Tag Archive | "Personalization"

SearchCap: Google tests AMP labels, AdWords personalization & understanding user intent

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

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Web Personalization: The Future of Digital Marketing and Sales Is Now

In the beginning, the business website was a mere brochure. Low value, low shareability, low findability. Around 2005, a big shift happened thanks to content. Cutting-edge business websites became educational resources with valuable content that ranked well in search engines and benefited from the sharing functionality of emerging social media. Soon, “cutting edge” became the
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What You Can Learn about Automated Personalization from Google’s Hilarious Mistake

Personalization can be an effective but challenging tactic. If you’ve ever struggled with personalization, take heart with Google’s hilarious mistake in a recent direct mail piece to our organization. And then learn a few lessons from that mistake to improve the accuracy of your own personalization efforts.
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What You Can Learn about Automated Personalization from Google’s Hilarious Mistake

Personalization can be an effective but challenging tactic. If you’ve ever struggled with personalization, take heart with Google’s hilarious mistake in a recent direct mail piece to our organization. And then learn a few lessons from that mistake to improve the accuracy of your own personalization efforts.
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Google shortcuts use personalization and rich content to build next-gen local discovery tool

Machine learning-driven results entirely bypass the traditional search box.

The post Google shortcuts use personalization and rich content to build next-gen local discovery tool appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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Real Time Personalization Tripled Retailer’s Email Revenue

There is no other digital marketing medium more powerful for retailers and businesses in general than email. Besides the one-on-one setting that email provides, the growth of marketing data tools has made email the ultimate personalized bond between businesses and both their “today customers” and “tomorrow customers”.

Retail TouchPoints featured a recent and superb case study from the UK of how one retailer tripled their email marketing revenue thru real-time personalization.

The Entertainer, the largest High Street (main street) toy retailer in the UK, partnered with marketing platform provider SmartFocus to help understand customer data from all online channels, know who its customer base is, how they shop, what products they like and their lifetime value. The retailer gained a single customer view to power personalized emails in real time — whether delivered via traditional email, mobile, web or social channels.

“Replicating our in-store experience when each and every one of our customers visits our web site or receives one of our marketing messages is critical to us,” said Rob Wood, Head of Online at The Entertainer in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “The work we have done has undoubtedly helped retain customers, but SmartFocus has helped us engage new customers and send them contextually relevant and unique engagements across all our digital channels and web site.”

The first phase of the project was centered around the toy retailer’s Birthday Club which “allows grown-ups to tell us the birthdays of the children they’re buying for.” The Entertainer asks customers to reveal the child’s gender and age. “With that information, we can target their parents four weeks before the birthday and send them a list of personalized recommendations,” added Wood. This allowed the retailer to incorporate 80,000 children’s birthdays in its current database. “We find that people who are in this database spend twice as much every year as someone who’s not in it,” said Wood.

The retailer was then able to migrated all of its transactional and marketing campaign programs to the SmartFocus Message Cloud and the send 100% personalized and fully responsive messages to customers, with content driven exclusively by their behavior.

Once a single-customer-view database was built, The Entertainer integrated a new email service solution to enhance the segmentation of email addresses using attributes from the database. “The recommendations engine now gathers data while the customer browses, interacts and orders from the web site,” said Wood.

The Entertainer’s work with SmartFocus has given the retailer the ability to drill down to individual purchase patterns with more relevance. Wood said the retailer is also looking to organically increase the basket value and frequency of visits — in stores and online — while also increasing the lifetime value of each customer through engagement.

“We tripled our email revenue last year compared to the year before, which is a brilliant result for us and something we are happy with,” said Wood. “We’ve used the same database — it’s not like we have massively grown the database. All we have done is send better messages to the same people and gotten a better result from that.”

The results:

- Tripled email revenue, with a 97% rise in YOY sales to date;
- Boosted new sales 36%;
- Increased click-through rate (CTR) 80% from behavioral segments used in email personalization;
- Increased sales from web site product recommendations
- Achieved a 60% increase in returning shoppers;
- Lifted conversions from abandoned cart emails 25%.

The post Real Time Personalization Tripled Retailer’s Email Revenue appeared first on WebProNews.


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Elements of Personalization & How to Perform Better in Personalized Search – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

From information about your location and device to searches you’ve performed in the past, Google now has a great deal of information it can use to personalize your search results. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand explains to what extent they’re likely using that information and offers five ways in which you can improve your performance in personalized search.

For reference, here’s a still of this week’s whiteboard.

