Is Personalized Search Better?
At SMX’s Personalized Search: Fear or Not? session, Michael Gray suggested that Google highlight the results in personalized SERPS that are “personalized.” After all, he argued, if they’re so much better, why not show them off?
I may have found one reason why they wouldn’t want to. I was checking my rankings for a term. My posts on Marketing Pilgrim ranked well for the term [blog stickiness]–#1 and #7 (but as a grouped result, it showed up at #2). My post on my personal site, MamaBlogga, was also in the top ten, at #10.
I thought, perhaps, this might be the result of personalization. Surely my little 3 month old, PR 3 site wouldn’t really be in the top 10. And after all, in my Google Web History, I have 66 searches/results/clicked sites for MamaBlogga. (And, for example, 82 to Marketing Pilgrim. Considering this goes back nearly a year, apparently I’m not as much of a vanity searcher as I thought.) (Okay, since you asked, I’ve searched for myself like 50 times.)
Or not. According to my Web History Trends [jordan mccollum] is my #1 search term and [mamablogga] is #2. Of my “Top Sites,” after Wikipedia (sadly), Answers and WordPress, MamaBlogga is #4. Marketing Pilgrim is #10. (Okay, cue Carly Simon if you must.) And in my [Top Clicks] list is a page from my website.
You would think that Google could figure out that I like results from MamaBlogga. They seem to understand that I like Marketing Pilgrim.
Because I wanted to know, I turned off personalized search using the trick Matt Cutts shared at the same SMX session: appending &pws=0 at the end of my search string. Here’s how the bottom half of the list changed:
That’s right. Not personalized results, it’s #9. Personalized, it’s #10. No, it’s not a huge difference, and obviously this is highly anecdotal, but haven’t I given them enough data to figure out that I would want to see that ranked high?
I guess I’d better start clicking.