Jolina Pettice

SES Session: Personalization, User Data & Search

Personalized Search Panel - SES Chicago 2007

Whether you’re part of the search industry or just affected by it, you’ve probably not only grown used to change but are excited by it.

Attending a session this morning about personalized and universal search, we had a panel full of excited folks and audience members all bursting at the seams to discuss what these two types of search bring.

Panelists included:

Greg Jarboe, President and Co-Founder, SEO-PR

Dave Davies, CEO, Beanstalk
Jonathan Mendez, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, OTTO Digital
Richard Zwicky, Founder and CEO, Enquisite
Aaron D’Souza, Software Engineer, Google
Bill Barnes, Co-Founder & Executive Vice President, Enquiro Search Solutions Inc.
James Colborn, Director, US Trade Marketing, Microsoft Corporation

The start of it all is Google making its personalized search much more the default for many users, shaping search results based on a number of criteria. As well, its roll out of universal search.

Aaron D’Souza, from Google, made sure the audience understood the differences between the two for starters:
Universal Search – Takes existing search infrastructure and blends in different media – videos, images
Personalized Search – Looks at past queries and customizes search to produce more relevant results for each user

How does personalized search work?
For Google, it’s in the patents they have created which monitor:
User Behavior
The engine understands user behavior and his/her interactions with web pages including: click through, time to return to the engine, type of query.
The compilation of this data not only affects that users’ future results, but also the results of similar searchers.

Personal Page Rank
Google will be assigning value to each searcher and will be used to grade his/her activities on a website.
This will affect the ranking of websites based on individual activities on the site. The more trusted the user, the more it will affect results.

Group Data
Google will assess your membership in communities. As well as comparing common bookmarks and search behavior of other searchers.

According to Dave Davies, the pros and cons of personalized search are:
Tailored and more relevant search results
Better visitor experience

Rankings can vary person to person
Rankings can vary region to region

How does Universal search work?
Basically, the engines have stopped ignoring the ‘other’ types of information on the net including images, videos, news sites etc.
Do a Google Search for Hillary Clinton and you’ll get a good feel for universal search (if our results are similar of course 🙂 ).

So what do search marketers need to do to adapt and continue to be successful? Here are just a few ideas:
1. Cater to localized search. (more info coming on this topic)
2. Encourage clients to create unique content in all formats and promote via various online channels
3. Make peace with the fact your universe is only so big. Reverting back to lessons learned from Seth Godin yesterday, it’s about the whos, not how many.

View more photos from SES Chicago.

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  1. […] Pettice of TopRank Online Marketing covered the SES session on Personalization, User Data & Search. You must read this for the comments from Google’s Aaron D’Souza, if nothing else. […]

  2. […] Today’s Orion panel at SES NY really took a different spin on the topic of universal search. I went in expecting to hear the same info  about what it is, how info is gathered and how to optimize for universal search. Which, if you are interested, can be read about in a previous SES Chicago post regarding universal search. […]