Elements of Personalization Whiteboard

Click on it to open a high resolution image in a new tab!

Video transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re going to chat personalization, talking about the elements that can influence personalization as well as some of the tactical things that web marketers and SEOs specifically can do to help make their sites and their content more personalized friendly.

How personalization works

So, what are we talking about when we’re talking about personalization? Well, Google is actually personalizing by a large number of things and probably even a few things I have not listed here that they have not been totally transparent or forthcoming about.

Logged-in visitors

The things that we know about include things like:

  • Location. Where is the searcher?
  • Device. What type of device and operating system is the searcher using?
  • Browser. We have seen some browser specific and operating specific forms of searches. Search history, things that you have searched for before and potentially what you’ve clicked on in the results.
  • Your email calendar. So if you’re using Gmail and you’re using Google Calendar, Google will pull in things that they find on your calendar and data from your email and potentially show that to you inside of search results when you search for very particular things. For example, if you have an upcoming plane flight and you search for that flight number or search around that airline, they may show you, you have an upcoming flight tomorrow at 2:07 p.m. with Delta airlines.
  • Google+. A lot of folks are thinking of it as dead, but it’s not particularly dead, in fact no more so than the last year and a half or so. Google+ results will still appear at the bottom of your search results very frequently if you’re logged in and anyone in your Google+ stream that you follow has shared any link or any post in Google+ with the keywords that you’ve searched for. That’s a very broad matching still. Those results can appear higher if Google determines that there’s more relevancy behind that. You’ll also see Google+ data for people you’re connected to when you search for them, that kind of thing.
  • Visit history. If you have visited a domain while logged into an account many times in the past, I’m not exactly sure how many times or what sort of engagement they look at precisely, but they may bias those results higher. So they might say, “Gosh, you know, you really seem to like eBay when you do shopping. We’re going to show eBay’s results for you higher than we would normally show them in an incognito window or for someone who’s not logged in or someone who isn’t as big an eBay fan as you are.”
  • Bookmarks. It’s unclear whether they’re using just the bookmarks from Google Chrome or the personalization that carries over from Chrome instances or the fact that bookmarks are also things that people visit frequency. There’s some discussion about what the overlap is there. Not too important for our purposes.

Logged-out visitors

If you are logged out, they still have a number of ways of personalizing, and you can still observe plenty of personalization. Your results may be very different from what you see in a totally new browser with no location applied to it, on a different device with different search and visit history.

Now, remember when I say “Logged out,” I’m not talking about an incognito window. An incognito window would bias against showing anything based on search history or visit history. However, location and device appear to still remain intact. So a mobile device is going to get sometimes different results than a desktop device. Different locations will get different results than other locations. All that kind of stuff.

Now you might ask, “Quantify this for me, Rand.” Like let’s say we took a sample set of 500 keywords and we ran them through personalized versus non-personalized kinds of searches. What’s the real delta in the results ordering and the difference of the results that we see?

Well, we actually did this. It’s almost 18 months old at this point, but Doctor Pete did this in late 2013. Using the MozCast data set, he checked crawlers, Google Webmaster Tools, personalized logged in and incognito. You know what? The delta was very small for personalized versus incognito. I suspect that number’s probably gone up, which means this correlation number — 1.0 would be perfect correlation — 0.977 very, very high correlation. So we’re seeing really similar results for personalized versus incognito at least 18 months ago.

I suspect that’s probably changed. It’ll probably continue to change a little bit. However, I would also say that it probably won’t drop that low. I would not expect that you would ever find that it’ll be lower than 0.8, maybe even 0.9, just because so much of search is intentional navigation and so much of it is also not fully capable to be personalized in truly intelligent ways. The results are the best results already. There’s not a whole lot of personalization that might be added in besides potentially showing your Google+ follows or something at the bottom and things based on your visit history.

Performing better in personalized search

So let’s say you want to perform better in personalized search. You have a belief that, hey, a lot of people are getting personalized bias in my particular SERP sets. We’re very local focused, or we’re very biased by social kinds of data, or we’re seeing a lot of people are getting biased in their results to our competitors because of their search history and visit history. What are things that I need to think about?

Get potential searchers to know and love your brand before the query

The answer is you can perform better in personalized search in general, overall by thinking about things like getting potential searchers to know and love your brand and your domain before they ever make the query. It turns out that if you’ve gotten people to your site previously through other forms of navigation and through searches, you may very well find yourself higher up in people’s personalized results as a consequence of the fact that they visited you in the past. We don’t know all the metrics that go into that or what precisely Google uses, but we could surmise that there are probably some bars around engagement, visit history, how many times, how frequently in a certain time frame, all that kind of stuff that goes into that search and visit history.

