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The purpose of this article is to tell you how much Google personalised search will impact your organic search results in the future. (Published 30/10/2011).


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Introduction

Google +1 is starting to take off and more and more people are starting to promote the pages that interest them from within their own Google accounts.

To promote a page with a +1 vote, you have to be logged in to your Google account and have clicked the small +1 button next to the webpage in the search results pages or from within the website itself. Once this is done, you have just influenced the way that page or site will be shown in the future.

 

Google logins

Google have a plethora of applications that require you to login first before you use them, see the list below.

  • Calendar
  • Code
  • Docs
  • Feedburner
  • Google mail
  • iGoogle
  • Google+
  • Moderator
  • News
  • Reader
  • Sites
  • Voice (USA only at the moment)
  • Webmaster Tools

As soon as you log in to any of the aforementioned applications, your path to personalised search continues. Everything you promote will be more visible the next time you make a search using the same keywords, pushing a page that would normally appear there, down a place or two.

 

How many Google applications do you use?

Google have a pretty impressive list of applications, which is only going to get longer over time. As Google create more applications and buys out companies that offer useful tools, the more people will be logged in, and being served a personalised search experience. The more friends that you add and the more they promote sites, the more relevant your search results will be.

Image what could happen in a few years’ time when you have around the same amount of friends in your Google+ circles as you do on Facebook, your personalised search will no longer be based on what Google thinks is relevant but what your friends think.

It could be quite a scary thought really for many website owners as they will be forced to make their site as appealing and relevant as possible. Gone will be the days of off-page SEO manipulation as pure page relevance will prevail.

 

Google+ accounts

If you have a Google+ account, not only will you see the pages that you have promoted when performing a search, but you will also see all the pages that your friends have promoted, if applicable to your search criteria.

The number of totally organic search results will diminish quite considerably over time as the relevancy of content does not get any better than endorsements from your circle of friends. If Google+ starts favouring pages that have been promoted by “friends of friends”, then you can start to wave goodbye to unfiltered organic search results!

 

Google gives you visibility

Google accounts for around 91% of all searches in the UK. Yahoo and Bing are around 6% combined and all the rest make up the other 3%. This has been the case for 2010 and 2011 so far. If your website is not visible in Google, you’re quite possibly never going to be seen or get any traffic to your website. If your business is solely reliant on online custom, you'd better follow all of Google’s guidelines and build a site that is relevant and has a purpose to exist.

So, if all your searches are coming from Google and people don’t promote your site, you’re relying on on-page SEO to give your site the biggest possible boost in terms of relevancy and content structure, this can only get you so far though. Off-page SEO/marketing that does not require an advert with a no-follow link will become pointless. Although Matt Cutts confirmed recently that SEO is not spam, I beg to differ a little as most off page SEO is!

So, hopefully, gone will be the days of pages ranking in top spot purely based on 100 external backlinks to the page with the “keywords” in the anchor text that you want to rank for. If you’re an SEOer at the moment then be worried. Google search as we know it is going to go through some major changes!

If you’re in the SEO industry and you’ve been using some not so colourful “hat techniques” to promote your customers’ websites, and got them in the positions they are in today, you might want to add a line into your contracts stating that “Google search is ever evolving and positions are subject to drastic changes”.

 

Are all your current +1 votes natural?

Have you bought +1 votes in the past to make your pages look more popular than they actually are? After analysing personalised search possibilities, it seems 99.9% likely that +1 votes will have no impact on un-personalised search rankings (i.e. not logged in).

It would be completely false to give pages a boost up the rankings purely based on 1000s of fake +1 accounts, created for that sole purpose. Google +1 votes will only ever have any meaning when users are logged in; this is when they will be used to shape the future of search results. And, with more and more people using Google applications, the number of your friends with Google+ accounts will grow at a rapid rate and as this happens, search will become a lot more relevant and Google won’t need to lift a finger.

So, if you have paid for +1 votes in the past then you have wasted a whole load of cash. Unless the people that have +1d your pages are genuine and active users and err, you know them, you might as well start burning £10 notes as it will be more beneficial to you, especially as the frost starts to arrive!



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