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SES 2007 – Personalization, User Data & Search

Day 1
2-3:30 am
Personalization, User Data & Search – the panel was a discussion of the individual and how they search, how they are grouped, and how personal search is a positive factor when it comes to ROI and conversions. Chris Sherman of SES San Jose was our moderator.

4 Speakers:
Gordon Hotchkiss, Enquiro
Richard Zwicky, Enquisite
Dave Davies, Beanstalk
Jonathan Mendez, OTTO Digital

Personalizing search results and SERPs offers a very positive effect for the end user, so we are going to see a lot more of it in the future. As SEO’s, this makes our life difficult because the results you see on the East coast could be different than what we see on the West coast. Here’s what the speakers had to say:

Speaker #1 Gordon Hotchkiss went over what drives personalization, how does personalization work, and what is the future of personalization? Gordan had GREAT research slides about how users truly do see more of the SERP if the results are personalized. He showed us where the eye goes after one second, a half a second, and showed us the difference in where the eye goes in a personal and non-personal search. HOLY different data… things are changing people!!!! It was neat to see there is SUCH a hot spot around images. If you are not optimizing your pictures and videos, you need to start. Users are looking at images and multimedia first, big time. It doesn’t mean they are CLICKING on them (that’s another whole Oprah), but they are definitely seeming them.

What drives personal search? Variables including the information that the user volunteers themselves, their search history, web history, community choices, origin of their search, and also platform are all considered in personal SERPs. Each of those factors help search engines to determine what data may be most relevant to YOU, and that’s a good thing, because then they can spit out the most relevant sites for you as an individual. Did you ever think computers could be this smart?

Does personalization work? Does it ever! I was amazed to see that clickthroughs DOUBLED in a personalized search and that users look at much more of the page. Does it work too well? If you are pay per clicking, beware. On a personalized search, the users went to ALL organic listings.

How does personalization impact SEM(Search Engine Marketing)? It means we need to focus less on keywords and more on users and their demographics. We need to make pages about the user, talk to them, relate to them. At Cal Coast we already try to do this and now we will focus on doing it better. It was brought up we should optimize for themes, images, and social patterns. This will be fun to do! 🙂 I really liked Gordan’s Circle of Importance as well as the inverted pyramid for moving up the funnel.