Personalization of Search Results

Have you wondered what the buzz about personalized search and Google+ is all about?  Read on to find out!

SEO Blog Bears cartoon for PBHS' Dental Website Design

In the past, search engines largely delivered the same search results to everyone.  Two different people searching with the same query would get the same results. While Google began moving towards more personal search results in December 2009, recent changes to their algorithm have expanded the effort. Google’s objective is to present the most relevant and useful content, and to better reflect real life influential factors like your personal history and referrals from friends.  This trend continues to gain significance with every change in search engine algorithms.  As more and more web searches become personalized, rankings are no longer the authoritative measure they once were. Improving your online visibility by offering fresh, relevant content to your local community is a key strategy for success as personalized search evolves.

What is Personalized Search?

Google personalizes results for search queries based on:

  • Prior search history including the search terms you previously entered, the results that appeared and the pages you visited.
  • Pages shared by people who you are connected to online, particularly those who are in your Google+ Circles.
  • Your geographic location.  Google auto-detects your location and provides you with localized results.

Personalization happens whether you are logged into a Google account or not. When you are not signed in, Google personalizes your search experience based on past search information linked to your browser, using a cookie.  Google stores up to 180 days of signed-out search activity linked to your browser’s cookie, including queries and results you click.

As shown below, you can see how the same search query can result in different results.

Search Result 1:

PBHS Search Results  for Dental Website Design

Search Result 2:

Personalized Search Results for Dental Website Design

What is Google+ and how does it affect Personalized Search Results?

Google Plus is Google’s social network, which operates similarly to Facebook.  Google+ allows you to create Circles made up of people of your choosing, and share information based on those Circles.  For example, you can create different Circles for family, friends, or co-workers.  The information you share with one Circle can be different than another.

Google is now presenting search results based on updates from your Circles, news from around the web and public Google+ posts. Recent changes have prioritized these Google+ recommendations, placing them at the top-most section of results pages, even higher than paid advertisements.

See the right hand column below for an example of a Google+ post and its priority placement.

What Can I Do?

Local businesses thrive on the recommendations of community members. As a business owner, it is important to:

  • Build and promote your brand online. Create a Google+ account for your practice and post to it regularly. Post often to your blog, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channel.  Continue to encourage patients to create online reviews.  Get your local community talking about your practice online and sharing with their network.
  • Create quality content that generates attention in your local community and do it often. Content is still king and being known for quality content will encourage return visitors and social sharing.  Additionally, Google quickly recognizes and re-indexes content that is changing fast.  Stale content isn’t being crawled as often.
  • Contact PBHS for professional guidance in this process. PBHS can design impressive and effective profiles for your practice that streamline your branding across all platforms. PBHS can even manage your campaign – providing professionally written articles and updates to interest both the general public and referring doctors.

In Summary…

Organic Search Engine Optimization campaigns continue to be essential by offering your practice an opportunity to be found for key terms.  Additionally, dental practices must support their online visibility by offering fresh and relevant content using social media outlets. PBHS, the leading provider of website design and online search engine marketing services for the healthcare community, offers organic and pay-per-click SEO campaigns along with branded social media solutions to bring more patients to your practice.  Call us for more information today at (800) 840-5383.

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