Posted on March 10th, 2007
Google has now imposed personalized search without an easy way for customers to turn it off or even know about it. This means search engine results pages (SERP) are no longer consistant from user to user rendering traditional organic prominence reporting tainted. While there are “best practice” tactics to deal with personalized search engine results, this is a very big deal.
The effects are subtle so far, but will become more pronounced over time. As a result of this game-changing personalized SERP transition, next Gen organic prominence reporting tools must aggregate a URL’s presence for keywords (and topics) across major search engines and multiple social media channels in one reporting engine.
The reality is that personalized search engine results page (SERPS) turn traditional organic prominence reporting tools somewhat sideways.
We’re used to reaching for tools like WebPosition, WebCEO, or SEO Toolkit to report organic prominence to my clients. Those tools are growing less relevant by the minute. I also use tools like Cross Engine to look through lots of channels and have quick access to lots of specialty search services. The search is on. What is the upcoming killer app which aggregates “traditional” organic prominence with social media penetration for a URL and topic?
This means that SEO managers will need to get more aggressive with “beat the algorithm” page critic tools to compare technical and content SEO attributes in our clients’ pages to “average high ranking” or other successful pages more than we’ve needed to. We need to adjust our thinking and tactics when there is no true way to measure the success of organic optimization efforts.
The beautiful era where we could measure organic prominence with near absolute certainty was perfect training for these times. We’ve always measured organic prominence and correlated it with conversion of traffic on the site to sales, profit, and loss. Now that we won’t be able to totally measure the effect of our SEO tactics on individual SERPS we’ll need to “feel” our average prominence more by traffic and conversion and operate blind.
It is comforting to know at the end of the day, our clients will still measure our success by traffic, sales, and good clients will leave the rest to us. Education will play a big part in this transition. We’ve been telling our clients about personalized search and teaching them what to expect tomorrow.