In monitoring Google’s activity over the 2009-2010 periods, we’re beginning to see a stronger push towards the personalisation of all search results. Google has deployed a multitude of tactics in order to make the user’s experience more ‘personable’ and much more wholesome. Conventional search engine ranking methods have undertaken another metamorphosis in the past two years in conjunction with the search engine’s people-friendly evolution… Let’s take a look at two considerable developments that could potentially dictate the direction of search in future:
Personalised search – The name says it all! Google introduced the concept back in 2009, although it hasn’t really changed in function. Last year, it was made obvious to the user that the search engine was delivering a result that was ‘Personalized based on your web history’, but after a nice little aesthetical makeover of the SERP design, the results page isn’t as indicative of a ‘tailored’ result based on your web history. To be honest, many users still aren’t aware that this kind of refinement exists which is understandable, because the average user has a “get in and get out” approach to search. Using Google’s 2010 interface, you can turn off customization by clicking the “web history” prompt or simply going to google.com/history:
For search, this reiterates a favourability concept for 1st page SERPs. A recent whitepaper that I checked out concluded that every search result in the top four positions is likely to remain stable with the personalised search option defaulting for Google users across all browsers while search results ranging from 5-10 are generally more volatile in their relative positions because Google is more likely to re-rank these when factoring in the user’s web history.
The bottom line? Personalised search is evolving, and while the impact on organic search is still relatively minimal – we predict it’s going to get a lot more powerful in future, especially when Google has been quite vocal about its local search intentions. This is where point number 2 comes in!
Google’s local search ranking factors – We know now that Google wants to make the web even more relevant by giving a leg-up to location based searches through geographic search queries. The search engine has masterfully crafted a system that delivers a highly targeted, popular search result based on the proximity of your IP address. The search engine can now pinpoint the exact location where your mobiles and computers lie. Pretty cool stuff if you ask me, but what are the ramifications for search in the future.
Well, it’s taking the personalisation of search to the next level. Not only has Google evolved from caching your web history, it is now giving you exactly what you want, when you want it. Think about it… When has Google ever failed you when you’ve got the munchies and you feel like downing a big, greasy kebab? The search engine will not only direct you to the nearest fast-food joint, but it will also offer an insight into the quality of the food and service through reviews of that location.
Two significant steps forward towards personalising your search experience. What lies ahead in the future? Perhaps university students might get lucky if Google decides to have a crack at delivering academic search results based on their subject criteria… Ok, maybe it’s a little farfetched but you get the idea!