Surviving Personalization with Bing and Google – SMX Advanced 2012

June 5, 2012
By Michelle Lowery in Internet Marketing Conferences

Surviving Personalization with Bing and Google - SMX Advanced 2012I have to say, this is the fourth conference I’ve liveblogged, we’re only one session in, and I’m already digging the format. One session, then a 45-minute break, giving me plenty of time to not only publish my post, but get to the next session without running? Awesome. SMX, I thank you.

Now it’s time to focus on search engine personalization and how it affects results. You know Google’s not the only one playing that game, right? Our own Outspoken Media CEO Rhea Drysdale, along with Aaron Friedman, and Marty Weintraub are going to give you the lowdown on how the personalization functions work, and what you can do about it. While they present, Danny Sullivan will moderate. Listen up because it’s about to get good.

Danny starts things off by letting us know how cold it is up on stage. I have little sympathy because my fingers are like icicles and I have to liveblog and hope they don’t just crack on my keyboard.

First up is Marty. [Didn’t I just see this guy?! He’s everywhere!]

He starts off by saying the best way to impact personalized search is to be really personal.

Brands that aren’t participating are idiotic. Google isn’t really a social place, but to Google, it is, and they need Google+. Sure, there’s semantics in what you do, but it’s not the same as what you used to do.

Twitter and Facebook both matter less. SEO comes down to, why would anyone want to follow your smelly stuff? Here we are at a pinnacle conference in the world, and we’re talking about social. Talk about stuff that really matters. If they want to know about stuff and be alerted, they have to follow.

It’s not about fancy SEO changes. You can read about how to optimize stuff you put on Plus, but it comes down to feed marketing, which hardcore bloggers have been doing since, what, 1998? Danny, were you blogging in 1998? What did you call it?

Danny: “Writing.” [Danny is both moderator and straight man in this session!]

Vanity Bait

Understand human nature. Know that people are drawn to that.

I noticed years ago that if I gave additional resources on the blog, more people came to it. If you’re not mentioning people on Google+ that you’ve carefully brought there, you’re blogging for no one.

One thing you can do for great SEO, is go to Alltop, find your stuff, research the Plus profile for all your users, and engage them on Plus. The more people that engage with it, the better it will be.

You can tag people in Plus, you can make up/give awards—those things get people to engage. Anytime you interview people, that’s an amazing thing. Interview someone and only put it on G+, then put only the juicy stuff on your blog to get people to follow you there.

Curate the curators. Aggregate the aggregators.

Start by wiring up the inside stakeholders. This is what Google wants us to do. They just said, “You will be social.”

Get to know the media: bloggers, TV journalists, publishers, newspapers, radio jocks, etc.

Run FB ads to people who are reporters, columnists and editors. Drive them to your Plus page to see what you’re advertising and sharing.

Customer Service

Laura Lippay always says the best SEO is a product that doesn’t suck.

Celebrate Community

That’s where your business lives. Use organizations such as Rotary, Salvation Army, Junior League, Sports Volunteer Attorneys, etc. You’d be dumb not to claim the low-hanging fruit.

Minimum Participation in Plus

  • Passive Distribution) Participation
  • Push optimized content
  • Actual day to day business flow
  • Videos, press releases

If you can’t find one or two things to say about your business each week, there’s no business.

More Aggressive Participation

  • Set goals
  • Set community Business KPIs
  • Active participation to served and delight
  • research and engage users
  • social ads to build circles
  • Give, give, give, give, give
  • network w/ competitors’ community

Closing Thought

The best way to impact personalized search is to be personal. [Does that sound familiar? Commit it to memory!]

Next is Aaron. He’s going to break his presentation into two parts: the current issue in personalized search, and the future of personalized search.

There are a couple of barriers in personalized search: how do I reach a larger audience, and how do I get my info to show up so people can find it?

It’s broken up into quantity and quality. They’re different, but connected. For users, it means getting more relevant results. For marketers, it means getting more people to see your results, or getting your content in front of people.


Buy ads – not the shady way

Google+ and Twitter

Grow your other networks.

In the end, you can have all the quantity, but if it doesn’t mean anything, all you have is a bunch of crap. It’s meaningless. The goal is to make more quality content that resonates with your audience.

  • Create Unique Content – don’t plagiarize
  • Don’t Neglect Your Networks – If they ask questions, make sure you answer them
  • Don’t use generic images
  • Be creative – creativity goes a long way in search engines; infographics is a great example of that
  • Be useful and helpful – answer questions, help your audience, become a valuable part of the community

Tactics to Improve Quality

  • Twitter long tail suggestion – Identify what people are talking about to assist with content creation
  • Identify keywords to find opportunity – Understand the queries and what’s driving people to your site
  • Look at social data with tools like Topsy and SocialMention
  • Develop the content – Make it super relevant have a list of user for outreach; grow your network
  • Open Graph Optimization – maximize and optimize messages shared on FB by users
  • Use BrightEdge. It pulls in meta tags, but it’s not effective for Facebook. Open Graph titles have 95 characters, OG Description tags had 297—much different from search engines.
  • Optimize Open Graph tags

Twitter buttons grab the title tag and header. The problem is, they’re underutilized. You need to have something that jumps out at people. If you put this code in your Twitter button, you can send a better message to your users. [Aaron just displayed an entire page of code. Yeah, that’s not happening. I’ll try to get a link to his presentation, and add it to this post later. :-)]

Engines are more social. Entities are playing a big role in this. In Google, we see entities are everywhere. Search engines are becoming more social than ever. They’re creating a new database.

