Understanding Personalized Search

Michael Wolf’s take on Personalized Search (his “Personalized Search – The Feature No one is Asking For” blog) inspired me to dig deeper into understanding the real purpose of Google launching its personalized search feature.

Here are my personal opinions:

  • Search personalization is intended to discourage SEOs from using rankings as a basis of deceiving clients while producing less conversions.
  • Search personalization aims to complement with geo-targeting feature Google is already implementing with Google Local. Which results to display for football or soccer.
  • With search personalization, quality of search results will improve with time, becoming more customized to my search choices in the past. Think of it like Yahoo! Music or Pandora. Search patterns definitely influences future search results.

As much as Wolf’s blog is inspiring, there are also points he is using that seem to be off-tangent such as the “M” grades or customized bank account numbers. Yes, there are lots of wishes Google users are craving whether they are feature add-ons in Google Analytics or loosening of restrictions for placing ads at Google Adsense. And launching the personalized search was somewhat unsolicited since this feature has been introduced before (with the enable/disable button option). That is why the reintroduction was met with mixed reactions unlike the Google Webmasters link analysis tool‘s launch a couple of weeks ago that was greeted warmly.

I wouldn’t be too critical about it at the moment. I’d recommend every curious soul to read the Search History Help.