Google Announces Major Changes to Prioritize First-Hand Knowledge and Personalize Search Results
In November 2023, Google rolled out some significant changes to how they rank and display search results. These changes aim to make search results more relevant, helpful and personalized for each user. Here are the key points:
Prioritizing First-Hand Knowledge
Google will start prioritizing content that demonstrates first-hand knowledge and experiences over content that just summarizes or repackages information. This means search results will be more likely to prioritize; ( blog posts, reviews, testimonials, and personal essays/stories rather than encyclopedia-style articles or sites that aggregate information without unique insights).
Blog posts and articles where the author has genuine experiences and expertise related to the topic from their career, education, hobbies or personal life.
- Product reviews and ratings made by users who have purchased and tested the item themselves.
- Personal stories, essays or recounts of real-world situations, places visited, people met, etc. directly from those who were involved.
- Website or business pages owned and operated by professionals working in the field being searched for.
Google recognizes that for many informational queries, people find results from sources that have experienced or engaged with a subject as the most credible and helpful.
Spotlighting content where authors have demonstrable qualifications would make it easier to locate trusted guides, advice and insights – especially for topics like health, legal issues, technical problems or travel destinations where know-how matters greatly.
The goal is to help users more easily find information from sources that truly have experience and expertise in the subject matter.
Personalized Search Results
To provide more individualized results, Google will leverage each user’s personal context cues to tailor search results. (unique search history, interests, location signals and other personal context cues to tailor search results). Some factors that may influence personalization include:
- Explicit interests, topics, brands or personalities a user has “followed” or saved previously in their Google account.
- Location signals from IP address or Location Services setting to prioritize local/nearby results.
- Implicit signals like frequently researched topics, frequently clicked or purchased items, YouTube watch history and more.
- Demographic context cues inferred from a user’s profile information if provided.
This allows Google to better understand what types of information or sources of content individual users value most. In theory, search results can become hyper-relevant to each person’s specific interests and needs. Meaning that it’s likely two people may not see exactly the same output for the same query.
Following Topics from Search
Google will introduce a new way for users to follow specific topics, people or categories directly from Search results. By tapping “follow”, Google can then
- push timely notifications to followers about new articles, videos, updates or events related to user’s interest through Google search result and Discover feed.
- Curated content related to that interest for followers to easily consume whenever convenient.
- Remind people to re-engage with their interests through automated, personalized recommendations.
This makes it easy for users to stay up-to-date on their favorite subjects without having to constantly re-search for new developments or information.
Google’s Goals and Hopes
These changes aim to directly address issues like search result quality, relevance and keeping users informed over time according to Google. Some of their key goals and hopes include:
- Making it easier for users to find the most helpful and high-quality information for their needs through prioritizing first-hand experiences and knowledge.
- Delivering search results that are individually tailored for each person’s unique interests and contexts.
- Streamlining the process for users to discover and remain informed on topics they care about most over the long run.
- Improving overall search experience, satisfaction and trust in Google’s ability to understand and serve users’ precise information requirements.
Google believes these shifts in prioritization and personalization will lead to users finding more relevant, trustworthy and worthwhile information through Search to solve their problems or answer their questions.
In summary, Google’s changes indicate a strategic push to:
- Rank results based on real-world expertise rather than aggregation of information
- Provide more personalized search experiences based on individual profiles
- Enhance discoverability and actively inform users on preferred topics over time
While the impacts remain to be seen(while we await its impact), it reflects Google’s ongoing efforts to tackle issues like search relevance, quality and keeping users engaged beyond any single query. It shows Google’s aspiration to gain a deeper understanding of user intent and information needs to continuously improve Search services.
The end goal is to help people efficiently find the most worthwhile and applicable knowledge to address their specific circumstances and interests.