I came across a note this morning on Google’s blog about their new SearchWiki. Some short-sighted people are slamming this as glorified bookmarking, but it struck me that this has the potential of turning SEO on it’s head!
I’ve heard some talk recently in search engine optimization circles that Google and the other major search engines are looking to provide more relevant data by getting to know out preferences. For example, if I search for “Java”, I might prefer to see results on the programming language, coffee, or the country depending on my own interests. If Google could find a way to tap into my preferences, they could start tailoring their results specifically to me.
That’s where I see SearchWiki coming in. It provides a mechanism for me to re-rank any search results that I get so that they’re listed in MY order of preference, and that sites that don’t interest me are excluded. As Google starts to build a picture of what I like and what I don’t like, how much attention do you think it will pay to (for example) keyword density when it returns results for me? I would imagine very little!
From Google’s perspective, this means that they provide more and more relevant searches to me as their end-user which will encourage me to use them over, say, Yahoo. For Internet Marketers though, this shift in SEO strategy means that sites now really do have to provide value in order to stay in the listings. In particular, how likely is it that single page sales letters will get shown (in spite of SEO) if many people remove them from their listings???
Now, I also consider the timing of this announcement interesting. I blogged last week about how Google had finally opened up how to do SEO (See Google Spills The Beans). So they finally come clean on SEO, then turn it on it’s head – you’ve got to love the irony in that! However, even in their own document they state:
Creating compelling and useful content will likely influence your website more than any of the other factors discussed here.
This is very much in line with other wisdom on SEO (study the SEO Mindset for more great SEO strategies).
So How Do You Access SearchWiki?
Well, that’s the interesting part…! Google are not making it generally available at the moment – rather they’re going to serve it up randomly to guage the takeup (see the SearchWiki FAQ for more details). In my opinion, this is a mistake as I could imagine that many of those who get to see the SearchWiki options won’t know what to do with them. I would have thought that a better approach would be to have a beta programme available to anyone who wishes to participate.
Google, if you’re listening, I volunteer to beta test SearchWiki for you!
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