SERPs dying? Get Real.
SERPs Dead? Dying?
Posted by Adam Hayes
Are the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) dying?
I recently read the article "Is the SERP going extinct" on Bruce Clay's Blog and it really made me think. As search engines like Google start using more and more "Personalized Search" options, are they going to start offering "personalized results"? This could really make life as an SEO much more difficult.
I think it's going to make competition that much more fierce. Users will enter a query and only see the most relevant results. This makes your job of targeting them substantially harder. Your main goal is no longer to make it into the top 10. It's to be number one. Ideally, users will no longer have to scroll through a list of irrelevant results. If personalized search works the way it is supposed to, the user will immediately find the results they're looking for. If you're ranked second or third, they may never even get to you.
So he thinks that being number one on the first page of the search engines is going to be the only option. He also adds:
How will this change the way sites are optimized? I suspect the focus will be more behaviorally-based. Webmasters and SEOs will need to know exactly who they are targeting.
Now hold on just one second... what is the point of a website if you don't know who your customers are? Aren't website designers and SEOs supposed to be doing that already or am I just ahead of the game?
They will need what sites they visit, what they're doing on those sites and what they're looking for. They need to know what words they're going to use in their search.
Hold on again. Once you begin to understand who your customers are, you darn well better know what they are looking for (and for your sake I hope that it is YOUR product they are looking for) AND have done keyword research to know what words they are using in their search. Again, these are things all SEOs should be doing already, right?
One thing they totally miss is the point that search engines already have the power (as well as a number of websites) to display content based on geographic location. So these "personalized SERPs" are already happening, but only to a limited extent.
Why personalized SERPs won't happen in the upcoming months.
Now it is time to play the devils advocate. Here are the main things I see standing in the way of "pure personalized SERPS".
- Adoption of "customer tracking" software.
- Although some might be signing up, I fear that many "identity theft" fearing type or "big brother" avoiding individuals won't sign up.
- My mother sure doesn't "sign in" to Google before searching. She barely uses Google let alone any of the other "specialized" Google products.
- Customizing SERPs for every single Google user is going to be a logistical nightmare. While they might be able to "personalize" results in a general way. I truly doubt that in the next little while they will expend more resources to track individual keywords for every user.
« Refine Results in Google