Google Experiment Could Spark SEO Sea Change

Allows for "unique tastes and needs" in search

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Google looks to be taking another step forward on the path towards personalized search.  Some users have been given access to a new option that allows them to identify sites they’d like to see more often on their results pages.

Think of it like this: do you regularly search for info on current events, only to sift through hundreds of sources for the same three or four you like best?  The preferred sites feature would let Google know that you want the BBC and CNN articles (for example) to be given more weight.  Or you could name a local news site that would otherwise be out of the running entirely.

Google Preferred

Google believes its concept of preferred sites can be applied to movie reviews, sports scores, and blogs, as well.  A help page implies that these wires won’t get crossed, saying, "[R]esults from your preferred sites will show up more often when they’re relevant to your search query" (emphasis ours).

So will the experimental feature be a win?  Well, it does require that users sign into their Google Accounts, which is a roadblock of sorts.  Then there’s the matter of making people take a few minutes to tinker with settings, which the average user generally doesn’t want to do.  Truth be told, even search pros might just prefer to type something like "site:imdb.com braveheart" instead of futzing around behind the scenes.

The new preferred results feature could prove attractive to a few people, though.  More importantly, it could help Google decide how to make these sorts of distinctions on an automatic basis, too.  This might lead to a sea change in the SEO industry, as Bruce Clay forecast in an interview with Mike McDonald.  Different people would see different results and traditional rankings would mean much less.

Anyway, a hat tip goes to Alex Chitu.

Google Experiment Could Spark SEO Sea Change
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  • http://www.cheapcharlieshotels.com/ cheap charley

    Tommorow on elance you will be able to hire people to load your site and personlize the search.

    The butthead’s are already doing a SEO Expert spam in the can program for only $19.99 to take advantage of the new weighting.

    For joy for joy!

  • http://a7lameza.com/vb Guest

    This feature is wonderful for megalomaniacs like myself. My blog and my website http://www.a7lameza.com are always #1 in my search results. Perhaps Google is doing this service for the benefit of mankind to make us feel good about ourselves?

  • James

    Is this a step toward a ‘no option’ subscription to be ranked?

    I suspect this may lead to the growth in numbers & popularity of other engines.

    Lets ‘face’ it Google will at some time become the supposed anathema of search engines as with all companies/businesses that grow so large they forget their ‘roots’.

    There is little doubt their competitors have almost given up in their quest to match google.

    In the short term it will be poor for small businesses & their ranking, but I suspect it will lead to many looking for other more flexible & genuine competitive options & with it will come the usage & googles popularity will be affected proportionaly.

    What we may find with googles experiment is the sites with access to high investment could take the largest share of their sector, regretably this does not mean they are the best option or even have the expertise in what they do (so often the case) which could mean business standards begin to fall as the proposed & supposed favourite (& in reality ranking system) google idea takes hold & with it business & its standards plummet, which is a great pity as the www was suppposed to create the level playing field that 1st allowed Google out of its garage & of the forecourt.

    I have always liked Google however:

    Has Google thought this through? Perhaps they have & www will add a ‘d’ for domination to its abbreviation.

  • Guest

    Is it just me or does this sound like what ebay tried to do with their blunder called “best match” allegedly geared according to people’s “preferences”, thus determining search results they are to receive and not receive?

    Aren’t I reading everywhere that ebay is failing miserably?

    Why would someone like Google, who’s had it right for all of these years follow a failing platform? Truly baffling.

    • http://homebusinesshints.com Chuck Anthony

      Not sure if you can compare the two in this arena. Besides, leave it to Google to take on the challenge of refining a process; if indeed that’s what is happening. In any event, as Google looks to expand and refine Search, I think they also become increasingly reliant on large content partners as well. Given their track record however; pretty much a slam dunk the experiment will reach critical mass.

  • http://www.articlemajoris.com Article Directory

    This is just a bookmarking system. It will be too easy for people to abuse it. Imagine a network that allows members to help each other – members that will vote a site to the top or vote down a site. Google will be at their mercy.

  • http://tradebusiness.at/YTT12 ytt12

    If it aint broke don’t fix it thats what is say

    Cheers Mick

    Free online marketing to over 300,000 members

  • Guest

    I like a variety of results. If *I* wish to refine my search, *I* can do that myself, but in the meantime, I’d really like to see ALL of the options of what I search for. I don’t want anyone dictating to me what I will see and won’t see.

    When you’re looking for a deal on something you wish to purchase, but google will only give you the “most popular” results, you’re not getting a deal, because the true deals are buried and invisible.

    Heeeeelloooooo http://search.yahoo.com!

    I usually find a much better selection of results there anyway.

    If google continues down this path, I see them losing a lot of users along the way.

  • http://www.tinyurl.com/cheapwriting L. Mohan Arun

    My Google account does not offer me the Preferred Sites option yet. Even if it did, I probably will not use it. I use Google Coop Custom Search Engine to add all the probable sites that I want to search for and it is much better than using something like Preferred Sites.

  • Guest

    You use google to see what google wants you to see and yahoo alltheweb etc to see what is really out there.

    More people seem to be realising this – it seems google is the only one left fighting the black hat strategies that often leave its SERPs useless.

    Whatever changes google make will ultimately be manipulated by someone somewhere and they’ll be forced to introduce the next counter measure.

  • http://imbyrick.com/ Rick Imby

    I am always going and clearing the data in my search results with Google. I have a suspicion that they only show me what I have already seen. I always want new. I sign out after I check my gmail.


  • http://www.ronation.co.uk ronation

    Personalized search will invent a new SEO

  • http://win-edge.com Cathy

    I would LOVE to sit down and have a talk with Google. Whoever is doing the personalization of what sites they pick to be at the top is putting ridiculous things that have NOTHING to do with the topic.

    For instance, I sell Garden of Life products, one of which is FucoTHIN, the top selling whole food diet product. Instead of Google showing you results of sites that are selling it, along with giving helpful information on it, they put a bunch of yo-yo’s complaining about it and saying that FucoTHIN is a bad product, etc. (only because they want you to buy THEIR product, which is totally inferior and a copycat product that’s popped up in 1 year after FucoTHIN’s 7 YEARS of scientific research on animals AND humans.) Then these sites outright LIE about Garden of Life and no one can do a thing about their lies.

    So after sifting through the first 10 or so results Google gives you, finally by page two you’ll find the TRUE sites that give TRUTHFUL infomation about the product along with selling it which is why most people typed in the word “FucoTHIN” in the first place!

    My site’s ranked #14 – http://win-edge.com/fucothin.shtml
    There are only 2 sites before me that are true Garden of Life resellers. (One of the sites they put in TWICE which was redundant and wasteful!) The rest have NOTHING to do with Fucothin. What gives with that? Sounds like they’re already personalizing. Only it’s for the BAD sites, instead of the good, TRUTHFUL sites! WHY?

  • http://www.probook.ca/ Canadian American

    Search wiki is the devil.

  • http://www.bethelshopfitting.com.au Shop Fittings

    This is a sorry policy. It’s only going to make the big companies with lobbyist at the top.

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