Wherever you turn it seems that personalization in regard to search engine optimization is discussed at a tone of voice as if the End Of The World is
Personalization will change search engine results. You will see this, I will see that. No more ranking #1 for term X no matter who and where you are.
So? If there is anything to report here it is that search engines are working hard to give us organically what we normally could only get with paid search: targeting.
Personalized Paid Search
Who in their right mind would want to be the top bidder, the top ad for just any query, any keyword? No, you want to target specific groups of people. Those in the last stages of the buying cycle, for instance. Getting those people to your site means a potential conversions: the others are just clickers.
Personalized search results are a little bit like that. It knows I prefer to work in PHP and makes my search results more relevant towards that subject when I search for "IDE" (integrated development environment"). Your uptake? When I click on your site in my search results I'm much more likely to be a buyer.
It's always been personal
But set aside that it might actually be better for you. Fact is, it has always been personal. Well over half of all searches on Google are unique (long tail) searches. Imagine that. Millions of searches per second, every second, every day -- and over half of those searches are unique. John doesn't search like Jane, Jane doesn't click the results like John. John always checks out the first 3 top results, Jane always goes to the second page first because she thinks the first is mostly spam.
If anything, search engines like Google are starting to make it easier for us to talk specifically to those people who have an interest in what we're trying to sell.
Personally I think that's great news.