Why Google Personalized Search is Great for the SEO Industry

A recent Technorati blog post poses the question as to whether the expanded Google personalized search will challenge the SEO market.

Background: If you don’t know about this development, here is Google’s video explaining the change:

In my opinion, Google personalized search could very well be the best thing to happen to the SEO industry since…well…since Google itself. While there certainly will be discussions on privacy, here are four reasons why I think personalized search will change the SEO industry for the better.

  1. Elimination of Ranking for Ego Terms
    There is a good chance that everyone will be able to rank for favorite terms with enough clicks on their web pages. The glory of seeing one’s web page rank #1 matters little if the rest of the market isn’t finding a similar search engine result.
  2. An Emphasis on Web Analytics
    We’ve talked to many of our clients about how SEO reporting has changed and the importance of web analytics. The proficient SEO not only focuses on bringing more keyword traffic into a site but maximizing the value of the traffic a site currently receives.
  3. Leveraging More From Universal Search
    It seems likely that greater personalization would mean a greater integration with Universal Search, particularly for broader search terms. If that holds true, SEO’s have even more reason to focus on the optimization of vertical search engine strategies like video, news, shopping, and blog search.
  4. SEO as Part of a Complete Internet Marketing Strategy
    Even though the importance of SEO is more widely recognized than ever before, we still find barriers between other online marketing endeavors within companies we work with or talk to. A comprehensive SEO strategy helps complement all facets of the online marketing campaign, from marketing communication to content and/or website development by way of keyword research, interconnecting online assets, and acquiring high quality inbound links.

The SEO Market’s Real Challenge: Education
In Danny Sullivan’s Search Engine Land post reviewing the personalized search he speculates as to the timing of the announcement,

“Maybe Google timed its announcement that it was personalizing everyone’s search results just right, so few would notice. Maybe no one really understood how significant the change was.”

I’d have to agree, and it was further buried with Google’s other announcements of the First Click Free program (earlier that week), and the launch of real-time search and mobile search developments (later in the same week).

The point is that there are many people who won’t realize what has happened. As recently as last week we are still explaining to clients and prospects why they were seeing dramatically different results when logged into their Google accounts.

But this is a good thing for the SEO industry. The evolution of personalized search provides an opportunity for good SEO partners to illustrate how valuable they can be to a company’s marketing team. While it has been a while since SEO was just about “tagging meta data”, that is still a misconception to many marketers who do not work with search engine marketing routinely.

Personalized search makes it imperative that organizations develop comprehensive SEO campaigns that touch as many online assets as possible. More importantly, SEO partners will be forced to establish goals and metrics clearly tied to how organic search engine traffic impacts the bottom line of an online marketing strategy.

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