Personalized Search Strengthens Need for SEO

by Matthew Diehl on December 11, 2009

Effective SEO Strategy to Beat Google

Bring Your A-Game to Dominate Google Universal Personlized Search Results

Some of the doomsday types have been trying to spread panic throughout the SEO industry by saying that Google’s new “Universal Personalized Search” will kill off and put an end to SEO. The same thing was said when Google launched Personalized Search in 2004 and revamped it in 2005 for logged in users.

I am here to suggest that the opposite has just happened.

Google has just made SEO even more important and that they have strengthened the need for an effective SEO strategy.

The way Personalized Search works is that Google will “learn” what a searcher likes and cater their SERPs based on click-through tracking. Personalized Search would not work in any way, shape or form without individuals clicking on the relevant, targeted results that matter to them. Now, how did those top ranking, relevant results get there?

SEO.

If some form of SEO is not performed on a site the chances of being included in the top positions of a non-personalized SERP are minimal. That first click is probably the most important. If you aren’t there to be added to a users personalized search cookie, then you may have missed your chance at capturing that user for, potentially, the next 180 days (when the cookie expires).

This, of course, applies to competitive keyphrases where, where you and your competitor’s sites rank are not by chance.

Example:

If you are Timmy’s Tiny Tulip Shop, I think you are safe on Brand searches. However Timmy, you should be concerned about how this may impact the traffic you get from a “good position” for the keyphrase “buy tulip bulbs”. That good position may not be enough to make it into users personalized search. Your competitor sites that have better positions and receive the clicks before you are now locked in to that users personal search results. Wish you had done just a bit more SEO right now, don’t you Timmy?

Good news, it is never too late to get started. Also:

  • the Universal Personalized Search cookie does expire
  • people do clear their browser cookies
  • people will opt-out of Universal Personalized Search
  • there will be new searchers

So, SEO Professionals don’t sweat it, your jobs are safe. However, having an effecitve SEO strategy has become even more important to solidifying top positions in SERPs before users start receiving customized SERPs under Universal Personalized Search.

Thoughts? Comments? Concerns? Leave Below.

{ 3 comments }

Philip Stancil December 11, 2009 at 10:53 pm

You dispel the notion that SEO is being done away with very well. I’m a web designer that is new to the SEO realm, so reading this helps me to see where personalization fits in with SEO.

matthewdiehl December 13, 2009 at 8:58 am

@Phillip Glad I could be of some help in framing the impact of Universal Personalized Search for you. As somone who is new to SEO do not be concerned with SEO being done away with. As a web designer, SEO will continue to be a valuable skill that you can bring to the table for your clients.

Ed April 12, 2010 at 3:48 am

You have really shed light on this subject. A forum post I just read was saying “….kiss SEO goodbye …Time to buy some traffic ladies and gentlemen.”

I am more informed now.
.-= Ed´s last blog ..How to Make Passive Income Online =-.

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