Will Personal Search Turn SEO On Its Ear?

Bruce Clay Talks Big Changes in Ranking Due to Personalization

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At PubCon, Bruce Clay, Inc. President Bruce Clay presented at a session entitled "Top-Shelf Organic SEO" in which he discussed the approaching future of SEO as search engines evolve into more modern ranking methods through more personalized search results. Bruce was good enough to take the time to speak with our own Michael McDonald in a one-on-one interview about personal search, which can be viewed in the video below.

In this interview, Bruce elaborated on the concepts mentioned above.

Behavior Based Search

Bruce says that everybody who does a search will end up with different search results based on their prior search history. Personalization is going to be "web-wide" using third party cookies and things.

He provided a specific example of a search for "java". Some are looking for programming, some are looking for the beverage, and some are looking for travel information. Theoretically, personal search will know that and provide results accordingly.

"We can’t search for any term and look at rankings because I can get different results than you for exactly the same query. So that’s going to change a lot," he says. It doesn’t matter if you’re logged into Google or not. Bruce believes that Google personalized results will be coming out within the first quarter of next year.

Intent-based Search

Google has been looking up your IP and revising results based on IP. They know where you’re located and can make assumptions about the intent of your search. As you get more into intent-based search, it’s going to change the way pages rank, Bruce explains. "The page that ranks for a shopping query is an entirely different architecture than the page that ranks for a research query."

Where Does this Leave the SEO Crowd?

"Ranking is dead," says Bruce, recalling his words from his presentation. Going forward, he says you’re going to have to look at analytics, measure traffic, bounce rates, action, etc. SEOs will have to ask themselves questions like:

- Did I get the conversion I was after?

– Did I really deliver on the promise of SEO?

Bruce thinks that in the first six months of 2009, we’re going to see a lot more implementation of behavior and intent-based search leading to a mindset of "ranking is dead, and traffic is all that matters."

Universal Search

Bruce ClayBruce says this will be the most significant factor of 2009. Google looks at soundtracks and convert them to text. They can jump into the middle of videos, scan sites to determine if you have video/images or not. There are a lot of variables in universal search, and some of these variables tell how engaging your site is.

If you don’t have video and your competition does, Bruce thinks we’re going to see a big shift in rankings. He thinks if the top ten sites don’t have video, they may lose their ranking over night.

Bruce notes that Google has been testing some of these variables, and will really start testing them a lot more in the first quarter, once the holidays are out of the way. He mentions the criticism Google took over the Florida Update, which took place in the month of November, and believes the company wants to avoid that again. He thinks we’re going to see a lot of "Google Dances" early in the year though.

The Impact on Spam

According to Bruce, this is all going to really help Google fight spammers. He says it will affect the way scrapers and spammers work, because if they are just scraping text, they wouldn’t be able to rank.

He also says that all of the variables that come into play may diminish the value of linking, which will certainly not help the spammers’ cause either. He says it will be a big win for Google, and big win for the searchers.

There’s no question that if everything Bruce talked about comes true, the SEO world will be turned on its ear. Bruce says, "If you’re not ready for it as an SEO, you’re gonna lose."

Will Personal Search Turn SEO On Its Ear?
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  • http://www.rginfotechnology.com Pawan

    Thanks for this post, your post about traffic and serp is good.



  • http://www.e-business.ie Ann Donnelly

    I’ve started to see a change already with Google showing results by location of visitor and have been working on a strategy that works with that.  Great content, site structure, quality/relevant inbound links (including involvement in social/business networking communities) will be important factors.  Thanks for the great post.

  • http://seopravish.blogspot.com/ Pravish Thomas

    Well its quite true that Behaviour search is on the rise. I know that Google would come up with more refined search to flush out the spammers.


    It would be much tougher for SEO’s as I truely accept Ranking is dead as Traffic – I mean relevant traffic and not bulk traffic, must be given importance.

    Behaviour search would be interesting but like the IP based search would make much tougher and challenging for SEO’s


    2009-2010 would be great to see the changes being reflected.



    • Chris Crum

      Yes, it seems that SEOs are going to have to do some re-aligning of theirs strategies.

  • http://www.spidergourmet.com Ryan3PRIME

    This has been true for years now! What I see on one coast and what other’s see is always different! This is not a new trend! And any SEO that never asks about conversions is just a technician… which also has value as the axe to get into the first page but then you need a surgeons’ talents as well.

  • http://www.JesseFisher.com/ Jesse Fisher

    I LOVE IT when the big shots in SEO industry verify what my gut sense has been telling me! 

