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By: Dave Shaw
Just a few hours ago TechCrunch reported that one of their readers was seeing a new interface on the Google SERP. The interface is a Digg style interface allowing users to vote for/against the search results.
Whilst this was the first I'd heard of it, it isn't anything completely new. Google have been testing something similar since late 2007. This feature hasn't ever been available in the experimental area on Google but it seems like it has been available to a small percentage of users. This latest test features differences to what has been seen previously, namely that users can change their vote.
Can you really see Google doing something like this long term? I recently wrote about Scour, a social search engine, which allows you to vote results up the rankings and get paid for doing so. I instantly dismissed it. Maybe I was wrong, but I can't really see this feature being rolled out to the SERPs however I could
imagine Google coming up with a rival to Digg. Surely this kind of feature would be far too open to manipulation? Or maybe it's an SEO's dream?
Having said that, Digg have made it work to a certain extent, and perhaps Google would just include user votes and one of the many other factors they use to decide how websites rank?
Or perhaps Google is just doing this as a way to cleverly see what people really think of their algorithm. Does it give people what they want or could they be ranked in another way that would be more popular with people?
You can read Google's FAQ's about this feature here. I'm sure we'd all like to here from you if you've somehow managed to be lucky enough to get onto this experiment!
Dave Shaw is a search engine marketer in the UK who is fascinated by all things Google. His blog is "a humorous slant on the day's most important, interesting and quirky Google stories. Because everyone loves Google."
5 thoughts on “Google SERPs: Can you dig it?”
I am not one of the luck individuals…. but if they were to implement it and give a lot of weight to it, it’s essentially be saying that their algorithm is a failure (and some might agree that it is) but i doubt that Google would ever come to that conclusion. They know it’s not perfect and continue to tweak it, but by implementing such a human based approach, as opposed to their precious algorithm would just be admitting failure.
I think that it’s an interesting test, to see how personalization of that degree could improve or hurt quality of rankings…
Hello! Thanks for the comments. I am not one of the lucky individuals either.
I agree with Link Building Bible (useful site by the way!) that it is almost like saying their algorithm is poor. I wonder how much weight they give to user comments/votes? There was a video over at TechCrunch showing that users can remove a listing from their results completely! I wonder what effect this has on everyone’s results (if any?).
It would be great if Google went this way, but it would have to be a factor in the search algorithm, not the only deciding factor to establish rankings. Otherwise, there will lead to a whole new “social search link exchange” which will be another terrible black hat abuse tactic…
I think it would be a interesting experiment. Obviously people could try to manipulate it but I think Google could extract information that could improve search results (especially by building up databases of people that linked the same pages you liked… and provide results that were like by those like you).
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