It’s personal – but doesn’t end SEO

I might be a late to the party on this one but it randomly entered into a conversation today, and since I’ve been truly rubbish at posting I thought I would do my 2 cents (or 2 pence, kroners, Euros…whichever rocks your boat) on Google personalised search.

To be honest I really don’t get what all the fuss is about. Why do SEOs still fear personlised search? Surely people don’t still think it will take away the need to optimise your website for the search engines? If anything it quantifies the need for optimisation.

Personalised search is PERSONAL, doesn’t mean you won’t appear in the SERPs for what you have optimised for. It just means you really need to make sure you pay CLOSE attention to relevancy and not freakin optimise for something that is not relevant to your business/service or product. Making sure you target the right keywords for the right pages, oh and don’t have a crappy designed website that has the usability of Russian built car.

Basically the Title and meta description (your Free ad in the organic SERPs) will become even MORE important as this is what gets the Click Through. As personalised search is mostly based on actual CLICK throughs. The relevancy and how you write these will very much determine that CLICK through. Then you also need to have a GOOD website that makes sure the user doesn’t bounce back in 0.002 seconds and makes the search “invalid”.

Personalised search is nothing to fear for white hat SEO’s that wants to rank for RELEVANT terms. Its Google’s way of bringing INTENT into the algorithm and (hoping) to get rid of all the stuff people don’t want, it’s all about relevancy. A site that is perfectly relevant to a search result will ALWAYS rank high. Yep, even with personalised search where the user has developed “preferences”. If your site is relevant for the search terms you will be the site preferred by the user anyway.

The same rules as always apply to optimising for personalised search: quality content, keyword targeting and mapping, optimisation of the increasingly important title and meta description. In addition you might do well out of prompting your users to bookmark your site, making your site more interactive (that doesn’t mean ALL in flash by the way) and obviously attract links to your site from other relevant sites that the user might visit, Brand awareness and all that jazz.

So to summaries; does personalised search make SEO redundant?

Does it bullocks!

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3 Responses to “It’s personal – but doesn’t end SEO”

  1. Tom Schmitz says:

    Lisa,

    Remember Junior High School, or whatever they call it on your side of the pond? Remember the dances? The boys stood on one side of the room. The girls stood on the other side of the room. They exchanged awkward glances at each other until someone built up enough nerve to cross that big empty seemingly endless floor and ask someone to dance. God that was hell.

    You did not know what to expect. Will she say yes or no? What do I do if she laughs in my face. If she does say yes, what does that mean? Are we going steady? Do I wait for a song I really like? When is it too late into a song to ask?

    Personalized search isn’t not quite unlike that.

    SEOs are on one side of the room. Personalized search results are on the other side of the room.

    They’re both awkwardly staring at each other. The SEO folks are trying to figure out how to go about it and whether or not it is worth it. The search engines are trying to figure-out how to get the results right and when to display them.

    Of course there are the ones who have embraced personalized search and are already mobilizing psSEO strategies. Those are the kids who skipped the awkward bits and went straight to behind the gym to make-out.

  2. Ha ha nice one Tom, and dear god I do remember those dances. But I never waited for the boys to ask, I just marched straight up to the boys and asked if anyone wanted a fight…erm I mean dance.

    I agree, it’s nothing to fear, just make a strategy, think about it and be more careful than ever about what keywords you target. I still get pissed off when I see a site optimised for a unrelated term that is not relevant to the page it lands for. If people paid half as much attention to their SEO strategies as to their Paid search, I tell you the results would be amazing.

    Thanks for commenting Tom!

  3. g1smd says:

    *** …and asked if anyone wanted a fight… ***

    I can quite believe that. LOL.

    Once a Viking. Always a Viking.

    Ahem.

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