Likewise, if you can bias people here and rank higher, you may be getting more and more benefit. It can be a snowball effect. So if you keep showing up higher in their rankings, they keep clicking you, they keep finding information that’s useful, they don’t need to go back to the search results and click somebody else. You’re just going to keep ranking in more and more of their queries as they investigate things. For those of you who are full funnel types of content servers, you’re thinking about people as they’re doing research and educating themselves all the way down to the transaction level with their searches, this is a very exciting opportunity.

Be visible in all the relevant locations for your business

For location bias, you want to make sure that you are relevant in all the locations for your business or your service. A lot of times that means getting registered with Google Maps and Google+ local business for maps — I can’t remember what it’s called exactly. I think it’s Google+ Local for Business — and making sure that you are not only registered with those places but then also that your content is helping to serve the areas that you serve. Sometimes that can even mean a larger radius than what Google Maps might give you. You can rank well outside of your specific geographies with content that serves those regions, even if Google is not perfectly location connecting you via your address or your Maps registration, those kinds of things.

Get those keyword targets dialed in

Getting keyword targeting dialed in, this is important all the time. Where a lot of people fall down in this is they think, “Hey, I only need to worry about keyword targeting on the pages that are specifically intended to be search landing pages. I’m trying to get search traffic to these pages.” But personalization bias means that if you can get keyword targeting dialed in even on pages that are not necessarily search landing pages, Google might say, “Hey, this wouldn’t normally rank for someone, but because you’ve already earned that traffic, because that person is already biased to your brand, your domain, we’re going to surface that higher than we ordinarily would.” That is a powerful potential tool in your arsenal, hence it’s useful to think about keyword targeting on a page specific level even for pages that you might not think would earn search traffic normally.

Share content on Google+ and connect with your potential customers

Google+ still, in my opinion, a very valuable place to earn personalized traffic for two reasons. One, of course you can get people actually over to your site. You may be able to get potential traffic through Google+. You can appear in those search results right at the bottom for anyone who follows you or anyone who’s connected to you via email and other kinds of Google apps. You may have also noticed that when you email with someone, if they’re using Gmail and their Google+ account is connected, you see in the little right-hand corner there that they’ll show their last post or their last few posts sometimes on Google+. Again, also a powerful way to connect with folks and to share the content as you’re emailing back and forth with them.

For brands, that also shows up in search results sometimes. There’s the brand box on the right-hand side, kind of like Knowledge Graph, and it’ll show your last few posts from Google+. So again, more and more opportunities to be visible if you’re doing Google+.

I am also going to surmise that, in the future, Google might do stuff with this around Twitter. They just finished re-inking that deal where Twitter gives their full fire hose access to Google and Google starts displaying more and more of that stuff in search results. So I think probably still valuable to think about how that connection might form. Definitely still valuable directly to do it in Google+ even if you’re not getting any traffic from Google+.

Be multi-device friendly and usable

Then the last one, of course, being multi-device friendly and usable. This is something where Moz has historically fallen down, and obviously we’re going to be fixing that in the months ahead. I actually hope we fix it after April 21st so we can see whether we really take a hit when they do that mobile thing. I think that would be a noble sacrifice, and then we can see how we perform thereafter and then fix it and see if we can get back in Google’s good graces after that.

So given these tactics and some of this knowledge about how personalized search works, hopefully you can take advantage of personalized search and help inform your teams, your bosses, your clients about personalization and the potential impacts. Hopefully we’ll be redoing some of those studies, too, to be able to tell you, hey, how much more is personalization affecting SEO over the last 18 months and in the years ahead.

All right, everyone. Thanks again for joining us, and we’ll see you again next time for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Email Personalization: Craft forms with purpose

In this brief video from MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014, see how to implement effective email sign-up forms to tailor personalized email content for your subscribers.
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Social Media: Mass personalization starts with Catsies

In this MarketingSherpa Blog post, see how Virgin Mobile USA leveraged “Catsies” to generate buzz and foster mass personalization. You’ll also hear some top takeaways from the effort to tackle mass personalization in your own campaigns.
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SEO in the Personalization Age

Posted by gfiorelli1

Only eleven years have passed since Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report was released, and yet the future it depicts—the year 2054—is much closer than we think:

In many respects, we can say that the future is (almost) now.