    Really glad I followed my intuition and have been building systems to generate "engagement items" on my client’s sites for most of this year.


  • http://aplawrence.com Tony Lawrence

    Those of us who run honest sites with honest and valuable content have nothing to be concerned about – in fact, all this should be great for us.



    • http://www.diamondonnet.com/ Diamonds

      I couldn’t agree more :)  In fact most of our competitors who had paid links have lost their page rank and this is only the beginning…

  • http://www.marketing-real-estate.com Tom Lyons

    Google will basse it’s results on which sites are in Canada, and depnding onthe browers, will make the results, or show stricly Canadian, or maybe US.

    I can load three browsers and get three different SERPs.  Explain that to a client, I see top page results, they see second page.  I no longer just look at serps, I look at traffic and conversion.  We buy traffic, produce SEO and then work witht he client to improve responses.  All three number have to work together, because we can no longer justify the results, when our clients can see that they are different for visitors, they can’t trust what’s on their own screen or what we provide them, they realize it’s different on each computer.

    But the upsaide is, it’s means our cleints get more tied to us, more reliant as we understand more about what they do and how to get them results.


  • http://www.twenty20.co.za/bron Bronson

    I have to say that I agree with Bruce, looking at today’s search landscape it seems inevitable that the next frontier is relevance based on the searchers intent.

    This is not always possible for a vague term with several outcomes, but if you can factor in what the user was looking for in the past, you have a better shot at serving up some relevant results which is a win-win for both the user and the search engine.

    Less wasted clicks, less click fraud, less spamminess, less wasted bandwidth and higher ROI’s for advertisers are all possible with this kind of search model if it’s successfully implemented.

    A nice post and an even nicer peek at the future according to Mr. Clay.

  • http://www.giftsandglitz.com giftsandglitz

    I am so glad to hear that someone out there is looking out for the "searcher". The person who is actually looking for results that pertain to their request for information.

    I am a small fish in a very big pond. I think this will actually help small businesses like mine get a change to be seen.

    • http://www.sandyhaven.com Guest

      As a "searcher" I’m so sick of having to sift through a ton of sites that just list links to more sites.
      If I search for "French River Fishing Camp" I want the business owners websites. Not lists and lists of sites that are just full of more lists & links to camps everywhere. I was specific in my search.

      As a  small business owner, I’m so sick of paying all those top ranking "link sights" just to have my business listed on thier "Sub Search" site.  The more I pay the closer to the top of the page…or the bigger the add I get. It sucks!

      If Google could get rid of all those "Sub Search" sites, then the natural listings would be natural!

      Best Fishes

      • Chris Crum

        They do seem to be taking the approach of natural leading to relevant, which is certainly more in the favor of searchers than it is of SEOs.

      • http://www.transducersdirect.com April Dahlenburg

        you said:

        If Google could get rid of all those "Sub Search" sites, then the natural listings would be natural!

        - you know the simplicity of that is completely profound.

        What if there was a search engine that stripped all external linking away, devalued linkages, and graded on rudamentary content for proximity, density and was synonym literate.  Oh wait…I think it is in the works …MSN.

        G could be eaten up by M if they are not careful.

        I keep waiting for APPLE to step up.

        Hmmm I wonder if google search will know if I use a MAC? WIll they assume I am artsy farsty, young, hip and into social media…..


  • http://www.precisionprocess.com Guest

    How will this affect companies aiming for a global reach?  I’m specifically curious about the local seach results impacting a B2B site that’s aiming for a global audience.

    • Guest

      Two parts I believe to clarify…  Firstly, we play in the B2B sector as well so this concerns me as much as you. You are asking about regional search and how it will impact B2B sites which are global but I think your question is more generic… what happens to world-wide websites if search turns regional? At the search engine strategies conference last year I heard that Motorola had the same concern/problem – they want to promote Motorola.com and only that to all of the world. Why should they create a Motorola France, or Motorola Timbucktoo? I think the search engines will have a challenge with this, unless they are going to force web companies into multiple region sites (like eBay New Jersey for example) which I don’t think is reasonable. Exploring B2B platforms like Globalspec or a LabX for you scientist geeks out there… if a reader searches for "microscopes", is a result for Jim’s Microscopes in Wisconsin going to show up above Globalspec just because the user is searching for microscopes in Wisconsin? I don’t think so; there still has to be a component of relevancy and popularity.

