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Google Personalized Search: Is It ruining SEO?

For those of you that don't know yet, Google has made a significant change in it's search engine algorithm. This change known as "Google Personal Search" uses a sub algorithm based on your own search history with Google in conjunction with the actual Google search algorithm. I'm sure you are probably asking what exactly does Google Personal Search mean for me?

Let's start off with a good example of how Google Personal Search works. Let's say you have purchased a lot of products online from stores like amazon.com and overstock.com and you are in the market for a new electronic device. The first thing you would do is search for the product you are shopping for on Google. Since you are a frequent visitor and shopper to amazon.com and overstock.com the chances of those two websites showing up high on your search engine results are close to 100%. If you do not frequently purchase from amazon.com or overstock.com then you are much less likely to have those links show up on your search results.

Now that you have an understanding of how it works let's look at exactly what that means from a more broad perspective. The first thing that popped out to us was that the small company specializing in selling a specific product or service is at a serious disadvantage to the larger businesses when a potential customer performs a search for the product or service they sell. With so many large stores that offer an infinite variety of products like Target, Wal-Mart, Overstock.com, Amazon.com then chances are that just about every potential customer has purchased from one or more of those websites in the past which will create a trend. That trend will then make it so that the smaller company has less of a chance to show up high in search results. Because of this change, smaller companies will have to invest more into pay per click advertising in order to be competitive. When it comes to pay per click advertising, from our experience, the one with the most money wins.

Another trend to watch for that Google Personal Search can cause will be how search engine optimization companies market themselves. Because websites that you go to are more likely to show up on the top of search engine results an SEO company can show you all their clients ranking really high for competitive keywords as long as they use their computer. The real test will be whether or not the same websites show up for the same keywords on other computers. I'm pretty sure that there are some pretty shady SEO companies licking their chops at this potential scam.

The real question is whether or not this is a good or bad thing. Good or bad is a matter of opinion and it's going to vary from person to person. On a personal level I am not a big fan of Google's new personalized search results because it limits my options. There is a way to change your preferences to not be personalized but to be honest I'm too lazy to do that. I also am not a big fan of making it harder for the small business to be competitive. The big companies are already spending millions in pay per click advertising and then when you add in this new change the little guy really gets the short end of the stick.

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