Google is moving personalized search to the next level by allowing searchers to “star” an item just like they are able to in Google Reader. When they make the same search at a later date, the starred items will appear at the top of the SERPs for easy collection. Call it a search engine results page bookmarker. That’s effectively what it is.
But will it send you more traffic? It depends. On what? On the number of people who “star” your website and return to it often. I highly doubt it will increase your unique visitors.
There’s no doubt this feature will help searchers, but what will it do for search engine optimizers? If no one uses it there will be no change, but I wouldn’t count on no one using it. I think there will be quite a few people who will star their favorite websites for specific searches that they make often. The question is, how will that behavior affect SEO.
It could affect it in a number of ways:
- More traffic overall, but no difference in unique visitors. In this scenario you’ll end up with more repeat visitors. That’s not bad, particularly if you sell more and get a higher conversion rate.
- Lower bounce rate. This will only happen if the above scenario works out in your favor.
- Less overall traffic, but more targeted traffic. If someone stars your website then they are really interested in what you have to offer. Personalization could lead to your website getting a lower ranking for particular high value search queries because other sites that have been starred take precedence for some users. You’ll just to have reach those users in different ways.
- No real change. Let’s face it, some sites just won’t get starred.
Are there any ways you can think of that starred items may affect your search engine rankings? Do you see this as a good thing?