Question: I’m hearing more and more about ‘personalized search results’ and ‘filter bubbles’ as related to internet searches, especially Google. It seems more and more search engines go the way of offering people what they want to see, rather than the most accurate search results. The end result, of course, it that different users get different results for the same search terms. I have switched to using duckduckgo.com as my default search engine for just this reason. How is this trend impacting web design? What can web site designers do to meet this challenge?
Answer: Yes, search is changing pretty rapidly. In two directions – first, personalization. As more and more people sign up for Google Accounts, Google has begun to ‘personalize’ their search results based on click history, cookies, etc. Second, social search. Google is paying attention to who your friends are (especially on Google+) and thereby altering the search results that you see, based on who your friends are (and what they like or share).
The response? First, your average user isn’t about to abandon Google, despite what the pundits say about privacy. The privacy discussion is largely in the media, and isn’t something that your average consumer is really doing much about. So on that front, Google has a captive audience. In terms of personalization, there is little you can do as a webdesigner beyond trying to make your website ‘sticky’ so that they keep coming back for more.
Second, in terms of social search… the answer is Google+. By participating in Google+ and growing your followers, you can get your picture on searches (e.g. authorship) and heavily influence how people perceive you. Google+ is a HUGE SEO opportunity in which you are helping Google grow Google+, and Google is helping you grow your audience.
Got a question? Click this link to email Jason or call 888-993-1122. Dr. Jason McDonald is founder and Senior SEO / Social Media Director of the JM Internet Group. He teaches the SEO training classes for the group, and therefore provides most of the SEO tips for this blog. His goal with this blog is to provide an easy 'one-stop shop' for the busy marketer looking for tips, tricks, and secrets on how to get to the top of Google and Bing for free using proven SEO tactics. When not dreaming up SEO tips, Dr. McDonald lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, two dogs, a cat, four iguanas and twelve children (just kidding). Really you read down to the bio on this guy? Enjoy the blog.
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