      I believe B2B search results won’t change as dramaticically as regular consumer driven results. Most B2B buyers are looking for specific terms already (make and model), are performing their search on work computers (not shared by their kids at home), and have a real buying purpose. So if the search result doesn’t return favorably for "metal pipes", they will refine the terms and become more specific "metal pipes for sale". Remember, buyers aren’t going to abandon their search unless the search engine becomes utterly bad.

      I’d say unless your terms/products fall heavily into a grey area of consumer products ("computers", "software", etc.) stay the course on good SEO practices and add value and content for your readers/buyers. If you are closer to consumer terms, I’d add some supporting terms "analysis software for industrial laboratories" versus just "software" to separate the consumer from the B2B which you are probably already doing.

      I’d like to hear what Google has to say about B2B.

  • http://www.adacprogramming.com ADAC

    Googles been pushing for webmasters to focus on content for quite a while.  Any long term SEO had better keep that in mind. Eventually Google will reach it’s goal of weeding out other forms of SEO

    The personalized search poses a lot of search problems though. Just because I normally am looking for a particular product when I search for a term does not mean that is always the case.

    Java is a good example, Just because someone normally looks for java code samples doesn’t mean he has not interest in Coffee.

  • bvllets

     This guy is a tool.

  • http://www.webprise.com Derrick

    Bruce has popped the bubble over us all again…not really like many of  you who have stated in their comments Google has been dabbling with this for quite some time and they are a public company thats traded globally so its highly unlikely they will do anything outlandish.  Content and relevancy are going to be king so those of us who have been practicing this forever shall be rewarded and those of us who havent not been better get with the program. I do however wonder how this is going to play up 2 aspects of off page marketing.

    1. Social Media Advertising- What is going to happen with it and how much will it be affected?

    2. For the Internet Marketers with big pockets how is this going to drive the cost of PPC /Pay for Performance based ads.  Will we see a large influx and rush to those just for sites to direct/drive traffic to their pages…?

     just my two cents




    • Chris Crum

      Good questions that will likely become more clear next year if Clay’s prophecies are fulfilled.

  • http://www.q-tuner.com Guest

    What about all those webmasters with neat sites who happen to be not very clever when it comes to SEO? I mean, I am one of them and I don’t want to loose my ranking just because I am unable to tickle Google in the right places.

  • Guest

    1) You still have to remove technological barriers for web sites (way too many to list here).

    2) You still have to create unique quality content.

    3) You still have to optimize a page for its targeted relevant keywords.

    3) You still need good quality links into your (quality) content.

    Sounds like just a flashy title to me.

    • Candis

      … from the sound of things, you will now also need much more than that to stay competitively ranked, ie. video, flash, etc.

    • Chris Crum

      Because you won’t be able to simply get “good rankings” due to the fact that rankings will be different on a personalized basis. When results are static, it would be easier to apply specific SEO tactics, but when they are dyanmic from searcher to searcher, how do you ensure that a site is ranked well for each of them?

  • http://www.professionalseo.com/ SEO Company

    "intent based search" will be "based upon your past search history and they will give you biased results"

    The key word here is "biased" – SEO consultants like myself have seen these changes coming for awhile but dont assume that it is a good thing. In the above example say I am a Java programmer but have recently decided to take a trip to the Indonesian island of "Java" or simply want to buy some coffee to help me stay up all night coding – that means I will have to scroll though dozens of pages of irrelevant programming results to find something related to my trip. of course, refining the search would be easier but my issue with this is simply that Google like all big behemoth corporations assume that we are all little children that need to spoon-fed rather than letting we as individuals have a more pro-active role in our self-determination. Just because previously I had clicked on a particular result before does not necesarrily mean that will determine any kind of "preferrence" that I want given to me in the future yet in this scenerio because I had clicked on a particular site in the results before makes it more likely that same site will come up again in the searches. However if I liked the site to begin with I most likely would have bookmarked it and am looking for alternate views. Or perhaps I was married before and when searching for "flowers" and had bought my wife red roses. Now when I search for flowers I will be more likely to get "red rose" results but now we are divorced and my new girlfriend likes daisies. Similarly unless you are using DSL or cable then i.p. addresses change or perhaps I am using an internet cafe. Do i have to sift through completely irrelevant results for a given term merely because the last guy that used a particular computer chose a given site?

