SEO implications of user generated search

I had hoped to jot down these thoughts when the SearchWiki was announced by Google last week but reading Dave Fleet’s post (and uber-geeky accompanying graphic – below) spurned me to action.


In a nutshell, Google users can now comment on and either promote/demote/delete search results. The creators of the world’s most powerful and expensive algorithm is giving up and leaving it to the unwashed masses to determine what sort of results they want to see.

Dave rattles through a few tactical considerations that will be derived from this announcement (another place to monitor, increased one-to-one interaction with the stakeholder, stakeholder control, advantage to existing players, more expensive AdWords and SEO potential) but I wanted to talk a little about the implications for SEO.

My personal thinking, as shown in my post on Twigg: the new next big in search, which aggregates and rates the links your Twitter followers are posting, is that the key to SEO in the future will be the same as SEO in the past.

Make great products; make great marketing; get people talking about you.

  • If people can comment on your search results, make them good comments.
  • If people can promote your site in their search results, give them a reason to.
  • If people can demote your site in their search results, give them a reason to leave you alone.
  • If people can delete your site from their search results, show them why your content is compelling. Give them a reason why you should be “untouchable”.

In my mind, the SEO “potential” for inserting links on SearchWiki results is pure black hat SEO and a sure fire way for getting your site blacklisted from Google’s index. Using Google to spam Google? Bad idea.

Which may be why Chris Green’s analysis of the situation showed that the “spammer arms race” was only prevalent on certain key terms.

If SearchWiki’s launch tells us anything, it is on the continuing value of creating great content that get’s people talking about your organization and linking to your site.

As I said in a meeting last week:

If you’re in the marketing game, you’re in the content production game.

*Some* other people have been commenting on this as well. You may want to read what they have to say.

Giggle” image “courtesy” Dave Fleet.


2 Responses to SEO implications of user generated search

  1. davefleet says:

    Awww come on, that pic is classy. Ok, perhaps not…

    I absolutely agree, there’s no way I would ever recommend black hat tactics like spamming the search comments. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean people won’t try it.

  2. Danny Brown says:

    There’s definitely a concern that this new feature could be used “incorrectly”. However, I think a lot of it depends on how well it’s taken up to start with. It’s only active with users logged into their Google accounts – so basically, for non-Gmail or Adsense users, it won’t make a difference. Which is quite a lot of people.

    Or have I missed something? 🙂

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