Ash Nallawalla's blog

SEO is getting harder

Ash Nallawalla

25 January 2009


WebProNews reports yet another Google experiment for selected users where they see a “My preferred site” link to the left of the URL in a search result. The idea is that users who are constantly choosing certain sites will prefer to see results from those sites over others that might rank above it. Users need to log into their Google accounts to make this possible. I cannot see this experiment from Australia so far.

Some weeks ago, Google allowed logged-in users to vote out certain sites so that they would not be shown in subsequent searches. That alone promped SEOs to speculate that Google may well take these votes into consideration at some point. Google is already showing localised results in some parts of the US and now here is the latest experiment where positive votes are being studied.

Who knows – perhaps Google could compare both negative and positive votes from a large sample to smooth out artificial voting schemes? At the moment, one does not have to log into Google, but it wouldn’t be too difficult to introduce inducements that will compel the majority to be logged in. No other search engine poses even a mild threat, so there won’t be any likelihood of users defecting to other search engines.

Such uncertainty for ranking-centric SEO was a common theme at the recent Webmasterworld conference last November. Many of my SEO peers are in agreement that it is a matter of time before two users will see different rankings owing to personalisation and localisation. Most reputable SEO companies are no longer offering a “Top 10” ranking, so what are their customers buying?

I feel strongly that there will always be a place for applying proven on-page and off-page SEO techniques to websites to give them a fighting chance to rank high for someone, somewhere. If these sites also do “the right thing” and offer excellent, sticky content for their audience, then high rankings will be enjoyed by most users. What do you think?

Ash Nallawalla

Search strategist experienced in large, complex websites. Ash's Google+ profile

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  • ??? on 9 February 2009


    do you mean the Green + when you vote for a certing website? i noticed it before few days, and it never show up again.

    I see it from office, cant see it from home pc. and the strange thing that i voted for a website, it always show the first in search results, ok how to remove it? i want to see the real results.

    Anyway, yes i believe they are not doing that for nothing, those votes may be used later, and this will make your mission harder , i mean for you seo guys.

    Thanx for this article.

  • Amish Keshwani on 11 February 2009

    Hmmm, Yes, I do think that, Google is strongly reacting towards the localization & personalization of search to give a better user experience & this makes the task tough for online marketers & SEO.

    Now, the page should not only target Search Engines but it should also appeal the visitors as well. So, for the better online performance the coordination between, Designer,Programmer, Content Writes & Online Marketing Professionals will be crucial. The better the coordination, the better the performance. One thing I would mention is that, now, SEO person can not be blamed for the failure of online market nor s/he will be praised for the success alone. Now, it will be a group task 🙂

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