It’s about understanding concepts through words: verbs, action attribution, frictionless sharing

Every one of us has the potential to become an entity.

Remember Wonder Wheel? Google Panels functions in a similar manner. Just something to think about.

The real thing we’re trying to do here is stay relevant, and be known for the things we want to be known for. This is already happening on Bing. People are showing up as experts on the search terms I enter into Bing.

The future of entity search is interest-based demographics. What I tell you I am interested in defines me. Social data is your attributes.

Interest graphs already exist using tools like MentionMapp.

What do you do with this?

  • Focus on Rel=Author – this will be huge
  • Focus on quality content – develop it according to what users are searching for
  • Spend time growing your user base – don’t make it empty

Now we come to our own Rhea Drysdale – yay! [Yes, of course I’m biased.]

Her one takeaway is this: Personalization is the future of search, but it’s not just the future—it’s the present. Rhea says everyone’s results are already personalized, and recommends you read this post:

Personlized Search Factors

  • Location
  • Search History
  • Social Search

How does Google see your search history?

  • browser
  • toolbar
  • search engine

Go to and you can see your search history. You can opt out of them collecting it, but as Marty has said before, even if it’s not stored, your results will be personalized based on frequency of searches.

Google also sees your network based on the links you enter into each social profile.

How Does Google Track Your Friends?

  • Mutual connections
  • Interaction
  • Links
  • Connected Accounts
  • Extended circles
  • Friends on external sites when their profiles are connected

How does Google identify your accounts?

  • similarities between your Google account name and user names on other social networks
  • similarities between your connections

Google also tracks what you +1.

At this point, Rhea asks everyone to +1 Outspoken Media on Google Plus. [Go ahead. I’ll wait.]

How does Google Track your content?

When you link your G+ profile to the content you create, Google tracks it.

How does Google track social activity?

  • conversions
  • sources
  • sharing
  • formerly through Post Ranks, now social reporting

How do you measure personalization extent in GA?

Whether you agree with personalization or not, it’s taking place. GA will tell you percentage of people who are signed into Gmail when they come to your site, and will also tell you the percentage who are networked with social accounts.

Personalized Search is the Search Engine Arms Race! At SMX London Amit Singhal said secure search was the key to personalized results. Google doesn’t want to take over Facebook; they want to enhance search with the social graph.

Why did Google create [not provided]?

Keyword reports are obsolete when search results are personalized. If we could see which keywords are driving search rankings, it would be much easier to game. That’s what Rhea calls her tin hat theory.

Bing has said that personalization is taken from social, personal long term, short term personalization, location, privacy, transparency, and control.

Bing rank is comprised of: authority, quality of keyword match, personal preferences, and…something I didn’t catch. Sorry!

What’s in it for Bing? A competitive advantage tapping data from Twitter and Facebook.

Rhea’s BigAss List of Tactics

  • Write Geo-Targeted Content – For one of our clients, 68% of their content is written with location-specific organic keywords
  • Use markup language
  • Use Offline Networking to Build Relationships – The client Rhea mentioned is a personal injury attorney – what do you need when you’ve been in a car accident other than attorney? Chiropractor, mechanic, massage therapist, whatever. We’re building a list of resources for this client to share with their community. We’re looking at everyone in his local area who’s active on Twitter and Facebook for him to connect with, and to send to those resources to build relationships.
  • Optimize your site for Mobile
  • Target for Multiple Languages
  • Local Search – Ask the experts in the local panel [Yes, I am covering it this afternoon!]
  • Brand Your: Name, Products, Company – Check out Branding Centric, a company we’re working with. Make sure you have a brand name people will search for.
  • Write Great, relevant content
  • Write often, and make sure it’s compelling and shareable
  • Coordinate SEO with PR & Social
  • Set up a Wikipedia Page
  • Submit Your Data Through Freebase
  • Set Up Authorship
  • Brand Thought Leaders – This is hard to do, but effective.
  • Publish Content Often
  • Create Community Account Logins – Some people are too lazy to put a bookmark on their browser; use that to your advantage
  • Use Gmail for Login – It’s all about getting connections.
  • Use events to drive queries – Can you have meetups? Coding sessions? Post a schedule on your site.
  • Create and post content to Google+
  • Set Up Google+ Direct Connect
  • Increase your Google+ followers – put a G+ box on your blog
  • Use LinkedIn to identify your network – viewers of this profile also viewed…
  • Hold giveaways, contests, sweepstakes
  • Use Facebook login for comments
  • Create long- and short-term content
  • Engage your community – Things SEOmoz is doing: threaded comments, subscribe to comments, thumb-up comments to increase moz score.

Rhea’s final piece of advice: “Now GO DO IT!”

And we’re out! Well, at least until after lunch. See you then!

Get all the SMX Advanced 2012 coverage here!

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