    My point is that while in some limited ways these changes could be useful, if implimented in such a way that Google gives these datapoints in thier algorithm too much weight then the results could be biased and skewed in a way that is not beneficial. Whats more these new algorithm changes definitely favor big sites because if a particular site has large traffic and gets a lot of pageviews than that is factored into Googles algorithm and makes it more likely that that particular site will rank higher which makes it infinitely harder for the "little guy" to start up a website and get any kind of decent ranking. In other words these algorithm changes (some of which are already in place) are antithetical to the democratization of search and the internet as a whole so they are not necesarrily a good thing if weighted to heavilly.

    The real reason Google is adopting these changes is because of thier complete inability to monitor and police paid links which "game" thier system… but they are the ones thaat created the system in the first place and erroneously placed too much emphasis on inbound links to begin with so they created the beast. They would do much better to improve thier ability to analyze the text and context of a particular document with latent semantic indexing rather than trying to pigeonhole people based on "patterns" that are not necesarrily so. This is the inherent problem with computers and systems based on computers is that they look for patterns because this is how computers operate but human beings are infinitely more complex and are capable of infinitely more variables than just giving me Javascript results when all i really want is a nice vacation in Indonesia and a good cup of coffee.

    • Chris Crum

      You’ve definitely made some valid points, and just like with anything, there’s always room for improvement. What do you make of Yahoo’s “open” search initiative?

  • Mark

    Okay perhaps thats a little strong, but I am not a fan of behavoiral search resutls.

    I am based in Australia and when I search google.com I expect results from outside of australia. If I wanted Australian based results I’d click the "pages from australia" button.

    Then theres the other issue, so today I decide I want information about datsun 180b’s for a friend. The next time I search for used vehicles I don’t want results for datsun 180b’s.

    Sorry but I am not a fan of the proposed changes 

    • Chris Crum

      I understand your point, but from my interpretation of what Bruce is saying, Google will kind of adjust results to your habits, so if you commonly go for sites outside of Australia, I would have to assume that your results would adapt to that. Please keep in mind, this is purely speculation.

  • Guest

    The sky is going to fall.. cmon you tools.. do you think google is going to completely redo the way they search??

    • Chris Crum

      Not all at once, but as you probably know, they gradually roll out changes quite often. No need for the name calling though.

  • http://www.bluelaserdesign.com Ohio web design

    So if you want to do business in other cities and states you need to have your website hosted locally in that state?  I’m thinking based on what he said by results returned by tracking the location of the searcher in relation to the website itself?

    We do business all over the country and it would suck to get blocked out of all the other possible markets?

    Hummmm…..  hope what im thinking is wrong, maybe ive just worked too late today =).

    I’ll keep reading the posts to see what happens.


    thanks, will

    • Chris Crum

      Certainly a good point, and a question for which the answers have yet to be clarified.

  • http://www.vesta-tech.net Philippine

    Nice nfo

  • http://www.thedealis.com JR @ The Deal Is

    "If you don’t have video and your competition does, Bruce thinks we’re going to see a big shift in rankings. He thinks if the top ten sites don’t have video, they may lose their ranking over night."

    This is quite a bold statement when some extremely popular sites out there don’t have video or anything flashy. But they have good quality content, what is really more important?

    • Chris Crum

      Quality is definitely important. I think what Bruce was getting at is that if both site A and site B have good quality content, but only site B has video too, site B would be more likely to be ranked higher. But again, this is only speculation.

  • http://www.mediatekgrafx.com Guest

    When people search, they do no t want results that are "smart results" – they want reality. Search results that encompass all answers – not filtered results. Why do people always want to train us into a world that they feel is best for us? If we are searching, we want answers – not predictable answers based on something else we searched for. That means keeping track of everything we were searching for previously – an invasion of privacy, in my opinion. I don’t want searches to have exclusions because I didn’t think of them. I search and I want all possibilities. What idiot dreamed this up? Another control-freak thinking they know what is best for us… they will tell us what we really want – because we don’t know – – they will use our sub-conscious desires for a place to eat out – – we were searching for photos of squid earlier – – – so now when we want to eat dinner out tonight – we won’t see one Italian restaurant. We will see seafood tho. mmm mmm good! Seach engines with backbone will reject this idea and re-invent the wheel by giving us what we really want – – ! Not what someone things we should have based on our past behavior searches. I for one, am disgusted with today’s inventions ignoring us as people, and giving us credit for having the sensibilities to know what our goals are. Our next search will be for "new search engines" that deliver all answers – not filtered, predicted answers based on previous searches.

    • Chris Crum

      The privacy concerns always come out. I do think Google is actually putting the searcher (as people) in mind.