Of all the things that were presented in Minority Report, the one that most concerns us as SEOs and inbound marketers is the personalization of experiences that our potential customers have when looking for a product and/or information, when they share things online, and when they interact with our brands on our websites.

Search marketing and personalization

Personalization in search marketing is not something new—it was (re)launched on Google in 2005. Still, it was only with the launch of “Search, plus Your World” (January 2012), the rollout of the Venice Update (February 2012), and the introduction of Google Now (July 2012), that the personalization factor has become predominant.

If we ask everyday Google users about personalized search, though, this is what they answer:

This data from the excellent infographic on seotraininglondon.org reveals something that we might have guessed in talking about rankings with our clients: the average user does not know that their Google SERPs are personalized.

To tell the truth, we SEOs also tend to forget that search is almost always personalized, and we examine concepts such as, for example, neutral search.

For example, we tend to act this way when we try to understand the rankings of our sites or when we do competitive analyses. It is certainly not incorrect—it is a necessary starting point—but in reality, it is not enough anymore.

Take the case where our site is national or global: In that case, the personalization of the search experience is such that we should not only check how our site ranks in the U.S. or the UK, but we should also in smaller geographic areas of our targeted country.

At the same time, we should see who our competitors are with a “micro-geographic” focus. In fact, while we might be on the first page in a totally neutral search with its geographical center being the political capital of the country we are analyzing, maybe we don’t rank so highly in the searches done in a city that we consider a target as important as the “nation” (i.e. Seattle or Manchester).

Why? Because the often shamefully forgotten Venice Update enhances the localization of the user performing a search in terms of how their SERPs are shaped. Hence, local businesses, which might not be relevant on a national/global scale, are indeed relevant locally. In those cases, they can be shown at the expense of “national” or “global” sites, which often do not possess sufficient relevance at a local level.

And that’s personalization (note: in the concept of personalization I personally include context, because without it, personalization would provide a poor search experience).

But that’s not the only way localization influences the personalization of search.

In fact, as both Tom Anthony and Will Critchlow explained well, localization (and other contextual information) is a key component of what they defined as “new queries,” which include both a explicit and implicit aspect.

An even stronger implementation of personalization is possible: implicit-only queries, as they are defined by Baris Gultekin in this video interview shot at Google I/O 2013.

These queries are those that users don’t even actually perform, but that Google predicts they are implicitly performing. The results are shown in Google Now cards:

In the first case (personalization due to geolocalization), we can try to acquire more relevance on a local level by creating events (online and/or offline), connections with local web sites, and partnerships with local influencers. Those influencers can be found with tools that geographically map social media followers/fans, such as Followerwonk (all the better if they are already connected with us):

Or, we can take advantage of the geographical segmentation of the people we have circled on Google Plus (and of the local communities’ pages, if they exist):

In the second case (“new queries” with implicit and explicit aspects), we can try to “enter” in the personalized SERPs of our users, creating content that is contextually relevant to a topic + location + device. For now, though, it is quite hard to determine how, from where, and for what a user is already searching on our own sites via Google search. This information can’t be easily understood with tools like Google Analytics, and Google Webmaster Tools does not offer us the opportunity to dig deeper than the country level. Hence, the best way to get this information is by actively obtaining feedback directly from our targeted audience.

In the third case (totally implicit queries), we can go with the classic SEO’s first reaction of fright and ask to have our site integrated in the Google Now ecosystem, as Zillow, Booking, Urbanspoon and many others have already done.

Personalization and Knowledge Base

Last May, at Google I/O 2013, Amit Singhal said, “The search of future will need to answer, converse, and anticipate.”

With “answer,” he refers to the Knowledge Graph, with “converse” to Voice Search, and finally with “anticipate” to Google Now. Knowledge Graph and Google Now are based mostly on the so-called Google Knowledge Base, and in both cases—as well as in Voice Search—semantics and entity recognition play an essential role.

Semantics, entity recognition and the Knowledge Base, then, are the foundation on which Google can really achieve the goal of creating its dreamed-of Star Trek computer, capable of providing information to the user by predicting its needs for information.

As I wrote in a previous post here on Moz, the Knowledge Base helps Google by answering how and why the documents are connected and searched, as well as an understanding of what named entities those same documents cite and are related to.

The most evident examples of this are the Knowledge Graph boxes:

This snapshot, though, shows another example of personalization.

Google presented me Saint Peter the Apostle because in a neutral search I performed before, Google agnostically presented me all the entities the Knowledge Graph could relate to the query “Saint Peter”.

