In the SEO community we have been fighting the effects of personalised search in Google, turning the function off so as not to cloud our results pages with links that are biased towards our browsing history and recommendations from our friends on social networks.
So why do we do this? Because browsing when signed into Google still doesn’t reflect the way that most people search. Although fairly popular in the tech community, Google accounts just don’t proliferate the general public in the way that the big G would like, meaning that the many features offered by personalized search in Google just aren’t visible to a majority of people.
If Google+ takes off however, this could all be about to change.
To those in the world of organic SEO, searching Google when logged-in to your account is something to be avoided at all costs so that you can analyze your website’s rankings in the purest way possible. Performing a search when signed in to your Google account is to open the door to a completely different world full of Twitter recommendations and +1s from your friends giving some websites previously unprecedented visibility.
Websites that your friends have tweeted are given prominence and your browsing history is also referred to in order to supply you with what Google thinks will be the most relevant results for you.
While this has received mixed reviews on the whole, mainly as a result of the ethics of only supplying results that strictly adheres to an individual’s world view, this seems to be the future of search, with both Bing and Google investing heavily in providing as personal a search experience as possible.
So what difference does a social network from Google make to personalised search? For personalised search to work you need to be signed in to your Google account, the only trouble is that not many people have an active Google account and even fewer browse the internet while signed in to it. If Google+ was to be successful then all of this would all change.
An explosion in the number of active Google accounts would mean that drastically more people will be searching Google when signed into their account, having a major effect on the way a huge amount of people will see their search results. Instead of personalised search being restricted to the few, everyone who regularly uses the Google+ social network would be opened up to a new, more personalised search experience.
Ok, someone had to say it eventually, but widespread adoption of personalized search could well herald a new dawn for how websites are marketed. Rather than obtaining links from high page ranked sources that vary drastically in legitimacy, the race will be on to secure quality endorsements from relevant people in order to get a website a prominent position in the results pages.
This changes the SEO game somewhat and ushers in a world where social will have to combine with the more traditional link building methods to produce results for search. Prominent industry Twitter accounts with many followers will be extremely hot property as a tweet from them could have a dramatic effect on the visibility of a site to tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of relevant people.
It would also make spam likes and tweets redundant as they would not directly influence overall rankings and would not promote the website to relevant people, one potential answer to the spam problems that have blighted Google’s link metric system of ranking.
This is all very well, but how should this drive your SEO campaigns of the future? Like it or not, search is going social. The deal between Bing and Facebook combined with Google’s new social network means that you should ignore the implications of social search at your peril, so get yourself on review websites, arm your homepage with the full arsenal of like, tweet and +1 buttons and get yourself out there and interacting with the users of your site, whether they are customers or blog subscribers.
While you may already be performing some of these tasks in your social campaigns, they are going to be crucial in the future if you are going to be visible to potential customers. Rather than social being an additional factor in a web marketing campaign, search and social are going to have unify in an unprecedented way in order to maximise a website’s visibility.
Once Google+ launches it could go one of two ways, it could capture the public’s imagination and explode in popularity or go the way of previous Google experiments such as Google Wave and fade into the background. Don’t take your chances and get your website ready for personalised search, as whether G+ works or not, you can expect the personal approach to become a huge part of search in the future.
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It's true that "for personalised search to work you need to be signed in to your Google account, the only trouble is that not many people have an active Google account and even fewer browse the internet while signed in to it." What surprises me is that Google+ still isn't available to loyal Google Apps users. Search results are indeed altered by cookies & account history. Google Chrome's Incognito Window option can be useful for organic SEO. My recent post Virgin Media to enhance bandwidth capacity of mobile carriers
Great post Alan. For search to go social, especially through Google, and for personalised results to be the norm, Google+ is going to really have to take off big time. At the moment there's too much hesitation from the public, i.e. non-SEOs, to use the service. If or when Google+ picks up, it will be such an important service for online brands to be a part of - be big on Google+ and you'll be big in search results, and that's where you'll gain over your competitors.
We know that Google is the One of the Biggest Search engine . I think it will be famous on coming days. I already use this Google + & i got in it good feature . So thanks to google to giving such a good social networking site. World Currencies
Wow, is that why that is happening. I just thought it was windows that was doing that. Thanks for the advise about not logging into google's while searching in the search engine.
I can't imagine what will happen to online marketing when search is combined with social networking. I think social marketing will prevail online. We all want to please Google so I think we'll just have to wait what they are going to do. ~Ira
I agree that when you are signed in gmail and doing searching is not effective cause I experience that before and also one thing that I have discovered is cookies, you need to clear your cookies time to time so that you will have a solid search results. Google+ is only effective in google search enginge, there are also Yahoo and Bing. But we prioritize Google cause it is the number 1 is traffic and I am sure Google+ it will compete in Facebook. My recent post Flexispy iPhone Review
Any advice on how IMs can take advantage of Google+? Have heard a lot about how Google+ is the next thing but not much about how to get in the door. Also worth considering whether it will stick over the long haul. My recent post SEO Tools For Website Traffic — Buyer Beware
Heh, google is the number one search engine and so we have to admit that. Yes yu're right when yu said searching on google while signed into your gmail account is problematic. in fact that has been the biggest challenge with google...again i will apraise your content. well done! My recent post Unreported Marketing Document Has Been Leaked?
In coming days, Google will fight with FB + Bing. That's really interesting scenario, right now it's Google which is dominating the fight but you never know about future. My recent post Website Design in India
Ohhh Thank Ithing It very good the idea in this post My recent post Sanyo HPS-SG2 Indoor electric griddle grill with 120 Square Inch Non-stick Cooking Surface
The funny thing is that Google hasn't implemented search into google+, so we really won't know how it will affect search habits yet. I suspect thought that bloggers will still want to focus on the general public to draw in new customers to their blogs. My recent post 90 Tools for All Your Blogging Needs