  • http://www.hobotraveler.com/blogger.html Andy Graham

    I am world Traveler, do hope SEO starts going global, so the USA is not the center of search. Google.com is international, search results change radically from country to country, language to language.
    Andy of HoboTraveler.com in Bangok, Thailand with over 10 years of perpetual travel time watching the internet from the outside in…

  • http://www.kevintomlinson.com Kevin Tomlinson in Miami Beach

    Very informative.  But I ask, if someone has good content, and they are already ranked well–should much change?

    • Chris Crum

      From what Bruce says, it sound like it could change drastically overnight, if the site doesn’t have elements (like video for example) that are engaging.

  • http://www.longbeachrealestatehome.com Laurie Manny in Long Beach California

    Personalized Search Results is actually very entertaining.  I have to ask what that means to someone like me who is obsessed with my results and is constantly checking the seach engines to see where I am weak and how to improve my results.  This means that I am constantly searching within my industry, I have to wonder what effect that will have on my "Personalized Search Results"? 

    I too would much rather see reality when I call up a search.

    Currently I enjoy top search engine results and don’t think that will change with these new methods of search.  I am not too worried.

  • http://www.newpathweb.com.au Newpath WEB – www.newpathweb.com.au

    Some very thought provoking statements and ideas in the article. Time will tell what Google do with their search and indexing algorithm.


  • http://www.seoptimisation.net.au Eran

    Interesting comments by Bruce Clay but what happens if a searcher deletes his cookies and many savvy searcher now understand security and privacy issues and will delete their cookies for this reason, then the return search results will not be according to the searchers trends, habits and history of search. How annoying it will be for a searcher who is a computer programmer that is looking for a java code and types in java but actually is looking for a coffee called java, so every time he types in a keyword that related to his life, work interest and prior search history it will return only results the Google thinks he wants to see? Google is starting to move from the simplicity that brought them their success to complexity that will drive searchers away if what Bruce Clay sais is true.

    Furthermore if Google will start looking up IP addresses of searchers and revising results based on IP this be a violation of privacy and this might create some problems for Google in the future. I am not sure if many searchers would be happy if Google starts invading their own home and looking at their life through the search they do. This might create a shift is users going to other search engines that allow them to exercise their freedom of search without being watched.  This is like big brother in a virtual world guiding searchers without their awareness to look at results they might not even considered looking at. At the end of the day the entity that will gain the most out of this is Google. Don’t forget that Google is a business that its purpose is firstly to satisfy its share holders and make as much money as they can.

  • http://www.SEOBowl.com SEOBowl.com

    google has always been the closest thing to a practical, in-use "artificial intelligence"

    He is simply stating what we already know…Google is getting more intelligent, and catching up to all the new media.

    In the end, it comes down to targeting and content…good SEOs already do this, and should continue to, thus achieving great results.

  • newkid

    i`m a newbie to this website/ seo stuff so all this is very interesting to me.

    i don`t really understand it too much but just a thought on the java example.if you usually search for "java" in relation to java programming but want to find out about java indonesia for a holiday,couldn`t you just type in "java indonesia" instead of just "java"?


  • http://www.sixthsensemarketing.com.au/ Internet Marketing Agency

    Thanks for the great content and interview.

    There has been a noticable difference already from different IP address when we have done search result research.

    It will be interesting to see how this effects user satisfaction when all results are based on historical searches. Considering the average number of people that use a home computer is more than 1 who all have differenct search habits, this could lead to a search result that is not the best result for the user.

    Hope Google have everything sorted out before they roll it out on a mass scale. It will however force search engine optimisation consultants to be more focused on the end user instead of search engines. That can only be a good thing!


  • http://nntr.us Guest

     is when the top results of  google bring me worthless link farms of scaped content or the same site in the top five result and many times i dont know quite what i am looking for . if google can pare down the link farms and spam and take a stab at what i am trying to find. i will be quite pleased. 

    people who are looking for java, indonesia will type in java travel or indonesia, —or java coffee, —-or java software or script. i type in phases and multiple words all the time.  so that example is not all that good. 


  • http://seo.redevolution.com RedEvo

    Surely Google can only track IP addresses to the ISP level. I’m in North East Scotland. My ISP is in North West England. How will that work?



  • http://www.polyspot.com Simon Adler

    Don’t be fooled into thinking that this would work within any sort of enterprise, usually organisations need to be able to see all the results, and rank them accordingly.

    Auditability, Accountability, Risk, Reasearch all the areas where any result would need to be returned in a search result set to ensure true visibility of the overall content.

