterra Tire”, and other titles with the keywords “Nissan” or “Xterra”.