Google Changing the Game With Search Wiki

Wed, Mar 18, 2009

Google, Yahoo! & MSN

Just when you thought you had finally mastered the SEO tricks and were skilled at getting your results to rank well on Google they go and throw another wrench in the works. Today we’re going to talk a little bit about Google Personalized Search (also known as Google Search Wiki) and how it has the potential to change the world of SEO yet again.

In November of last year Google rolled out Search Wiki as a way to let people annotate, re-order, add and delete search results. With the exception of the public comments, Google says at this time the other features are not visible to the general public – only the current logged in user (i.e., you!) So for example let’s say I am searching for “used cars” and I come across CARFAX, the vehicle history provider. I’m a big fan of CARFAX so I add my own note and promote it up to the top of my listings. No problem, right? Well, maybe not.

The first question being bounced around SEO circles is how will the public comments affect search algorithms and ranking? Will Google take into account public comments when it comes to finding relevant results? For example, if I am searching for “family vacation” and a bunch of people have commented using the words “family vacation” on a search result will that result rank higher even though the content of the site has nothing to do with content vacations?

Another concern, and one that we are seeing right now, is that spammers have already jumped on board the Search Wiki bandwagon. They are injecting porn spam and other worthless content into the comments sections which then show up on others searches. Not only is this annoying and devalues the feature, but it also could throw a wrench into search algorithms for determining rankings should Google decide to use comments for ranking.

The same worries hold true with re-ordering and deleting sites from your results. Let’s say that an organized group of spammers gets together and orders a bunch of irrelevant spam sites to the top of popular searches. If these rankings were to be included in the search algorithm for all users you could have a big problem with SEO value being destroyed with just a few clicks!

So now that we’ve told you about all the bad things to do with Search Wiki, just what exactly should you as a marketer or SEO professional be doing? First, you need to be involved with it. Use it, try out some of the features and don’t let it bite you in the rear. Be prepared for not if, but when it goes live. If the past few years have taught us anything it is that crowdsourcing is a trend that can’t be stopped. The voice of many is always more powerful than the voice of one.

Nothing is as certain as change, but in the SEO world you can be prepared for this one instead of just sitting idly by and finding one day your rankings have fallen off the map.

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This post was written by:

Cassiano Travareli - who has written 90 posts on SEO Blog | SEO Marketing World.

SEO Specialist! Loves everything about Search Engine Marketing.