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Google Personalized Search, Google Bookmarks & Link Building
There’s been a bit of a
panic among some
SEOs that the ramp up of
Google Personalized Search Results last month will mean the end of SEO. But
aside from the impact personalized search will have on SEO, personalized search
also impacts link building related activities. Some of that impact is
major. Link spam will take a huge hit, becoming (hopefully) even less effective
than it is now. Topical link building will become even more important,
especially getting your links onto pages where they have significant
relevance. These types of links also have a better chance of being seen by
humans that care about that content, and by extension, more likely to be
bookmarked or shared.
Speaking of shared bookmarks, have a look here at
Google Bookmarks. If you are
logged into your Google account, log out and look at the above URL again, or you
might miss the descriptions of what the service offers:
- Create bookmarks you can access anywhere
Bookmark your favorite web sites and add labels and notes to them. Your labels
and notes are searchable later, and you can access your bookmarks from any
computer by signing in.
- Save time with quick links to your favorite web sites
Use Personalized Search to find the sites you visit frequently and bookmark
your favorites. Use the Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer for quick access
to your bookmarks and to easily create more.
Google doesn’t make a big deal out of it, but one of the other things those
bookmarks do is help Google learn what you might be interested in. You’ve
bookmarked forty sites about baseball and two about spastic colons? Bingo. Over
time your personal search results will reflect that. This example is an
oversimplification of a much more complex and remarkable shift the engines are
all making or considering. Your habits while online help paint a picture of what
you care about.
Back to link building. The Google bookmarks service has
been around a while, but hasn’t been particularly well known. Now though,
don’t be surprised to hear marketers scream "we must get our site bookmarked by
as many people as possible that have Google bookmark accounts!" That’s a nice
thought and might actually pay off. End users already have several tools to
make adding Google bookmarks a drag and drop snap.
You can also make it a bit easier for users of your content to add that
content to Google’s various services. You’ve already seen this with those "add
to My Google" chicklets that slap RSS feeds on your Google Personalized homepage
or feedreader page in just two clicks. The same applies to Google Bookmarks. You could use a cool third party tool like the
AddThis, or you could just focus specifically on Google Bookmarks, like
this. Please click the link below.
When you clicked the above link, at the worst you got to the Google login
screen, and at best you got right to your add bookmarks form, where you can now
add this Link Week article to your Google bookmarks (please do).
Google Bookmarks is just one of several things possible Google analyze
and incorporate into personalized search results, as Search Engine Land has
already covered and
Google also explains
Search History — what you clicked on during previous Google searches
— and Google Personalized Homepage usage
is also used.
We have barely scratched the surface of personalized search. Imagine all the
content Google could try to analyze. Here’s a long list. Gmail? Froogle? Groups? Depending on how many search
related services you use and how many you’ve personalized, all the engines know
a heckuva lot about you, not just Google.
This doesn’t mean they will use that
info for search results, but imagine. Engines know the sites you click on in
the search results, the sites you bookmark, the feeds you read. They know the
places you’ve mapped, the restaurant you got directions for, the movie times you
checked out. They know the email groups you are a member of, the newsletters
you subscribed to, the alerts you follow, the news stories you clicked on. They
know the images you viewed. It’s way scary and interesting at the same time. Fascinating in its potential for us link builders and content publicists.
As to where personalized search is headed and the impact it will have on all
aspects of link building, I’ve focused on Google for this column, and on just a
few aspects of personalized search. I’m also writing an expanded version of
Personalized Search and Link Building, which goes into greater detail about this
topic, including Yahoo, MSN, and the social sites and harvesters. If you’d like
to know when it’s available, shoot me an
has been in the link building and content publicity game since 1994, providing
services ranking from
linking strategy to a monthly private newsletters on linking for
subscribers, The Ward Report.
The Link Week
column appears on Mondays at
Search Engine Land.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.