SMX: The Fear Hits Personalized Search
People want better search results, but the personalization technology that can enable it may be a little scary to the privacy-conscious.
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Gord Hotchkiss made a few observations about personalization changing search. Personalization is an approach that Google wants people to embrace through its Web History service.
Gord thinks optimizing through personalization will be more about themes that keywords. Beneficial sites will work on understanding user behavior better to provide them more relevant results. Black hats will try to take advantage of emerging issues and create buzz sites that certain personalized searches will find.
Michael Gray pointed out something regarding Google. Although Google’s guidelines say one should not use software to increase a ranking, he thinks using Google’s Toolbar and its personalized search do that anyway.
Michael has a bit of an issue with Google. He thinks Google is using personalized search to create Google junkies of people subscribing to Google product after Google product to influence and enhance their searches.
Tim Mayer of Yahoo Search looked at the broader concepts of personalization, and talked about how Yahoo sees the concept. To them, social media is in some ways an offshoot of personalized search. However, there is the element of user trust that isn’t taken into account with that view.
“One of the big trends we see in search right now is understanding the user query better,” he said of Yahoo’s observations.
Tim also suggested that for SEO, one should be thinking about giving the search engines enough content to determine the topicality of the page. Socially influenced results are simply going to play a larger role in search, inspiring a need for better content as well.
Matt Cutts said personalization should not be a surprise to search observers, as it has been discussed for a long time now. Personalization will not be the death of SEO, either, as some believe.
If anything, he remarked, personalization changes the game a little bit.
Although Michael remarked that the Web History service is difficult to turn off in Google, Matt noted how the attribute [&pws=0] can be appended to any Google query (ex. http://www.google.com/search?q=guild+wars&pws=0) and personalized search will be off for it.