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Google Personalized Search Now Mandatory For All

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#1 Michael Martinez

Michael Martinez

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Posted 05 December 2009 - 12:49 PM

Google announced yesterday that Personalized Search is activated for everyone, logged in or out. They will retain your search history for the past 180 days. You should see "Web History" appear in the upper right-hand corner of your screen.

You have the option of disabling this feature if you click on the Web History link. You can also clear your data.

Danny Sullivan explains the change and uses screen captures to show people how it works at Search Engine Land.

Google is using a "secret cookie" not attached to the Google.com domain to handle the Web History/Personalized Search for users who are not logged in.

The gradual impact over time will be that unaware users who click on Google search listings will reshape their search results. Unless Google develops some sort of injection to show people new (fresh) content, discovery will become more difficult for less sophisticated users.

This move will undoubtedly inflate Google's page views even more, which is the bogus metric that is used to evaluate "search market share". However, people may now be able to gradually massage spam listings out of their search results.

SEO ranking reports will of course fall out of sync over time with what users see if the users don't opt out of the Personalized Search.

Some of us have been urging people to pay less attention to rankings reports and more attention to conversions anyway, but even the reports in Google Webmaster Tools will now become less useful than before (they also provide rankings valuations for click-throughs).

Everyone should study this move carefully as it will impact SEOs not only in their own personal searching but also in their interactions with clients and prospects.

#2 Jill


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Posted 05 December 2009 - 01:00 PM

Ya beat me to it! I was just coming to post this. Saw it mentioned on Twitter with the WMW thread attached.

Good news for Randy and 1dmf's Google Rank Extractor. And also for moving people further and further away from traditional rank checking as a measure of success.

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