    In the intent based search you would forever be configuring the system to include parameters, or exclude them to effectively shape the search that you want to perform, this will neither be quick or easy.

    Search vendors are so proud yet insular in thier desire to constanly alter thier algorythums to say they believe they have the best one when in reality no algorythum can possibly meets everyones individual needs.

    If the vendors focused a little on how to categorise the results, and provide simple intuative interfaces, then ranking is no longer an issue in fact it is still paramount to telling the user what really is most important across the entire search scope.

  • http://www.mattchedit.com Matt Chatterley

    Hmm. Well. I’m all for more relevant search results – but if it comes at the cost of wiping the floor with all sites who do not have video – well, that would be a shame.

    The impact which video currently has on search rankings can be dramatic for sure – if anything, I would suggest that google need to do something to reduce this, rather than to increase it.

    Video is great, but it isn’t something that is 100% relevant to all sites.

  • http://slob.org.uk/ Kev

    I find it really bizarre that video content should get the upper hand against text based sites, especially seeing as text is better indexed and more relevant for results compared to video.

    These sites concentrating on just video content (okay some of it could be awesome) but the point is that search engine ranking should not be in favour of video format, this is turning into a farce if a simple .avi/mov type formats can dominate google for major or specific keywords.

    I agree on the shift on SEO changes for conversion, to me a big part of SEO is conversion, without it the sites are not going to do well regardless of how much traffic you point at it.

    This is where more relevant site content and inner/inbound linking will still pave the way but it should not be based on formats that are not readily indexed, nor should text based content be any less valuable than video content.

    Text is far more easily read than any video content quickly, remember we scan things on the net, we certainly don’t have time to watch videos to find out what the content is. Sites also need relevant text and video should be seen as a compliment to the main site text content but should not over rank just because it is present.


    • http://www.transducersdirect.com April Dahlenburg

      The new SEO may become VSEO …. VIDEO SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION… ok I am coining that term right here and now VSEO folks…it’s on the way.

      Crap I should go snatch up that domain name.


  • http://www.sensobilia.com Stevo

    I thnk we can see here that they are trying to match their algorithms against human behavioural patterns which I find exciting.  This is now about people programming, not computer programming.

    I believe the way they will rank sites is by their ability to convert visitors into an active audience, whether that be paying customers, article readers, video watchers etc.  This enforces their mandate that "content is king" not "linkage is king".  So the game is all about conversions and finding the content that makes the visitor explore the site, purchase goods, register, post messages, create an account etc.  i.e. a measure of onsite activity.  This doesn’t mean they are just measuring page hits.  In any category they are capable of determining which type of content works for that category and what doesn’t, and how much of it is drawing the attention of the visitor.  With these "content values" they can then calculate the value of any web page or site for that category or type of search.

    They already do this for Adwords, rewarding adverts that grab visitors interest and punishing those that don’t.

    So it’s not so much "content is king" as "conversions is king".  That might be tough for simple 1 page sites that merely list contact details and telephone number.  But there agan, is internet content merely meant to be a replacement for the telephone directory?  Probably not.

  • http://www.jjseo-solutions.co.uk Guest

    I am all for searchers being the priority. User specific search is a great idea in theory. The need to promote and encourage seo that involves good quality content to enhance the user experience is a priority I would say.

    Lesser importance placed on inbound links removes the seo manipulation of the search engines. If a site has a good quality, natural inbound link it will increase traffic to your site anyway. Traffic is after all the end purpose of seo surely.



    • http://www.jjseo-solutions.co.uk seo

      Just to add to my previous post….Video content can increase the user experience. Although I would agree it isn’t always going to be relevant to a product or service.

      To add to this many small businesses who often are offering a very high quality product or service don’t rank very high. Primarily because they do not have the budget for online marketing. If video is going to be a factor in page listings they are not necessarily going to have the budget to produce video content either.

      I have been involved with working on small business site seo ( for friends) often I have looked at their product and compared it to the high ranking competitors and the product they are offering is of a higher quality. This surely makes it more search worthy.

  • http://learn-search-engine-optimization.blogspot.com Uday Patel

    Bit hard to digest. Suppose I am looking for Java (programming) once and Java (Travel) next and Java beverage other time. I will certainly get preconcieved results thrown by the search engines – unless I type an explanatory phrase as java beans or java programming.

    It will hard for google to teach this semantics to amateur internet users who by habit type a single word.

    At present if you search  on Java you will get links to Java programming by loads and one or two instance of Java island as well but no reference to Java beverage.

