Google Alters Search Rankings To Prioritize First-Hand Knowledge

Google has announced several updates to Search designed to deliver more tailored results.

Additionally, Google has implemented some ranking changes to make it easier for people to find personal perspectives and content that demonstrates first-hand knowledge

Google claims these updates will provide more personalized experiences based on individual interests and needs.

“Search has always been about connecting human curiosity with the incredible expanse of human wisdom on the web,” said Cathy Edwards, Vice President of Search at Google, in today’s announcement. “These improvements will help users find the most helpful information just for them, no matter how specific their question may be.”

Ranking Changes To Surface First-Hand Knowledge

Google has rolled out ranking changes to show first-person perspectives higher in search results, the company announced today.

The changes aim to make it easier for people to discover individual experiences, advice, opinions, and other direct knowledge when searching for information.

This could mean search results featuring fewer repetitive, second-hand sources and more unique personal perspectives relevant to users’ queries.

Edwards states in the announcement:

“As part of this work, we’ve also rolled out a series of ranking improvements to show more first-person perspectives in results, so it’s easier to find this content across Search.”

Follow Topics For Curated Recommendations

In addition to the ranking updates, Google is expanding its efforts to tailor results based on search history and personal interests.

Google is enabling a new way for users to “follow” specific topics right from Search results, like a favorite sports team or cooking style. This will allow Google to automatically surface relevant articles, videos, and timely notifications.

For example, someone training for a marathon could follow “marathon training” and see suggested articles about exercises and tips in their Google Discover feed.

In the example screenshots below, you can see what a mobile search results page looks like before and after following the topic “fashion trends.”

Google Alters Search Rankings To Prioritize First-Hand Knowledge

Google Alters Search Rankings To Prioritize First-Hand Knowledge

This feature builds on personalization features like showing recent searches and activity from Google accounts in search results. The follow feature is rolling out over the next few weeks on mobile browsers and apps in the U.S. in English.

By the end of the year, Google will make it easier to re-find often visited sites and start showing information about content creators, like follower counts, on many search results.

How Will This Impact SEO?

These changes will likely spark questions within the SEO community about how they will impact optimization strategies.

While the follow feature seems geared toward personalizing individual experiences, sites producing high-quality content around popular topics may see increased traffic as Google surfaces these pages to interested users.

Google’s plan to make frequently visited sites easier to re-find raises questions about what metrics will be used to promote sites. While Google’s announcement didn’t detail the ranking factors, current measures of user engagement, time on site, and repeat visits will likely play a role in surfacing popular sites users return to.

The new focus on highlighting information about content creators presents new optimization opportunities. An authoritative creator profile with a solid following and high engagement can signal trust. Displaying creator names and social handles prominently on pages allows Google to index that information better.

While personalization features will impact logged-in users more significantly, they could also alter results for general searches.

SEO professionals should continue optimizing for overall user experience and produce quality content that appeals to a broad audience. However, the ability to reach niche users interested in specific topics provides additional optimization potential.

In Summary

The updates announced today demonstrate Google’s efforts to adapt search to users’ evolving needs.

As these algorithmic changes roll out, users may begin to see search results that better reflect the nuanced, human nature of their interests and questions.

However, how significantly these tweaks will transform search rankings remains to be seen.

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