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Search Marketers: Beware Google Web History

  • Ad Age, Monday, April 30, 2007 10:45 AM
Search marketing guru Danny Sullivan says the implications of GoogleClick are small potatoes compared to Web History, a new feature from Google that enables users of the Google Toolbar to see a log of all the Web pages they've ever visited. That Web history, he says, will influence how pages rank in the search results users see on the increasingly personalized Google.com.
Millions have the Google Toolbar installed. It already includes a PageRank meter that rates a site's popularity from 0-10, reporting that info back to Google. Until last week, Sullivan says that feature was switched off, but now it's automatically switched on for new toolbar users. Google is encouraging those who already have the toolbar to switch it on.

Is that bad? If someone searches for "Saturn," looking for information about the planet, but more results turn up for the car maker because of that person's Web history, does that make Google's service any better? Not really, but forget about consumers for a minute--Sullivan says that changes the search-marketing game. SEMs will no longer go after top ranking on search results that are the same for everybody. That's OK; if your ad for Saturn the car maker shows up in front of someone looking for planets, they probably won't click on it anyway.

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