Google has introduced a new facet of web search convenience within their search engine platform: Customizable Search Tools. Introduced to the public on Oct. 23, this internet phenomena will allow web publishers, web developers and web operators to enhance their web search by providing options to choose specific websites that the search engine can analyze. Here’s how it works: there is a tracking system that will monitor the websites that you visit, how long you spent on these websites, how many pages you viewed from a particular domain, and what links you clicked on within the website. After this users will tailor their history so that it consists of only the websites they found particularly helpful, so next time they use the search engine, only the sites they chose are going to be analyzed. Search customization is not a brand new idea as sites like Eurekster are using customization options within their search engines. But, with Google jumping the bandwagon, it is definitely going to have more of an effect on user experience and the way we think about website promotion, marketing and optimization.
By allowing site developers to choose websites that they know are reliable and pertinent, this Google search engine model will not bring up sites that offer less relevant information, regardless of the keyword density or popularity. The operator can use their own knowledge and research to choose the best available websites for their target audience and topic. In addition to site choice, it also allows priority filtering so that some of the chosen websites will receive higher credibility within the search results than others. The options are going to be available to all google search users, not just the web operators/developers, so that viewers can hand select websites and filter options that coincide with the information they are searching for via the web.
Google made a great leap into the idea of user customization for search results. It will certainly provide them with a competitive edge (not that Google needed it!) But, what does this mean for the future of web marketing and web promotion? Those who felt the ease and ability to get your website ranked just by coughing up some cash, and hiring specialists, might be in for a wake up call; Google’s “customized search” has hit the ground, and time will tell how fast it’s running.
Web marketing has evolved in many ways, and over many years; by adjusting with the growing popularity of internet businesses, advertising on the web, and the abundance of users who frequent community websites such as Myspace.com and Facebook.com. Information on how to promote websites is widely available and used by anyone who owns real estate on the internet. This has led to the demoralization of search engines; site owners with enough money can promote using Google Adwords, and even if the information on their website is not as viable as other web sources, they might be higher up in the search results. Sites like Digg.com and Blinkit.com are also used to promote search results and click ratings. Google uses a specific formula to analyze website traffic, the amount of clicks and visits a site gets, the amount of links pointing to the site, the amount of relevant and highly regarded links on the site, keyword density and much more.
Google’s pagerank formula looks something like this:
PR(A) = (1-d) + d(PR(t1)/C(t1) + … + PR(tn)/C(tn))
An explanation of google’s page rank formula
Web marketers analyze these formulas so that they can gain every inch of availability and recognition on the search engines. But, reverse engineering of the Google formula, has led to less reliable search engine results.
Marketing for search engines (SEO) is not the only way to promote a website. But, it is by the far the most effective. Even when individuals utilize E-zines, bookmark sites, or other content specific link initiatives, the purpose is mostly to attract the search engines with more outside links. They do provide some traffic due to readership and viewers, but this boost is merely a drop of rain on the ocean to the traffic that popular search engines like Google and Yahoo provide.
It is more difficult to sell your website to a person than simply to adhere to a pagerank formula . Those choosing the custom options will evaluate your site, and decide if it’s worth their search results. In the future, keyword density might not even matter! Information, relevance, raw entertainment, cold hard facts: these things will enhance your popularity among the “customized” searches. Call it what you want, disregard it as simply a new flavor of the Google smorgasbord. But, I see the evolution of web marketing, survival of the fittest, Darwin’s natural selection process evident in the world of the web.
Here are some tips to promote your site, without the help of SEO (search engine optimization.) Whether or not search customization materializes into the accepted method of searching while on the web, these tips are still very helpful.
- Think of REAL marketing strategies. Forget what you’ve learned about web marketing, and focus on true blue people marketing techniques. Who is your target audience? Why should they find your site worth visiting? What SPECIFIC information are they looking for? Analyze the answers to these questions and adjust your website accordingly.
- Easy and intuitive navigation. Many website developers/marketers sacrifice their user’s experience, so that “keywords” are in the right place, content is full of links, static, empty and consists of dysfunctional link navigation. If a user cannot figure out HOW to find the info they’re looking for, and instead feel bombarded by useless content and links, they will not bother to come back to your site. Draft up some user tests, and have friends, colleagues or members of your target audience go on your website and answer the questions on usability. For ex.:
Question: Try to find information on “so-and-so.” How easy was it to attain this information? Did you get enough information regarding “so-and-so?”
You may need something more specific to your company, but here is a link to some information on conducting a usability test:
Article on one day usability test
- Aesthetic appeal. This does not mean you need to higher a flash designer and artist to reinvent the Mona Lisa of all websites. In fact, the more simple and “clean” your site looks the better. Do some research on proper web color combinations, and make sure the text is easy to read, among other design techniques.
Here is a great resource for web color combinations:
Proper Web Color Combinations
- Web 2.0. What is that you ask? It is becoming a new standard among web professionals, and is less a specific regime of task oriented procedures, and more a philosophy. It will attract users because it is a modern look at what good web design and usability really is, and provides insight as to promotion as well. The idea behind Web 2.0 still involves SEO, but focuses more on natural ways of achieving optimization.
Here is a link to a more specific definition:
Web 2.0-Oreilly definition
Here is a link to a more executive route to achieving Web 2.0 standards
Web 2.0 methods
Hopefully these tips are helpful, and again, only time will tell how SEO will evolve to please customizable searches.