A group of SEOs is testing the impact that personalized search has on a search results page. David Harry, posting today on his blog, has shared some of the preliminary findings while also admitting that the testing is in its early stages and there are “no definitive answers” to be found yet. That said, it still makes for an interesting thought piece for SEO folks.
Harry and friends ran a four-day test using a series of related search queries: “antique lamps,” “buy antique lamps,” and “buy lamps online.” The test looked at each searcher’s location, browser, most common Google app used, and use of search history features. I’d summarize some of the interesting findings as follows:
- For the most part, personalization didn’t dramatically affect the search results. “There is no massive upheaval where SERPs are vastly different from one user to another,” Harry writes.
- The top three results were “rock solid” on the initial query, but there was “small movement” on follow-up searches that “became more prominent with each related query performed.”
- The top 10 results remained consistent overall, but the more queries searched, the more “instability would creep in.”
Again, Harry goes out of his way to avoid calling these conclusions, and downplays the findings as anything close to final. He admits the data sample isn’t large enough to really dig into, and says the group also plans more tests using different types of search queries. Disclaimers accepted and understood, but this remains an interesting read for SEOs, at least for thinking about the impact of personalization if nothing else.
For more on recent developments in personalized search, see these articles for our archives:
- Google Now Personalizes Everyone’s Search Results
- Google’s Personalized Results: The “New Normal” That Deserves Extraordinary Attention