We spend a lot of time optimising our client’s sites for the Search Engines and of course Google is always a key area that we focus on. Recently I was checking our own site to ensure that optimisation changes were kicking in as expected and I noticed a new item in the listing. It’s a small blue star next to the page title such as:-
The star is initially blank, but you can select it and it will turn yellow. So what’s the significance?
Increased Personalisation and this is what google themselves have to say on the subject:-
“With stars, you can simply click the star marker on any search result or map and the next time you perform a search, that item will appear in a special list right at the top of your results when relevant,” the company explains. “That means if you star the official websites for your favorite football teams, you might see those results right at the top of your next search for.”
“The great thing about stars is that you don’t have to keep track of them,” the company continues. “You don’t even have to remember whether or not you starred something. Simply perform a search and you’ll rediscover your starred items right when you need them. Stars sync with your Google Bookmarks and the Google Toolbar, so you can always see your list of starred items in one place and easily organize them. Even beyond the results page, while browsing the web you can quickly click the star icon in Toolbar to create a bookmark, and those pages will start showing up in the new stars feature.”
The feature apparently replaces Google’s existing SearchWiki feature, which didn’t catch on too much and according to Google, people don’t much care for rearranging the order of search results. We tend to agree and personally prefer the true organic listings already served up by Google.
From a developer’s and search engine optimisers perspective this is a feature that we won’t be using specifically (as it skews the ‘organic results’ and we need to validate how our clients are performing), but rather appreciating that Google personalisation is very much an area Google is very keen to pursue.