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What You Don’t Know About Google Search That Could Hurt You

We’re excited to share this valuable lesson from Susan P. Joyce of Job-Hunt.org. Susan will be going deeper into the subject of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Job Seelers in her presentation at the 2014 Global Career Empowerment Summit.

Google SearchInternet Search When you type a search query into a Google search bar, the results you see may not be the results the rest of the world sees, especially if you type the same query into Google often – like your name, your business name, or your clients’ names.

Many people don’t understand that Google works very hard to provide users with the results they think that user, specifically, prefers. Gradually over many years, Google has customized the results for all users. So in any given search, you do not see the results someone else doing the same search would see.

Google tries to show you what will be most useful to you. It shows you results based on what you seem to have found useful in your past Google searches (plus your location). They call this “personalization” and, of course, it drives SEO practitioners crazy. Or it did.

When you click on a search result in Google, Google pays attention to where you click – your choices from the options provided. They note how quickly you leave one result to return to the Google search results page and choose another option (a variation on “bounce rate”). They also track the result you chose and stayed at, never returning to the results page again, because that means that Google succeeded in providing you with the information you were seeking. Yes, it is a little creepy that they pay that much attention, but they seem to be doing it for the right reasons (at least publicly).

Google uses the information they collect about your preferences in search results to personalize your future search results. And it’s usually a good thing!

For example, if you do a search on the term “Boston,” you most likely get results about the city unless you showed interest in Boston College or Boston University in past searches. If you have selected one of those sites frequently in the past, then Google will mix in results about that school with the results about the city. Or, if you are a sports fan, a search on “Boston” will probably result in entries about the city but also entries about the Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics, and/or Boston Bruins as well as the college sports teams. If you seem to search often for restaurants, the results for the same “Boston” search will probably include the closest Boston Market restaurant location plus entries from your favorite online Boston restaurant guides. Google “personalization” at work!

Down Side of Personalization

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