How the Filter Bubble Impacts Google, Bing Search & What It Means for SEOs
- under Media Coverage
In his book "The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding From You" and thought provoking TED talk, Internet and political activist Eli Pariser makes a broad argument about how the Internet and technology in general is evolving to keep us in a self-perpetuating personal bubble of influence.
Pariser cites Amazon’s and Netflix’s recommendation engines as two of several examples of systems that create a continuous feedback loop and perpetuate our selection biases. Facebook’s news feed is another example cited of an algorithm that progressively reinforces our input biases by surfacing content from feeds of those in our network we frequently click on, and suppressing those whose content we do not.
Pariser’s argument about the online filter bubble phenomenon has broad implications for the world of search. Long-time search marketers are well aware that as far back as 2005, searchers began to see different search results for identical searches based on personalization factors such as geography, searcher history, and many others.
By 2009, search personalization further expanded to become ubiquitous for all Google searches. But the recent and most drastic introduction of social results in the SERPs (and the prominence they are given on the search page) means searchers may be moving deeper into a self-contained search filter bubble.
As social results begin to proliferate in the SERPs, we continue to see more results based on our previous predilections (click history, etc.) and from our own "social bubbles" while moving away from the broad web-centric results of Internet search origins.
A Google search for [iphone]:
Accounting for Searchers’ Filter Bubbles
As an industry, we are still working through the implications of recent changes in search. The jury is still out on whether the addition of social results in the manner in which they are implemented today in fact add something positive to the user’s quest for information (all the more so given Bing’s recent announcement that they intend to roll social results deeper into search results). Some might argue the changes have, in part, given rise to search upstarts that are devoid of this "filter bubbling" such as DuckDuckGo and Blekko.
Read the full Search Engine Watch article here