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?
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