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Google gets Personal, Quick, and Snappy

December 14, 2009

…but have they also got sloppy? Last week, Google made three interesting announcements regarding search marketing. Here’s a quick summary, and some thoughts around these:

1. Personalized Search
It seemed inevitable that search needed to evolve from a general to a more personalized level. Google’s Personalized Search attempts to do just that by using past search history to serve up more relevant results for each individual. This is the case regardless of whether you are signed into Google or not, and it seems that Google have made the opt-out process quite difficult to figure out (not to mention that most searchers will likely be oblivious to it). This, of course, brings up the question of privacy, even more so since there has been talk of cookies being opt-in in Europe in 2011.

What does this mean for SEOs?
Results can now rank higher or lower based upon an individual’s past click behaviour rather than just the search algorithm. This makes SEO harder to optimize for (even more so than before) and can make SEO measurement more complex; measures of success will need to move beyond a traditional rank metric.

To see more, watch Google’s Personalized Search Video.

2. Real-Time Search
Relevance has always been a big factor in good search results, but with the continued rise of social media, recency is becoming more and more important.

Google’s Real-Time Search results sit in the middle of the SERP and automatically flow as new information comes in, mainly from Twitter (though it also includes results from Google News, Google Blog Search, Friend Feed updates and others). Alternatively, you can also click on “Show options” and “Latest” to see a page just with real-time results. Here’s what it looks like:

Although the results are integrated into the SERP, execution doesn’t seem to be the cleanest – which begs the question of whether Google launched real-time search as a knee jerk reaction to Bing. Many reviews I’ve read have also commented that the results are below par and can be easily influenced, though Google claim that only information that is highly relevant (and not spammy) are included… though actual results suggest otherwise.

Other questions also arise regarding Google’s current implementation. For example, with the real-time search results appearing slap-bam in the middle of the SERP, will this mean more people investing in PPC in order to gain more control of their presence above the fold? And will it encourage people to spam more to try and influence real-time results?

What are the implications for search marketers?
Regardless of current execution (which will hopefully improve), search and social are becoming more and more intertwined. Quite simply, web marketers need to get their search marketing and social media strategies in order as the two continue to converge.

Read more about Real-Time Search.

3. Google Goggles
Google Goggles (launched in Google Labs) allows you to simply take a picture (with an Andorid phone) to search the web. It doesn’t work for everything and a valuable business application right now is questionable. However, it is pretty neat in a geeky, experimental kind of way.

Some of the things you can do include:
  • Finding out what businesses are nearby
  • Identifying objects, places and landmarks
  • Identifying products through barcodes
See Google Goggles in action.
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From → Search Marketing

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