Yesterday Google announced SearchWiki, allowing Google users to customize their search results. This large UI update is rolling out today.
According to reports, users can promote / banish / annotate listings in their personal SERPs. Google will collect petabytes of preference information, and this user feedback will likely impact rankings.
SearchWiki will change some of the rules of the SEO game, for sure. What about AdWords?
Here are my predictions. Just musings, I've no insider information here.
- Short-term, there will be zero relationship between SearchWiki and Adwords. Google needs time to see how this new system works over time and at scale.
- Intermediate term, I'd predict SearchWiki up-votes and down-votes will play some role in Quality Score. A small role, as click-through rate is still the most important factor for Google, because CTR proxies relevance and because CTR drives Google revenue.
- Long term, expect Google to test applying SearchWiki voting to Adwords.
That last one is interesting to ponder. Would it help or hurt PPC advertisers if Google allowed searchers to reorder the ads on the right?
Google would never allow users to turn off all the ads -- that's Google's revenue -- but perhaps Google might allow individuals to ban or promote certain advertisers on their own personal SERPs. And if so, would those preferences elapse, or be locked in forever? By phrase per advertiser, or by advertiser overall? And at what point would individual votes flow into general QS?
Heck, if I'm advertiser "X" and consumer "Y" really doesn't want to see my paid ads on searches for phrase "Z", then being intentionally absent on that serp might help me, cutting down my ad costs with no sales loss. Perhaps.
Overall, the balance between advertiser and consumer is swinging towards the consumer. Think blogging, social media, user reviews, Tivo. Legitimate email marketers live in a one-strike-and-you're-out world. Increasingly, catalogers do too.
Again, this topic has zero immediate impact on PPC, and likely won't in 2009. But, to me, still quite interesting.
Allowing users control of the right hand rail -- what do you think?