Today Google announced the release of Your World, which adds more personalization and social filtering on your search results. Google has also made it easier to manage the level and depth of your personalization with Your World as well for those who prefer unfiltered results. Adding social signals to search engine result pages is nothing new. Bing has been doing this long before Google. With 2011 showing many months of lost market share to Bing, it is no surprise that they have identified a business need here.
Check out this quick marketing video on the new functionality then read more to understand how this will impact the user and the search marketer.
Here are some of the new functionality that Google Your World brings to the table. Google has grouped these into three areas (read more at Google’s Inside Search blog.)
- Personal Results, which enable you to find information just for you, such as Google+ photos and posts—both your own and those shared specifically with you, that only you will be able to see on your results page;
- Profiles in Search, both in autocomplete and results, which enable you to immediately find people you’re close to or might be interested in following; and,
- People and Pages, which help you find people profiles and Google+ pages related to a specific topic or area of interest, and enable you to follow them with just a few clicks. Because behind most every query is a community.
Along with the new functionality, Google is including complete transparency around which results have been influenced by a user’s social profiles. Google has also included a toggle button to turn on and off personalization at the individual search session and the ability to turn off personalization as default.
How will Google Your World impact the search marketer?
As of now, the majority of searches come from non-personalized results. Google holds over 60% market share and only a fraction of traffic comes from personalized search. With Google encrypting the referral string of all personalized search queries, it will be difficult for attribution models to identify which keywords are driving traffic to your site. We are seeing the impact of this being between a lower bound of 2% up to 25% of Google natural search referrals depending on the site.
Measuring the impact of Your World
From a marketing perspective, we still have to focus on the basics of building a great site with a sound infrastructure that is easily crawled by search engines with compelling content that people like to link to, share, and mention. From a strategic standpoint, this update brings SEO/SEM professionals closer with teams working on social communications. Social communications are another area that search marketing professionals need direct influence on, as well as partial ownership. In order to influence the number of personalized results, your site must have compelling, relevant content and the ability for that content to be easily shared. Many sites offer social buttons on their site and manage their social accounts in order to communicate with people in their niche market. SEO by nature spans across much of the organization from IT, PR, marketing, branding and even HR (think job postings) so it is no surprise that social media is just one more aspect that SEO/SEM professionals must pay attention to.
Today’s announcement by Google is another in a long list of moves over the past year or so towards personalization of search results. Here’s a list of previous changes on Google’s march towards personalization:
- October 2010 there is an increased focus on personalizing search query results based on IP location / localization
- January 2011 Larry Page talks about +1 being a tool that will compete in the social media world
- January 2011 Google starts adding more personalization to universal results (starting with news)
- February 2011 Google introduces Social Search, a way of bringing in relevant content from your social connections
- March 2011 Google brought back the ability to hide sites from personalized search
- March 2011 Google rolls out +1
- May 2011 Google Social Search expands globally
- June 2011 the +1 button becomes available for websites
- June 2011 Google starts showing +1 counts in personalized results
- June 2011 Google+ is launched and circles start being created
- June 2011 social metrics are brought into Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics
- October 2011 Google makes search more secure by adding encryption to the referral path of logged in users
- November 2011 the Inside Search blog breaks down some of the important aspects of search query personalization
As you think about ‘Google Your World,’ remember that at Conductor we are always here to help you navigate the ever-evolving world of search marketing.