Earlier this month, Google launched personalized results by default for all users. This basically means that Google can deliver unique results to each user based on the sites they have previously visited.
Until now, search engines have basically delivered the same results to everybody. Two different people could search for “Dan Kennedy” and get back the same set of results.
The days of “normal” search results that everyone sees are now over. Personalized results are the “new normal,” and the change is going to shift the search world and society in general in unpredictable ways.
This is the biggest change that has ever happened in search engines, and there was barely any talk about it. If you are lucky enough to live outside of my world of SEO geeks and tech fanatics, you probably didn’t even know it happened
Let’s do a brief analysis:
Checking Your Rank in Google is Not as Accurate
This is what’s gonna frustrate the heck out of most of you. Just because your website pops up at the top of your search results, doesn’t necessarily mean that all of your potential customers will see it there also. If they frequent a competitors site, then that site could show above yours in their search results.
However, rank tracking has always been about establishing a baseline, not about exact results. So, if you’ve been using this information to see how you fluctuate in the “normal” results, it’s still solid for that purpose.
The Big Players Will Get Even Bigger
Those at the top of the search results for their industry’s most popular keywords are likely to benefit the most from this change. The longer tail queries that would once have shown more alternative sources will now bring up those “previously visited” sites when previously they wouldn’t have earned a top position.
This will likely contribute to some lowered diversity in the results, but can also help fight against spammy results from low quality republishers.
Paid Traffic Could Boost SEO
If Google is tracking what websites a user has visited before, and using that data in their search results…it makes sense to get as many people to your site ASAP, right?
So What Should You Do Differently in Your Campaigns?
Get as many visitors…and get them as fast as you can.
Google hasn’t said how they’re tracking visitors (and my guess is they never will), but for now we can assume that any way you can drag a visitor to your site and give them a good experience will give you a boost in the personalized results.
You can do this through paid ads (i.e. search engines, banner ads, sponsored email blasts, etc), social media, direct mail, etc. Anything and everything to get as many people to your site as possible…right now.
As I said, this went largely unreported, so you can take action now and get a jump on the competition.