As you can see, neutral “objective” searches still play a huge role in Google… but is this really so? No, it isn’t.

Even in a neutral search, personalization of search is present. Here are a couple of examples:

Knowledge Graph disambiguation boxes in Google.it neutral search for “San Pietro”

Knowledge Graph disambiguation boxes in Google.com neutral search for “San Pietro”

Knowledge Graph disambiguation boxes in Google.fr neutral search for “Saint Pierre”

Knowledge Graph disambiguation boxes in Google.com neutral search for “Saint Pierre”

Localization of the users—both geographically and linguistically—plays an evident role in the personalization of search.

But that’s not all. In fact—as I said before—personalization is always acting, not just when users are logged in. When you’re not signed in, Google uses a cookie to personalize your search experience based on past search information linked to your browser.

The more someone uses Google for search, even logged out, the more Google understands and refines the search experience for that user. Knowing that there are about 5,134,000,000 searches performed every day, we can understand how the Google Knowledge Base is endlessly updating itself. That is not Big Data, that’s Gigantic Data, all used for one purpose: to offer more personalized search and ad results.

How does Google personalize search?

Search History is surely the most important factor, but as we saw, localization has assumed an increasing relevance, especially because of the rise of mobile search.

Google seriously knows a lot about us. Crazypants! as a friend of mine would say.

How does search history shape the personalized SERPs, and how can Google strengthen the personalization of SERPs in relation to a query when search history is not present or is not sufficient by itself?

Google does this thanks to search entities, a concept that is explained in depth by Bill Slawski in this post.

Search entities, as described by Bill, are:

  • A query a searcher submits
  • Documents responsive to the query
  • The search session during which the searcher submits the query
  • The time at which the query is submitted
  • Advertisements presented in response to the query
  • Anchor text in a link in a document
  • The domain associated with a document

The relationships between these search entities can create a “Probability Score,” which may determine if a web document is shown in a determined SERP or not.

I warmly suggest you read Bill’s post to find out more about all the possible relationships that can exist between these search entities, but for this post, I’d like to focus on these ones:

  1. The strength of relationships between these entities can be measured using a metric obtained from direct relationship strengths (derived from data indicating user behavior, such as user search history data) and indirect relationship strengths (derived from the direct relationship strengths).
  2. A relationship between a first entity that has insufficient support (e.g., not enough search history data) to associate a given property with the first entity and a second entity that does have sufficient support to associate the given property with the second entity can be identified, and the given property can be associated with the first entity with higher confidence.

From an SEO point of view, these two cases are telling us that even though we aim for a neutral search environment, we should never forget that 99% percent of a user’s search experience is personalized. We could define this attitude as “growth hacking SEO.”

Moreover, we could take advantage of the personalization of search thanks not only to being included in the personal search history of the users, but also to connections created with entities that are already in those users’ search history. This connection can be a link, a citation, or a co-occurrence in a document, which is considered more relevant than the query alone or the search history of the users.

Somehow this is not something new. In fact, when Richard Baxter talks about doing really targeted outreach, we know it is good from the point of view of being discovered by the audience. Creating content for other sites that are used by the people influencing our target market will often result in new users of our own site.

But now, this patent about search entities is evidence that typically inbound tactics can have a direct reflection on a purely search-related level.

Semantic web

When we talk about entities, we usually think about people, places, and things (i.e., a brand). But web documents are also entities.

And, in light of what is described in the patent cited above, the “probability score” of a web document, which can determine its presence in a SERP or its visibility in results for a determined query based on all the classic on-page “ranking factors,” can be improved by the use of structured data.

Structured data, from schema.org, Microdata and Open Graph, are important not just because they can gift our site’s search results with a rich snippet. That snippet is the facade of something more important: helping the search engines better understand what a document is all about.

For instance, the breadcrumb schema is surely important because it can help add mini-sitelinks to our snippets, but it is even more important because it clearly tells search engines how the documents in our site are hierarchically related between them.

Or, using an even better example, the article schema is the only way (or at least so it is described by Google) to obtain visibility in the In-Depth Articles search blend.

Therefore, the use of structured data has become essential, not only because rich snippets offer us a greater visibility in the SERPs, but also because not many people are using it (36.9% of URLs use Open Graph, and 9.9% use Schema.org, as reported by Matthew Brown at MozCon). In addition, structured data can help increase the relevance of a document for a determined query simply because it “helps our systems to better understand your website’s content, and improves the chances of it appearing in this new set of search results.”

