Usability-first Search Engine Optimization

Google Launches SearchWiki

Yesterday, Google launched SearchWiki, the biggest news in Web 2.0 since sliced Wikipedia. Once logged into your google account, SearchWiki allows you move search results up or out of Google’s index, for your own personalized results on return visits to the Goog. As well as allowing users to edit, reorder, and remove search results to their liking, SearchWiki allows public commenting on search results, letting others know their opinions on individual web sites [Insert scary music here]. Google’s reasoning here is to make it easier for you to find the results that best suit our needs, with these custom indexed results stored in your Google Account.

Google SearchWiki

Well, for those of us with hearts already 100% dedicated to Google, we’ll now have to find other parts of ourselves to dedicate to our beloved search behemoth.

Of course, these pseudo-bookmarked, tailored search results fit nicely into our relatively recent, present day social-media-heavy virtual existence. In the same vein as Del.icio.us, Stumbleupon, Digg, Sphinn, Reddit, Technorati, and countless others, Google now allows us to share our thoughts amongst each other – on the good, bad, and the ugly of all the sites in the Interverse. But wait. Google tells us that The changes you make only affect your own searches. Well, we’ll see how long until Google revises that statement, because once if those changes did affect public indexing, we might never have to leave Google for online bookmarking or social-networking communities at all. The comments you leave however, will be public.

I don’t know how I’d feel if Google did incorporate the voting system into their results. Actually, I think I do. Personally, I prefer to surf recommendation engines such as StumbleUpon, or other social networking sites such as Digg when I feel like browsing social media. The way I see it, the thing that sets the internet apart from all other forms of media is that the “hits” don’t necessarily prevail in search engines; instead, the Long Tail of media, including the “misses”, have as much of a chance of producing results in the SERPs – as long as the results are relevant. Granted, “relevant” results – while being based on indexing algorithms – do rely on some forms of indirect user input. One site linking to another, for example, counts as a vote in the eyes of Google’s Pagerank algorithm. I just don’t know if I’m ready to welcome the fact wholeheartedly that ‘what mainstream internet deems to be the best results’ could affect my Google experience in such a direct way. In any case, for now at least, the changes we make only affect our own searches.

So Google, you still do it for me, but…

As Googey-baby states: SearchWiki also is a great way to share your insights with other searchers. You can see how the community has collectively edited the search results by clicking on the ‘See all notes for this SearchWiki’ link.

I don’t remember ever seeing an online grafitti feedback system that wasn’t chalk full of gorilla marketing. It’ll be interesting to see how this one plays out.