    Rather then jumping into personlized search hastily – which will drain all excitement of search on Google it would be better if the search engine company offers more accurate suggestion on related search.

    On Java search Java beverage is not suggested in related search. Why not begin from here? Do all searches suggested have to be based on traffic trends? 


  • http://www.nuagerealestate.net Jessica

    One of the most anoying factors of doing any research in the internet is getting all the commercial sites.  Personlization would make it worse.  That is because we shop, do research, work, share our computers….As mentioned above it is impractical.

    At this time if a search to find information on the inner workings of the common camera I get hundreds of commercial sites trying to sell cameras.  Or if I search for a specific in religious history I get a listings on matters of theology, churches or bible thumper sites.  It makes for long hours of research and or looking at various portals to find different results.  Ridiculous.

    Has nobody thought of using a Meta tag labeled "category."  Every site should categorise themselves.  If you sell a product you should specify your market if you sell more that one type of product family label yourself a multy-grocer.  If you are an information site then you should be categorized as an information site or research site.  If you are a service site as such, or a social site, or manufacturing site or a health site and so on…..

    Hey libraries have it going on.  If they had not come up with a category system they would be useless.  Now lets not adopt their system since that takes a degree to learn.  But the general idea is something to look at.

    Key words by themselves can be worthless and they lack specifics that is why we get results we do not desire.

    Meta tags can be used to help the situation but only 2 or 3 should have any pertinent value in SEO.  Those should be category, key words, and description.

    • http://www.connecticutplastics.com Michele



      I really like your idea. We are a manufacturer, and we pay lost of $$$ for SEO optimization as well as have a google ad word account. I would be just as happy if only people looking for "plastic manufacturers" ended up at our site.

      Hope someone is listening to you.



    • http://rss-sourcing.com Sourcing-CI

      There is already a category. But nobody is using it. There are countless RSS platforms, but there are “do-it-yourself” solutions which took ages to set up, or some that feeds you by auto semantics, but are flawed at the core. The other problem is that not all websites publish an RSS. And blogs are not the most trustful source for your company.

  • http://www.moovinonup.com/ SEO

    this all sounds good and about right whether it will happen as soon as Bruce says is another thing and Im doubtful it will happen this fast

  • http://www.PremierNetClicks.com CSSteve

    I don’t think search will go in this direction. People don’t want to have their results manipulated in this way. It will just be too confusing and confining for the end user. If anything search is more likely to evolve as geographically targeted but this is not likely either because it will destroy the adwords business model for local businesses.

    • http://www.2bjewelled.com bjewelled

      "People don’t want to have their results manipulated in this way."

      I am with you absolutely on this but, unfortunately, I fear we are in the minority.  For some reason that is quite beyond me it seems to be already accepted that this is the way search should go; personally, I am dreading it.

      "It will just be too confusing and confining for the end user."

      I feel it is more likely to frustrate than confuse.


  • Flyboy

    Bottom line has always been, "Are the search results what the searcher is looking for?"  If Google starts messing this up they jeorpardize their 60% command of the user base.

    Realistically, the only way this could work is if Google gave you the original results they do today on your first search, and then customize the second and third searches you make basically learning from your searches.

    It’s certainly not a bad way to do search, but it’s not going to affect me as an SEO. I already concentrate on long-tail searches for my highest conversions. Google still has to deliver those to my door because "IP Geotargeting" will never overide the actual phrase a person is searching for. (Soon as you search for 4 word phrases or greater personalized search dies…unless someone invented artificial intelligence while I was snoozing) Especially if that phrase is only located on one website. I’ve held first page positions on every Google update because of my opening paragraph. This isn’t going to change that, and none of the updates ever will.

    Nothing to see here, just more hype and traffic producing histrionics by WPN.

  • Chris Crum

    To me, it sounds like if you are offering quality, engaging content, you will have little to worry about. I think the SEOs are going to have more to worry about than the little guy’s site. It’s going to encourage everybody large and small to increase the quality of their sites I think.

  • http://www.2bjewelled.com bjewelled

    "If you don’t have video and your competition does, Bruce thinks we’re going to see a big shift in rankings. He thinks if the top ten sites don’t have video, they may lose their ranking over night."

    What is this obsession with video? I @#~’@ing hate it! Along with "pop-ups" it is the biggest "turn-off" a site can have. There is nothing worse than following an interesting looking headline link or search result only to discover another bloody video!