The social layer

We know that social has a correlated impact on rankings. How, though, does social have a direct impact in the personalization of the SERPs?
Once it was with the social annotations from Twitter (and now from Google Plus), even though it’s legit to consider that social activities other than those on Google Plus still weigh on how personalization works.

“Search, plus Your World” (SPYW), which de facto is how all logged in users use Google.com, can seriously help in outranking your competitors.

For instance, “The International SEO Checklist” by Aleyda on Moz ranks first for me and not third, because Aleyda and Gigi (and others in my Circles) plussed it. The “International SEO” Q&A page on Moz ranks third for me, simply because I have Moz circled. If it was not so, that page would not be present in the TOP 100, which we can see from a neutral search.

That means that, yes, in a personalized environment like SPYW, +1s have an impact in rankings, while that’s not the case in a neutral search.

Even if SPYW is not present outside of Google.com, plusses still play a prominent role in how SERPs are personalized. For instance, if I search for “International SEO” in Google.es, and I am logged in, by default Google is showing me search results from Aleyda’s posts, because they were all plussed by many people I’m circling on Google Plus. Instead, a neutral search in Google.es will show a completely different SERP.

The fact that we don’t have the option to switch to a neutral SERP in Google.es (or in the other regional versions of Google) means that all logged in users, if they are active on Google Plus, see an extremely personalized search result page.

The first snapshot presents a logged in personalized search in Google.es for “International SEO”. The second a neutral search. The influence of Google Plus in the first one is evident.

If we can find an evident social layer in search results, social media also has correlated values that can influence the personalization of the SERPs: branded keywords searches, prop-words, and an increase in search volume for our brand and related keywords.

In fact, we know that social media resides at the top of the funnel in the discovery phase. What we don’t realize is that social is also present in a post-discovery phase, when users are searching for confirmations to their conversion intentions.

If we are very active on social, and moreover if we are able to create authority via social media, if we do our homework, and—as SEOs—if we optimize how content is shared socially (SEOcial), then we can instill in our audience those keywords and topics for which they will search for us later on.

Email marketing and personalization

We can also influence the personalization of search with the integration of email marketing to our SEO activities.

We usually tend to consider email marketing just another channel—a very good one if performed correctly, because it can offer great conversion rates and huge amount of organic traffic, but we rarely think at it as a way to obtain visibility in search.

Now that is possible.

For totally implicit queries, we can mark up the emails we send to our users with schema.org for GMail.

The reminders we offer to our users will be presented as Google Now cards on mobile, but these annotations will also allow users to perform (voice) searches, which will deliver those same reminders created from the information we have marked up in our email.

For all the other kinds of queries, it is also possible to use email marketing in order to have visibility in the SERPs.

If you are a tester of the Gmail Search Field Trial (and use Google.com based in the US), you should see these enhanced results in your SERPs:

As you can easily tell, emails relevant to a user’s search can be shown in the SERPs.

This opens a completely new area of SEO activity, in which potential factors are:

  • Who you email: If you email John Doe a lot, it’s likely that messages from John Doe are important.
  • Which messages you open: Messages you open are likely to be more important than those you skip over.
  • What keywords spark your interest: If you always read messages about soccer, a new message that contains those same soccer words is more likely to be important.
  • Which messages you reply to: If you always reply to messages from your mom, messages she sends are likely to be important.
  • Your recent use of stars, archive and delete: Messages you star are probably more important than messages you archive without opening.

I am not guessing these GMail ranking factors; I took them from this patent by MailRank now owned by Google.


Luckily Amit Singhal is present in this snapshot, or many of you would have started getting crazy with me.

Amit Singhal is right when he says that “Answer,” “Converse,” and “Anticipate”—deep personalization of search, I called it—is going to change search as we know it.

Is this maybe the reason why the Search Team at Google is now called the Knowledge Team? Is this maybe the main reason for “Not Provided” keywords, as Will Critchlow mentioned?

What I know is that personalization is already so heavily present in search that avoiding it in the name of a fading neutral search is not doing good SEO.

Moreover, personalized search is clearly telling us how SEO alone is not enough, but that content, social, and email marketing by themselves are also not enough to obtain a real and complete success in Internet marketing.

SEO, for instance, needs social to help people discover a site, just as social needs SEO to reward its activity with recurring conversions on the site.

Personalized search is pushing us to hasten the destruction of silos between Internet marketing disciplines, and hopefully it will oblige marketers to change and embrace a more holistic way of promoting a business online.

Maybe with the rise of deep personalization SEO will finally become Search Experience Optimization, and have users at its center instead of search engines.

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