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Google’s Personalized Search

With the launch of Google’s personalized search every user will now get search results tailored to his/her specific interests. More specifically, the algorithm will actually be taking into account what you’ve previously searched for on Google, as well as the sites you have visited in order to deliver “personalized search results.” Yes, that means your clients will be looking at a different search engine results pages than you do, and so will millions of other people. Most importantly, general user search patterns will now be used to calculate your website’s placement on the search engine results pages.

As if it wasn’t hard enough optimizing for homogeneous search results, a new question to be addressed is how do you make sure your company is in the spotlight of personalized search results? Here are some quick tips:

Build community. As of October 2006, according to Socialtext.net, 40 of the Fortune 500 companies were blogging about their products/services. If Cisco does it, there is no reason why you shouldn’t.

Be helpful to your audience. Find out who your existing customers are. Once you have a “profile,” figure out what those people do online, and establish your presence on those sites: share advice, post unbiased reviews, etc.

Be creative. “Search Engine Marketing” will now be more “marketing” than “search engine.” Talk to your HTML and copywriting people and make sure they understand building sites for search engines vs. building sites for busy human beings. Come up with interesting content, gadgets or promotions.

If search engines claim they are here to provide end-users with the most satisfactory user-experience, as marketing professionals we’ll have to figure out what that “most satisfactory experience” is and the best way to deliver it. Days of websites being stand-alone entities are over. We have to seriously consider what the online community feels and how that positively/adversely affects your site. If users feel your site is worth looking at, hopefully, you’ll be rewarded in search engine result pages.

Greg Laptevsky

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