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Google Results Get More Personal


Google’s Results Get More Personal With “Search Plus Your World

Long article about the pluses and minuses of Google+ integration with search.

Some highlights for me:


Now: Personal, Private, Public & Social United

With Search Plus Your World, by default, there’s a new “Personal Results” view that appears. The view personalizes the listings you get based on both your own behavior and social connections, similar to what previously happened. In addition, content that’s been shared with you through the Google+ social network now also appears.

“The social search algorithm, and the personal search algorithm, and the personalized search algorithm are actually one algorithm now, and we are merging it in a way that is very pleasant and useful,” said Amit Singhal, who oversees Google’s ranking algorithms, when I talked with him about the new features.

You’ll know that personalized results are appearing when you see one or both of the indicators below:

The arrow on the left points to a message that, in this example, says that there are “50 personal results and 419,000 other results” that have been found. Some of those 50 results will be blended into the first page of results being shown.

The second arrow highlights a new toggle that Google has introduced, something that many of those who do search engine optimization have wanted for ages. It allows you to switch between personalized and unpersonalized results.


No Content From Facebook Or Others, But Google Open To This

I’ve no doubt many people will find it useful to do one search to locate both private and public information at once. However, one of the biggest depositories of private information these days — if not the biggest — is Facebook.

Search Plus Your World doesn’t cover content on Facebook. Or Twitter. Or Flickr. Or any social network or place where content might be shared to a more limited audience. Currently, “Search Plus Your World” would be better described as “Search Plus Google+”

Why are these others missing?

“Facebook and Twitter and other services, basically, their terms of service don’t allow us to crawl them deeply and store things. Google+ is the only [network] that provides such a persistent service,” Singhal told me. “Of course, going forward, if others were willing to change, we’d look at designing things to see how it would work.”


Secure Search Protects Privacy; Referrers For Advertisers Does Not

Google’s been focused on a bigger concern. Mixing private content in with its search results means that anyone searching without a secure connection potentially exposes that private content to eavesdropping.

And now the full story about why Google rolled out secure search for signed-in users back in October can finally be told. It was necessary preparation to allow for Search Plus Your World to happen today.


Personalized Is The New “Normal”

Of course, it’s a mistake to assume that doing this really shows normal results. It will eliminate personalization factors such as your web browsing history (if you provide that to Google through its toolbar in Internet Explorer), your searching history or your social connections.

But geographic targeting — which can be really significant – will still happen. So will targeting by language. Google has begun calling these contextual signals rather than personal ones. Both can be overridden, for those who want. But doing so will still produce results that are still tailored, just to a different geographical location or language.


Google Profiles Get Big Push

Another big change as part of today’s release is how people with Google+ accounts are going to be much more heavily highlighted in Google search.

For those logged in, they’ll begin seeing their friends appear right within the search box, like this:

You can see how for Ben Smith, a little picture of him appears next to the search suggestion for his name, which in turn is a link to his Google+ profile, if it were selected.


Advanced on-page optimization

Advanced On-page Optimization Tips

Following up on my earlier post about on-page optimization Rand Fiskin from SEOMoz recently made a WhiteBoard Friday video on applying some advanced techniques to on-page optimization.

Enjoy. There is a full transcript here.



On-Page Optimization Not Dead

On-page optimization for long-tail keywords can result in ranking more than a page higher in search results, compared to half a page optimizing with head terms, according to a study by New York-based SEO & SaaS company Conductor. They also found that long-tail keywords converted 2.5 times better than head terms.

You may remember the uproar from last fall, when SEOMoz purported there was a higher correlation between LDA scores and high rankings than any other factor. Some took this to mean that on-page optimization didn’t matter. It’s a topic that still pops up now and again; my on-page optimization isn’t working, I don’t know if it’s worth it… on-page optimization must be dead.

Not so, says Conductor. In their research study The Long Tail of Search, Conductor examined the effects of on-page auditing and optimization for long-tail keywords, versus optimizing for head terms or failing to optimize on-page at all. Not surprisingly, they saw a downward movement of more than two positions for keywords with no on-page optimization.

More at SearchEngineWatch.

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A Look at How Organic Links Have Lost Value

This item from  SEO Book illustrates the never ending changing rules for organic links and search engine optimization.

How Google Hit Organic Links.

SEO Infographic by SEO Book