The term “personalized search” seems to be the new buzz on the online space, defining a whole new form of quest. The starting point was the launch of the ‘Search Plus Your World’ program by Google. The premise of the concept was that people you interacted with within your community would have a direct influence on the search results shown to you. And the influence would be greater than what was before. As a result, when your friend shares a content piece that is linked t your search engine query, the link would surely find a place among your search engine results. Therefore, irrespective of whether you prefer personalization in your search results or not, ignoring it would be impossible.
Personalized Search—The Advantages
Naysayers have been repeatedly associating the advent of personalized search with complete termination of the traditional SEO concept. This however, is far from true. All that is needed is a fresh perspective. In fact, a personalized search is able to unravel the aspects we need to optimize for users, instead of concentrating on search engines alone. Therefore, it motivates us to concentrate more on creating high quality, interactive content for the benefit of users rather than resorting to link acquiring efforts for boosting search engine rankings superficially. The focus has now shifted towards creating more engaging and rewarding experiences for the user, and quite rightly so.
Personalized Search—The Disadvantages
Firstly, personalized searches would restrict your scope of search and force you to operate within certain limitations. Considering the fact that there could be other links that are more relevant to your search that lie outside your circle, this could be a disadvantage.
Another major disadvantage of Google’s “Search Plus Your World” lies in the fact that it has still not been integrated with the most popular social networking sites including Twitter and Facebook. Non-inclusion of this data in your personalized search would automatically keep a significant percentage of your contacts and friends out of the purview of the search. Hence, it could lead to a major compromise in the quality of the search results.
Besides, there are certain sites that tend to give an aggressive push to social sharing that ends up alienating several users. Something like a “forced” share for instance, on Facebook, is not likely to work in favor of any brand. Ideally, when you access content on a social networking site, the decision of whether to share it with your friend should be left to you. A forced share, just in a bid to promote the website or the application in question, would certainly not be well appreciated by most. And considering the fact that most internet savvy users would be able to see through it, the entire exercise could cause significant damage to your brand as well.
The concept of personalized search is a great way to improve the overall experience of the users therefore. However, it does go on to limit your options, by curtailing the scope of your searches, significantly.
About the guest author: Catherine Jones writes for ocnissangardengrove.com
She enjoys content and writing about the social sphere.