A few months back Google introduced its newest tweak to improve overall user experience. Google SearchWiki, enter stage right. This new option, implemented on a smaller scale, allows users to actually customize their search results. Users do this by clicking an arrow or an ‘x’ beside each result in order to tell Google what they were looking for. This information is saved so next time you search that query, you get to see your own, customized results!
I know SEO alarmists everywhere are quaking in their boots. How, per say, does one get their clients to the top of Google, if everyone using Google can put them anywhere they want? Chillax. I can safely say that this is not the end of the search engine optimization industry. If anything, this could be a step in the right direction for our industry as a whole. Let me explain:
-Now You See it…Now You Don’t!
Voila! With the click of a mouse I can change what Google shows me. I can say “Hey Google Bots, I know you spider trillions of web pages and feel like result #1 is the most relevant to what I’m searching for, but really result #3 is what I wanted.” The beauty in this is that it is MY result. And the next time I search that query it will again show me my customized search engine results page. Because it records and stores my responses and changes, it is learning about what *I* wanted to find, and what I typed to find it. This, ultimately could greatly improve Google’s understanding of user search behavior and really continue to improve their algorithms. Another cool little feature is that whatever results are removed simply appears in a little tab at the bottom, just in case you change your mind ;).
One thing I noticed, and I particularly like about this new tool, is the information that Google displays below the results after you make a change. Take a gander here:
The results tell me how many people have also made the same change to their SERPs. Pretty rad if you ask me. But here is also where some SEO related fears have started so surface.
-Users Choose and SEOs Lose?
That seems to be the buzz in some circles of the net. Some of the common fears and questions it seems like SEOs and SEMs are asking go a little something like this: If enough people make the same changes to their SERPs, will Google readjust the natural SERP to reflect it? If Google does take these adjustments into its own algorithms, what happens when competitors start multi-proxy spamming the results to make it look like users don’t find their competition relevant?
Right now, we don’t know the answers to these questions. But I think ultimately the goal of this tool is the same principle Google and white hat SEOs have been preaching since day one. Content is King. The sites that have good, keyword relevant and rich content will not only show up high in the natural SERPs, the user edited SERPs will also reflect this. If anything, if this change goes global for the big “G” then perhaps SEOs strategies will focus even harder around good, original content.
-Same Great Taste, Now With Less Sodium
So now that we know we can customize our SERPs, and Google is recording our search and click habits, it’s going to be harder for SEO-minded web masters to access the same natural search results page that other users are accessing.
So ultimately, SearchWiki is a fun new tool from the master minds at Google. But I don’t believe it spells doom and gloom for organic listings and SEO campaigns centered on high results. If anything, remember that SEO and search engines are working together to meet the same goal: Giving the user what they are searching for. Keep writing that good content and it won’t matter if it’s a natural result or an altered one, you’ll still rock the top of the charts.