Written By: Adam Dince
Both SEO professionals and brands engaged with SEO are well aware of Google’s personalized search and its effect on organic search results. For those not familiar with personalized search, here’s my quick description of what it is:
Google customizes a person’s organic search results based on their Website browsing history and some say based on social media signals as well. This means that the search results you see may not be the same as other people’s search results pages.
An example would be, let’s say you’re favorite Website is Target.com. In the past:
- When you’ve looked to purchase gifts, you’ve visited Target.com
- When you’ve look for home goods, you’ve browsed through Target.com
- And when you registered your Wedding, you registered it on Target.com
Now let’s say, you’re Googling term “blue-ray movie player”. Because Google is able to read your personal Web history, and it sees you frequent Target.com, it will most likely return Target as a top result for your query. This personalized search result may push down other Websites that might have otherwise ranked higher for your query.
Google’s personalized search has led to questions like:
- How do you as a marketer, optimize for personalized search?
- Can you affect your site’s rankings on other people’s computers/devices?
- Does personalized search ruin traditional SEO strategies?
In order to be successful at personalized search, you’ve got to get your Website in people’s browser history. And while SEO can help you reach your visibility goals, you’re not going to get there through traditional SEO alone. Consider the following tips and suggestions to get your Website into people’s browser history:
- Paid Search: If a user clicks on a paid search result, they land on your site and your domain gets plugged into their Web browser history. If you have a limited budget, start with bidding on keywords that aren’t as competitive
- Social Media: Make sure you’ve got your social networks set-up. Facebook “Fan” pages, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc, are all great places to promote your Website for free. Make sure the content surrounding your link entices people to click through. Furthermore, ensure you’re managing your brand within social communities where you’re able to post links to your Website
- Direct Mail: This is a no brainer. Send your clients mailers and make sure your Website address is prominent in the material. Also, ensure you include a strong call-to-action to visit your site
- QR Codes: That’s right folks, mobile devices get personalized results too. Ensure that you have QR codes on your DM and Tchotchkes
- Email: Leverage your customer databases/CRM tools and email your customers (responsibly of course) information with your Website listed and a strong call to action
- SEO: Optimize your Website in such a way that you return high in organic search results. We know that about 90% or more of clicks happen on the first page of search results and about 65-70% of the 90% of first page clicks (depending on the study you read) happen on the first three to four results
- Newspaper/Magazine Marketing: Advertise in newspapers, publications, etc. Get your Website listed in both print and online versions. Make sure your ads are compelling and drive consumers to act
- Display Advertising: Contextual Facebook ads and traditional display ads can get people to click-through and your domain into their Web browsing history
- TV/Radio: Yes, digital people—TV and radio spots still work and you can plug your Website in a meaningful way
These are just some of the ways you can influence people to visit your site, get your domain into their Web browsing history, thus influencing Google’s personalized search results.