    • Chris Crum

      Perhaps the way in which video is presented on a site can make a difference. If you are expecting text and there is nothing but video, I can see the problem with that. I have certainly run into that problem myself, although I usually don’t mind watching the videos. But text and video complimenting each other is probably a better way to go.

      • Rich Ord

        Kind of like this article in WebProNews!

        • Chris Crum

          My thoughts exactly :)

  • Mike Parker

    Yes, search will change. Advertisers will always seek to further refine their product and new wrinkles will continuously be added.


    However, there will not be major changes in the standard models for major search engines algorithms anytime soon, if ever; there is just too much vested interest in the data already gained to rework the whole way search works. Boutique, yes, across the board, I don’t think so.

  • http://www.freelanceadminsupport.com Dawn

    If these changes truly bring down some of the spammers then I am all for it! Technology is forever changing and to be in this industry, it’s our responsibility to keep up with it despite the annoyance.


  • http://www.seochester.co.uk/search-engine-optimisation.html SEO Chester

    "leading to a mindset of "ranking is dead, and traffic is all that matters." – I’m sorry but statements like that don’t wash with me.

    Where does traffic come from???

    …Traffic comes having a prominent presence in the SERPS and ranking well, yes the way ranks are generated will change, for sure, there has been ongoing changes for years and this will only increase.

    …"Ranking is dead" is a totally contradictive statement that will never come to fruition because it’s just truly nonsense.

    Anyway, a great post Chris thank’s, it’s seems to be creating a good buzz here and is the most commented on WebProNews article I have seen in a while :)

    • Chris Crum

      Thanks Chester. Well, Matt Cutts said in another interview that he wouldn’t go so far as to say that “Ranking is dead,” but he his comments did echo much of what Bruce had to say. Perhaps “ranking as we know it is dead” would have been a more appropriate phrase, but it doesn’t quite have the same punch does it? :)

      • http://www.seochester.co.uk/search-engine-optimisation.html SEO Chester

        Thank’s for the reply Chris, I follow your news articles with great interest on a daily basis.

        Yea I had watched the Matt Cutts interview you mention, a great interview.

        I love the way Mike made Matt "confirm" he turned up especially to see his session, haha.)

        A lot of interesting comments from Matt in that interview, and you are 100% right in saying "ranking as we know it is dead" would be a more accurate definition, I kinda agree with that way of putting it but in some ways it’s just a more "punchy" way of saying that ‘things are moving on and evolving’ as they have been and allways will.

        I believe that all is heading in the right direction in a possitive way for SEO’s, searchers and the big G. Personalized search will be a massive step forward towards providing what Google’s whole aim is – better and more targeted SERPS for people to find the information they are after.

        From an SEO’s point of view I think the role of an SEO will just carry on evolving, like it has had to over the last few years, along with the algorithms and the whole search business. There’s nothing wrong with an SEO having to be a bit more diverse in their role to achieve results and this is is really just a good thing.

        "In SEO every days a school day" – Allways been this way and won’t ever change, it’s what makes being an SEO interesting to me. :)

    • http://www.seobycanz.com Best SEO San Diego

      Good point SEO Chester, this is like saying or thinking that any traffic is better than no traffic.

      I’m always explaining to clients, that it’s better to have less traffic and more sales, than mega traffic that only uses up their bandwidth or steals their content or images.

      Content has always been, and will always be king of seo, so thats nothing new, and like others have said I can’t stand videos, didn’t even watch the one for this post, and no way can I see that a site with 30×10 minute videos and little other content would rank higher than 30 pages of good content.

      Regards Lynny

  • http://www.businesscapitalforyou.com business capital for you

    well bruce Talks about allot of different avenues it can go, I’ve never heard of him until tonight.of course i’m not even doing seo,

    i checked him out and his site. wasn’t impressed. there was a hell of allot of keyword planting, and the tools are everywhere on the net. his idea of google turning the dials is expected as they are very productive, and maybe especially now considering its a buyout world right now.

    content,structure, and search engine friendliness’s and advertising will always go along way.

    as for Geo targeting..everyone has a choice.. and it can make or break the way a company does its business.

    OK..done rambling.



  • http://www.seo-freelance.co.uk SEO Freelance

    I think behaviourally tracked search can only help. if I am trying to get Java software to the the top of the SERPs I don’t want Java coffee in the results. Certainly no end to PR just another factor to include in the planning stage

  • http://www.gurung.net/search_engine_optimisation Search Engine Optimisation

    SEO stuff is alien to me. I dont know where to start things.

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