Google has long been on a quest to deliver not just top 10 search results, but personalized search results. Google want to know what you like, so it can give you more of what you like. Just because something is objectively useful doesn’t mean it’ll be useful for you. Google means to bridge this gap through a range of different personalization technologies.
Google started out by tracking sites you clicked on in the past, then giving those sites priority. Then it added Universal Search, where images and videos would be added into the search results. Local results were also added in, so if you search for “Pizza Miami” you get the pizza shops closest to you, not just the ones with the best SEO.
Google Panda came out, which added a whole host of artificial intelligence variables to SEO. Instead of just analyzing a website based on backlinks and keyword density, now Google can actually “look at” a website like a human being and determine whether or not it’s a high quality website. It can evaluate the design of your site, the conversations and to an extent the level of quality in your content.
Then, of course, you have Google’s newfound love with social media. The love affair began when Google started looking at Facebook and Twitter as indicators to add to the algorithm. It then escalated when they added Search Plus, where anything you +1 in Google Plus gets highly preferential treatment.
As time goes on, there’s little doubt that Google’s going to get more and more personal. Your search results will be tailored for you, rather than just the objectively highest ranking content.
How can you adapt to this changing relationship between SEO and personalization? How can you make the most of new personalization technology to bring you more traffic?
Create Real Interaction on Social Media
Don’t just wear your likes or followers as a badge to be shown off. Don’t go on Fiverr and buy 3,000 likes from people who’ve never heard of you. Don’t try and build a social network for the sake of looking like you have a social network.
Instead, aim to cultivate real interaction. These real people will comment on your Facebook pages, watch your videos, retweet your tweets, +1 your content and all in all boost the indicators that Google looks at when they’re trying to personalize your results.
Participate in your own social networks. Host discussions. Challenge your audience. Ask questions. Get people to interact. Social media surely helps in building great amount of trust.
Be Timely, Be Relevant, Be Fresh
Google loves fresh content. A large percentage of the searches done on Google are about time-sensitive events. Even if they aren’t about time-sensitive events however, Google still places a heavy preference on websites that comment on or generate fresh news or content.
One easy way to leverage this is to watch the news in your industry closely, then comment on it whenever something significant changes. For example, let’s say you’re in the poker industry and a big tournament is coming up. You might want to do a series of articles covering the tournament, teaching how to play in the tournament or give tips for people who’re playing games on the sidelines.
Pure Backlinks and Pure Keywords are Out
There was a time when measuring your keyword density was important. There was a time when buying links in bulk worked. There was a time when all Google cared about was your keywords (whether they be in meta keyword form or anchor text form) and your backlinks. Today, that just isn’t true.
Google’s algorithm today is made up of hundreds of different factors. Manipulating the algorithm is much more difficult. Even if you can make something work for a few months, chances are if you’re cheating the system, an update will wipe out your progress.
The bottom line is, it’s time to start focusing on building a real brand that gets real people interacting. Create resources for people that people want to share. Create a website that people want to come back to and recommend to their friends. If you do this, not only will you have a more engaged audience, but Google will love you for it. They’ll send you personalization traffic, as well as rank you higher in their organic search engine.