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Personalized search & SEO

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Saturday February 10, 2007 )

Search engine guru Danny Sullivan has published a very interesting article after Google’s recent announcement regarding the combining of personalized search results and the personalized homepage feature for users with a Google account.

For those involved in SEO and search engine marketing, this move could have some major ramifications.

In a nutshell, Danny points out that users with a Google account who have all features enabled may well see a different set of SERP’s (search engine results pages) to users who don’t have an account, aren’t logged in, or have opted out of having Google keep their personal search history.

Google is serving up results based on previous search activity by the user and other flags in their account and making an educated guess as to the types of sites that would most interest the person on any particular search they perform. So in a situation where you may be number 4 for a keyword or keyphrase in “normal” Google SERPs, when the SERPs under Google personalized search may have you at no.1 … or No. 10 for that user.

Danny mentions a couple of the flags that Google is using to gauge the types of results that a user might want aside from their search queries:

a) Content on the users Google Personalized Homepage; including gadgets and feeds the user is subscribed to

b) Google bookmarks.

What does all this mean?

As part of your SEO strategy, you need to try and get Google users adding your feed and also making it easy for them to bookmark your site and specific pages in order that your site ranks well on the user’s related searches. Bear in mind also that where Google goes, others tend to follow, so expect this degree of personalization soon from Yahoo and MSN,

I offer a couple of related tools you may wish to use. Firstly, my article on RSS feeds contains the feed add buttons for Google, Yahoo and MSN. Secondly, there’s a free social bookmark link generator on Taming the Beast which includes Google and My Yahoo, plus Furl,, Technorati, Digg and others.

Read Danny Sullivan’s very detailed post on Google’s ramp up of personalized search

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