Google Search Results Evolve to Include Personalized and Social Search Data
In a massive effort to stay current, Google has slowly and steadily added on many new features to search, taken a few away and mainly changed the way search results are returned.
It’s getting personal.
What is Personalized Search?
Google is customizing the result set you see based on your browsing history and your social connections.
Until recently this was an optional view, in other words you needed to sign up for personalized search. Now, Google has rolled this out into your basic search, meaning you get customized results whenever you use Google.
This is by no means new, however, you may be noticing this only now since the incorporation of Social Search and the Google Plus 1 share button.
Google has a variety of tools to collect this data, ranging from the Chrome Browser, the Google Toolbar and of course your Google Account.
You will see different search results depending on whether you are signed into your Google Account or not and these will be based on your past search history (aka Web History), your location (aka local search) and what your social circle has to say (aka Social Search)
Can You Disable Personalized Search?
While there are certain steps you can take to disable some of the personalized search elements, you can’t get around Google displaying search results based on your location.
What can you control?
You can avoid Google from collecting data resulting from your browsing habits. To do this you will need to opt out of Google collecting your Web History as well as delete your current Web history and clear your cookies. This is pretty complicated for most users.
Your Social Connections may be Limiting your View
Sounds like something my mother would say long before Google was invented. With social search elements in place you are more likely to see results your circle of friends and social connections interact with as opposed to a general bank of search results. I hope you like what your friends like, since your view is being limited by what Google deems relevant to you.
Well, Google is constantly striving to provide relevant search results to their users. With the rise of social networks, and Facebook specifically, Google looked for a way to make their results more relevant to you. Now this is not a philosophical discussion on whether personalized search is ethical, however user profiles are also being ranked and in a way scored for authority and juice. This connection is well portrayed in the Confucius Q&A Figure
Google Launches Google Plus Project
You probably noticed the flurry around Google + invites. Google launched their new Google + social platform that may be serious competition to Facebook. Many speculate Google will display data from this platform in search results in future. The platform is still spanking new and most people don’t really know how to use it yet. Luckily Google just posted some videos showing you the cool new features of Google +
What Should You Do?
With so many changes going on you should be paying close attention to these new elements and how they should be implemented in your online business and web promotion campaign. Either try them yourself or assign someone to test them out and get involved. One thing is for sure Search and SEO are changing.
Are you keeping up with the times?
Share your comments and thoughts below!