I’m catching a flight in a couple of hours but had so many emails about this that I’ll try to sum up my thoughts:
Google made a major change overnight, allowing people to vote and comment on listings. You can vote websites up or down using the arrow buttons and remove a site completely using the X button.
The project is called “SearchWiki” and is another stage in their attempt to personalize search results. So if I searched for “Mambo, I’d get the software, if a dancer did the same search they’d get the dance and if the surfer did it, they’d get the clothing company. That’s the goal anyway.
Google is Trying to Make it Harder to Track SEO Activity
In the last couple of years they’ve greatly reduced public Page Rank update, hidden supplemental results and made it much harder to find how many links you have. After all, if everyone gets a different result, what’s the point of tracking your site’s rankings?
- Google’s message: “stop focusing so much on your rankings and concentrate on a good user experience.”
- Google’s hope: “if webmasters can’t track the results of their actions, maybe they’ll stop trying to game our system.”
Overnight This Won’t Make Old-School SEO Redundant
Links, metadata, site architecture and other core tactics will be still be useful, but SearchWiki is a signpost to the future. What users think of your site and how they interact with become increasingly vital. Google’s results now show how many people have replied to a particular forum post. Its not hard to envisage the most popular posts ranking well.
I Can’t Belive the Comments Will Stay
Voting is fine because it can’t be vulgar and cheaters can be tracked by IP and other methods. However, comments? A couple of years ago I read about Legacy.com who had 45 moderators for a mere 18,000 daily comments. One person can handle 400 comments per day. Now imagine the volume of spam that Google’s public comments will attract and the manpower needed to keep the results clean.