While doing some routine searches on Google today, I noticed a small star appears at the side of each search result item. Popular blogs haven’t got their hands on this and I have no idea whether this is an experimental or a permanent feature.
One thing is for sure though. Google has been introducing a lot of additional features to its search engines to introduce personalization into their search results. Google Starred Results will definitely bring the level of personalization in search to another level.
The basic idea is, searchers can now ‘star’ items that appear in search results and when they conduct the search again, all the starred results will appear on top of all other search result items.
What does this mean for search engine optimization efforts? Why should you pay attention to this?
Search Results Curation – More Than Just Content
I know, great content, great content and great content… You hear this all over the Internet. Now, with starred results, not only that your content should be great, it must also be relevant to the audience that you are targeting.
A search term may bring up multiple results with roughly the same idea behind their content. However, other elements such as the design, content presentation and the overall experience at a page will now play a role in influencing a user whether to ‘star’ that particular page in the search results.
As a marketer, you need to make sure your content explains ideas in the context of your target audience and that they are presented in a way that your target audience favors.
Higher Return Visits from Google
If you look at your analytics software installed to your blog or website right now, a large percentage of traffic from Google or other search engines are new visitors, which means that these visitors never visited your site before.
With the introduction of Starred Results, useful and relevant content will appear on top of search results and start to receive a higher percentage of return visits from Google. This is simply because users, if given the choice, do not want to spend time going through tons of search results to find what they need.
Content or Search Engine Optimization?
The explanation above may bring along a headache for marketers and small business owners who are just dipping their feet into search engine optimization (SEO). Since the relevance of content is becoming important, should we be discarding our focus on SEO?
Well, SEO and content creation goes hand-in-hand. Without well-crafted and relevant content, users will leave your page even though you rank first on search engines. Also, useful content get links from other sites and this definitely helps in SEO.
On the other hand, great content without proper SEO elements will be left deep in the search results. If a page is ranked in the 100th page for a search term, the chances for it to be discovered is nil and you can forget about getting the page some stars on Google.
Prediction: Curation by Searchers Gain Momentum
Google Starred Results seems to me like a stripped down version of Google SearchWiki, which was introduced in early 2008. Instead of a simple ‘star’, users were given the opportunity to vote up/down for search result items and even comment on them. Of course, ‘starring’ result items is definitely more intuitive and require lesser efforts from the user side.
Nevertheless, the introduction of Starred Results shows the seriousness of Google in giving its search engine users the power to personalize search results. Their starring (or perhaps, voting) activity will definitely be taken into account in the ranking algorithm one day.
Your Thoughts on Google Starred Results
How do you think the search engine optimization arena will change as a result of Google’s continuous push towards personalized results? Also, how will your online marketing strategy align itself with these changes?
Leave a comment in the comments section below with your thoughts.
If you like the insights above, you may want to subscribe to Wayne Liew Dot Com Newsletter for premium content, weekly updates and priority notifications by submitting your first name and email address using the form below.