12 Effects Google Personal Search Will Have on SEO, Blogging, Social Media and the Web as Whole

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Image: Personal Preference by Kevin Dooley.

Google gets personal: Now everybody will get personalized search results based on their search habits in the past unless they opt out in a tedious process. So most people won’t opt out or even notice at all, at least at first.

  1. The rich will get richer, that is the attention rich. Those sites that have a brand and/or audience already will profit from Google personal search results. The sites people already click most often will rank on top. Wikipedia will dominate even more.
  2. People will get confused. “Yesterday it was there when I checked it at home!” might become a common exclamation in the near future. People switching computers (home/mobile/work) will face different results unless they use all of them in a highly similar manner.
  3. SEOs will finally focus on conversions and ROI. Lazy SEOs still stick to rankings no matter how profitable they are. Checking rankings will become even more pointless from now on. Conversions and ROI are key to measuring success now more than ever.
  4. John Doe bloggers will end up marginalized. You have below 50 subscribers? These people will find you on Google. The others won’t anymore as Wikipedia, NYT, CNN, BBC and Yahoo as well as Huffington Post, TechCrunch and Engadget etc. will push you further down.
  5. Social Media sites will get more user generated content (UGC) as people will try to get some traffic from the few remaining behemoth sites lucky enough to get clicked in search results often enough to get a push.
  6. The Web will become boring. People will visit more and more of the same sites. It will become more and more difficult to find new things, original sources and small time publishers.
  7. SEO noobs will try to convince you that SEO is dead. SEO is dead all the time. Even I said so, but I meant a different thing than the people who have no clue about SEO. I meant that SEO has changed in a way that you wouldn’t recognize it as the SEO we’re accustomed to. The “SEO is dead” bunch assumes that personal search results can’t get optimized. Of course they can.
  8. More group blogs will emerge to make sure to get at least the same attention as some big name bloggers and news outlets.
  9. Old and new social filters might re/appear. As people will want to rely on crowdsourcing rather than their own limited search habits they’ll look after ways to determine what’s good and what not with a little help of their friends.
  10. Google will gain even more power and your privacy will become a thing of the past. Google knows what you are searching for but now it will tell your family, flat mates or coworkers. So make sure not to use Google for that xxx stuff in case you want to keep your deviations private.
  11. The sheer number of people ranking a site on top will push it for others as well. Finally click through data will become the new Google PageRank. When 1000 people click your link repeatedly in the search results you can’t be wrong can you?
  12. You will have to optimize your blog for returning visitors in order to get search traffic, even first timers. This contradiction will lead to some new hitherto unknown SEO tactics.

Btw. Danny Sullivan expected this to happen since 2001. In an article called “Google May get Personal” he also explains why one of the personal search results startups failed though:

People “were afraid to miss something”.

My head is already buzzing with ideas on how to optimize for Google personal search (even if it’s still just called Google). That’s the great thing about SEO. It never gets stale. You always have to come up with new things to please Google and search users. Also most people don’t get it and thus SEO will live forever.

What tactics do you plan to employ to attract Google personal search visitors?

Suggestions in the comments might get used in my next blog post either here. That means a link to the source.