Personalized Search seems to be popping its head up in marketing circles as well as search engine development news. So, what is Personalized Search and how is it going to affect the future of how we Google, Yahoo, LiveSearch and Ask? Basically it is the fine-tuning of search results and advertising based on an individual's preferences, demographic information and other factors. As the technology evolves, the better a search engine understands a user's interests and preferences, the better able it is to target search results, advertising, sponsored links and so forth.
The same techniques used in personalizing web content are now being used to make search more personal. The process is not an easy one as it requires technology to learn a user's preferences and then automatically apply that knowledge to the universe of web content, advertising and sponsored links. Each Search Engine has their own specific algorithm and technology to do this, but they all require the ability to the following
- Determine preference and demographic information from users in a way that does not interfere with their online experience.
- Analyze content and advertising traits are the best predictors of relevance for users.
- Categorize and filter content based on those characteristics.
- Present results in a way that is easy for users to understand.
The end result of applying personalization to search technology is an enhanced search experience with:
- Sponsored links that are targeted at users based on their tastes, interests and recent search histories to increase the likelihood of a click through.
- Ads based on user preferences as well as terms entered by users.
- Premium paid inclusion that targets search results at higher quality prospects.
- Web search results that can be organized by style, meaning, category, etc. and can be presented under a personal results tab so as not to displace unfiltered results.
As search constantly changes and evolves, so must our marketing tactics. By staying ahead of the curve and following its course, we can provide higher visibility to websites that need to be seen and people want to see. I don't believe this will change SEO drastically as organic search and ads will continue to be prevalent within this new technology. After all, evolution is a necessary part of the world of online search.