Google Search Going Social

Note: This post was archived from the Infusionsoft Blog. More details here.

I’m in charge of our online marketing efforts here at Infusionsoft; I was a little stunned, shocked, and even a little scared to see Google’s latest move. I’m sure you will be, too.

Google is selectively rolling out an experiment where they will leverage user input to rank and sort results.

If you’re signed into Google and you perform a search, you’ll see that you can “vote” search rankings up or “vote” for the listing to be removed .  As searcher, this is a great.  It gives the searcher the power to decide what listings are good or not and, ultimately; search results should become more relevant.

Initially, it made me a little uneasy because my first thought was, “What if people click the ‘remove’ button on my listings?” As I thought about it, I realized this upcoming feature may actually improve the quality of our visitors from search.

You can read about Google’s experiment, but suspiciously this isn’t listed on their public beta testing site, Google Labs.

What if the results affected everyone’s listings? What if search became truly social?

You see, visitors who search a term and find us to be a valuable listing will “vote” us up. Therefore we’ll get more visitors that see us as valuable. But, those that don’t immediately “get” what we do, or don’t see our listing as valuable based on what they searched on will preemptively “vote us off the island.” In the end, we could have less visitors that arrive at our site from search terms that don’t make sense and more visitors that arrive from search terms that that are relevant.

This method also puts more pressure on marketers to ensure that websites are clear, concise, and powerful.

What do you think about Google latest move to make search results social?

8 thoughts on “Google Search Going Social”

  1. I noticed those little buttons about a week ago in my search, however, I think it is more likely profiling users interests and cleaning up search engine spam.

    That means, tuning AdWords campaigns based on link feedback. Maybe in the future it will influence ranking, but right now that would be too easy to game.

    Best,

    Justin

  2. For the most part, I’m mixed on the issue. As much as I would love to collect feedback from the crowd, I don’t trust it. There are way too many users who wouldn’t know a good, useful Web site even if it smacked them in the forehead; to potentially get penalized based on individual surfer ratings is capricious at best for providing qualitative results.

    If I recall, doesn’t Google already collect this data by means of click-tracking and JavaScript to already harvest how “useful” a site is? Google already knows which sites have the highest bounce rates to remove them from results pages.

    What I would like to see is AdWords feedback. That is very valuable to get. In a way, like what Facebook has for their ads (thumb up/down). If an advertiser gets low ratings, then it gets reviewed by Google staff.

    I agree with you Justin it would be easy to game (now), but it could be good data to start collecting to see what it means later.

    Just one of my many two cents.
    ~Joe

  3. salut.
    je vois plus hoos poure une autre avenure de sociale hummen
    mes est se que ya quel qu un qui me ecoute
    est tout le mande connais que la sience na pas de franteire.
    je suis marocaine je ne trouve pas aucain moiyane dans mon peiyé
    ma chanche tombe moi entre les main des vouleure mes je suis intelegon qe luis matnent je demande a le mande libre de sovés cette aidé qui ne revieain pas sur sa plase
    merci poure tout le mande libre

  4. The way I read this, your up or down vote will only affect the way search results will be presented to you in the future. I don’t believe at this point the up or down vote will change the order of the results to the general searching population. I see it as more of a customization for yourself unlike social search which affects everyone’s experience.

  5. djbbiz – I think you’re right. The votes only change your own results, but I’m just guessing as to what Google might do next with this data. Seems pretty powerful to me. If the people at Google wanted to, they could use this data to affect results for everyone. There are potential problems with people gaming the system (as have been mentioned above), but if they can figure out a way to keep that under control, things could get pretty interesting.

  6. I think it’s not a good idea, till now we have trusted Google to do their job by indexing the sites and returning results and not base it by the people rating the sites.

    Meny Hoffman

  7. I think it’s a great way for Google to gather feedback from its users. Until now, they’ve done a pretty good job of guessing what people think will be relevant, but this search feedback will provide an additional data point that they’re on the right track.

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