Search Personalization is here! Wait, wasn’t it always here, but is it now “permanently” here? Well, it’s often hard to dissect how far we are into search personalization already as we work past the ramblings of many who are angry that search engines might actually know something about them. We also have to look back at where we’ve been as well, and as SEOs, formulate where we need to go into the future.
Therefore, search personalization is the logical next step in the progression of the top search engines and it shows that our content marketing efforts need to be fresh, fast, and – most importantly – relevant at all times.
Matt Cutts, makes it clear that content creators should strive to be unique (i.e., avoid duplicate content) and valuable (i.e., bring something new to the table) in his interview with Stone Temple Consulting.
He says “… that is a part of what our algorithm does: work to find quality diverse results that help solve problems for users.”
Then, why is everyone so upset? In the previous context, search engines wants to give us the most relevant results possible even if it is a little disturbing. I’m willing to accept the creepiness of artificial intelligence knowing everything about me in order to make my life easier via extremely relevant search results.
Like, when GPS systems became a featured component in newer cars did we freak out that a computer knew where we were? Did we decide we might as well use the old fashioned maps and pull over on the side every few miles? No, we simply appreciated the convenience and it probably saved us a few headaches and arguments with our better half in getting to our destination on time. It is simply the same thing that search engine personalization is evolving into.
How Does Personalization Affect SEO?
First off, Search engines are becoming smarter at corralling SEOs into today’s search model. The days of building out pages with content just to target a certain keyword, building some links, and leaving it to the internet gods are over.
Gone are the days of waiting for traffic to arrive at your site. Instead of building a website, now you’re building a brand. A brand that delivers content through news outlets, a brand that is engaged in social media, a brand that pushes content through email and through other avenues just to name a few.
Optimized sites/content are now the vehicle for a forward facing web marketing. Content must have likability. It must be shared and be of the quality that will be passed among the masses socially.
The creation of quality content, as well as the strategic delivery of content, helps to propel it to more people and help it gain interest. With this, one will be presented with results that feature their friends’ desired content and content similar to what they have searched before. If you have viewed content in YouTube, Search engines will remember this as with the content of your Gmail, and so on.
Now, some marketers may begin to think that “standard SEO” is dead. I personally think that SEO will never die.
As we move forward, we still have to concentrate on indexing, “crawlability,” and information organization. We’re only being asked to think outside the box and to create content of quality that generate attention. We will need to think more about the returning visitor and being in one’s web history, than so intently focused on the new visitor.
Your content needs to be more than spammy attempts to rank a page for targeted terms. Think outside of keyword terms you would monitor on a ranking report as these rankings will constantly fluctuate now even more from user to user.
Be the “owner” of a keyword theme. Build your brand around that theme and picture your internal pages as support for that overall theme.
Remember that Content is still king and being known for quality content will warrant a returning visit or shared content. With progression toward this knowledge graph, we have to also remember that search engines want to shy away from the older model of matching keyword queries to text and gain a better understanding of the meaning and relationship of text on a page.
This “entity” matching model shows that we need to think of a piece of content as a whole rather than the instances of a keyword phrase.
Churning out the fresh content
Search engines wants to deliver fresh content and personalize it to a user. Do you feed news to Search engines? Are you continuously feeding your standard/image/video XML sitemaps to Search engines to show updates?
This again falls back to standard SEO arena of indexing and crawling frequency. We have to set forth in promoting our content to users to become a preferred personalized listing but also remember we have to promote content to the search engines too.
Connect with your users on Social
Build a brand, generate a following, and do this with fresh and relevant content. Your users will like it and so will their friends.
Informative content will be passed by humans and shown by search engines. Have you employed Like/Share functionality across your site? Managing a site with no social sharing ability is like going to a networking function and sitting in the corner with a veil over your face. You can watch everyone talking and sharing but at the end of the day you were left to hold your content all to yourself.
The evolution of personalization will have a strong emphasis on social interests of groups as this will show potentially preferred interest in certain content.
SEOs are being asked to continue to do what we should have been doing over the last few years, move off-site. The days of “here is my site, come visit” are over.
You should be available in mobile, local, and now more than ever in social. Today’s search engines are matching intent with interests. You must be found at the point of adding context to content.