Google announced that they are going to provide personalized search for everyone, no matter if you are logged in or not. SEO-wise this is nothing special as some might think. Of course this leaves a lot of room and ideas for privacy freaks. Keep in mind that Google has been monitoring our search for years ANYWAY, so these new features are rather a nice PR gig for the Germans than a new technology.
Google just announced 2 days ago, that they are providing personalized search by default for everyone – after that has been a feature for 3 years now for logged-in accounts only. Not that they didn’t track user behaviour since, but there was no way they told us. The impact of the searcher behaviour on the Google search results was obvious in effect already even before their announcement Dec-4.
Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land had a great post about it yesterday, and media around the world have been covering this announcement – mostly with the “Opt-Out” feature in mind and a lot of privacy concerns around it and basically rehashing what the google announcement said.
There’s also a lot discussion going on in SEO forums like WMW with questions like “how would I check my SERPs in the future”… WELL – as if that would be the key issue… (read below on how to)
The interpretation of search user behaviour is something that Google has been doing for while – not just since 2 days. The only news are the explicit declaration that they DO SO and that they give the privacy minded people some tools to turn it off. It could well be, that those features were enabled simply to satisfy the German privacy freaks, which are currently running rampage against the free Google Analytics product – or as the Inquirer said - “Do Germans Like Anything?”
The new personalized search for all is actually the old search we have seen. New is the option to opt-out, to satisfy privacy concerns. Especially our experiments and tests in the US region have shown that click-thru data went well into the algorithm of Google for the past months at least! The evaluation of bounce rates by Google (or the load times as said to be the NBT in 2010) is nothing new either for the SEO industry and in fact absolutely makes sense! As Google says since 2004: We should build sites for users, not search engines!
In any case, all of the above are clear signs that Google has been using personalized search already for anonymous users. Not just since last week!
Google got some heavy pressure from Germany in the last weeks and in fact outlawed the use of Google Analytics already… Well – imagine the german privacy guys would have found out about the search patterns in the algorithm being bound to tracking user behavious as well! That was the real mess Google tried to avoid in our opinion.
Now Google is no “nice” to provide opt-out tools and is no more evil again … that’s their real intent… just silence privacy concerns. They don’t really care about a couple thousand or even hundred thousands opting out of their tracking. With their new open Google DNS service they will be able to capture search and surfers (!) behaviour better than ever before anyways!
Google says: We’re not evil! thinks we just want to rule the world
For end-users they provide some simple means to disable the tracking (which is wiped afte 180 days by default).
For all SEOs, who still want to get their “unmodified” unpersonal search results the operator &PWS=0 still works according to Matt Cutts of Google – at least at the moment! So all the SEO tools of this world can continue to identify themselves as what they are, … at the moment.
What do you think about it? Is SEO dead because of this? Do you care at all?
How will the new personalized search for everyone change the markets of SEO and the Google world?
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