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What Is Search Personalization: Application, Pros And Cons, Ways To Disable

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Hello! In this article we will talk about the personalization of search results.

Search engines are evolving and improving. New features are being introduced, which are conceived as an improvement for users and an opportunity to earn more for the developer company. One of these is personalized delivery. In this article, we will understand what search personalization is, why it is needed, what are the pros and cons of search personalization, how to disable it, and how a webmaster can work with personalization.

What is search personalization

For the last 9 years, Google and the last 7 years for Yandex have been adapting to the user - according to his location, device, block of interests and specific sites that he visits most often. Based on these factors, search results are formed, which will be unique for each person.

Search personalization is a search results page based on the following data: geography, devices, demographics, block of interests, and most frequent sites.

Algorithms for search engines are different, but the essence is the same: to make it more convenient for the user to search for information, he is given pages taking into account all the data available to the search engine. In some areas, this is practically not necessary (when searching for general information or analytics), but in others it is a convenient thing (nearby cafes , restaurants , cinemas, etc.).

Now almost all search engines - Yandex, Google, Yahoo, Mail, and even the Chinese Baidu - use personalized search results. Most of all, Google has succeeded in this. Almost 100% of all search results are personalized. In other search engines, this figure can reach 70-80%.

How did personalized issuance come about?

The idea of ​​personalized issuance first came from Google developers. In 2010, they began actively testing their system. First, for regional queries like “nearest metro station” or “nearest cafe”. The system showed itself well, but it was necessary to accustom the user to the fact that you can ask such queries, and the search engine will understand. This took several years.

In 2012, the domestic Yandex also entered the business. You can recall popular advertisements , where users typed in the request "Cafe nearby" and the like. This was how not only the first personalized issue was formed, but also the idea was heard that now it is really possible to do this.

The personalization system brought not only new users, but also additional advertising money in the "nearby" blocks. Then everything went in a more interesting direction. Instead of being limited to geography, the system began to be taught to read additional parameters. It was a block of interests and personal information about the user. At the same time, the first requests “where to go” and “what to do” appeared.

Now the system is developing precisely in this direction - so that everyone, according to their interests, can receive such an issue that would answer all questions. And this concerns not only regional, but also personal preferences. This is a gradual transition from "I'm in this city, and I need these institutions" to "I'm interested in this and that, tell me."

Personal search in Yandex

Yandex personal search focuses on three factors:

  • Region. In the regional issue, everything can change a lot depending on the place. It has long been recognized "... nearby" and takes into account the nearest requested object. It can be everything from a cafe to a specific product. It changes not only within the city, but also within the district and even at home.
  • Search history. Yandex takes into account individual search history. Based on the visited sites, something like a “list of interests” is formed. The indicators are analyzed and the system also takes them into account when creating a personalized SERP. This also applies to controversial queries like the conditional word "personalization" - for some it will show the search results in the tips, and for some it will show the marketing term.
  • Featured Sites. Pages and sites that a user visits regularly are also taken into account in search results. And if they have certain material, such pages will be higher in the results than others that he does not go to.
  • Activity in social networks. Interests in social networks are an important feature by which search results are formed. Not only general profile information, but also groups, visited pages and information from the wall.
  • Voice commands to the assistant. Alice was created and advertised for a reason. And not just now in every Yandex browser. Each command to Alice will also be counted in the search. And if you suddenly turned on Alice during a conversation and asked a question, and then went to Yandex with a similar request, then it will be taken into account in the search page. After the implementation of the Korolev algorithm, Yandex has made great progress in personalizing search results. More parameters are already taken into account, and the system is more accurate. Over time, the search engine will be able to accurately take into account the interests of the user even in general queries and make personal results for them. So far, it is geographic queries that show themselves best.

Google personal search

Google started working on personalized search results in 2008. Then it was possible to vote for sites and remove some of the search results. A tremendous amount of work has been done, and the differences between the search from Yandex are visible. In general, Google takes into account about 200 factors. The most important of them:

  • Geography. Nowhere without her. Specific requests vary by region. Also accurate to the area and the house. The most interesting example: the search for "football" in Britain will see the English league and world football news, but in America it will be American football. That is, Google takes into account geo not only in specific requests within the city, but also in general.
  • Search history. As in the case of Yandex, a list of interests and frequent sites are determined. The more often a user visits a certain page, the higher it will be in the search results. But here again, Google is a little further from Yandex and more accurately forms a list of interests and a picture as a whole. Search results of interests work better.
  • Mobile factors. Adaptive version, layout and a set of smaller parameters are also taken into account. Google mobile search has become almost a different universe.
  • Social activities. Everyone who has registered a Google+ account has personal data. And the machine also takes them into account when creating search results. Everything from gender to list of interests.
  • Other Google Products. If you have one account, the search engine will take into account all the activities that you show. And from different devices. Almost all information will be tracked and help to make search results.

No matter how strange it may sound, but Google with its applications practically controls every step of the user on the computer and phone. And thanks to this, it can take into account a large number of parameters that make its search so unique. It is difficult for two people with different interests to see at least half of the sites on the first page of the issue for the same query. Especially if it's regional.

Pros and cons of personalization in search engines

Personal search has advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of search personalization:

  • Users spend less time searching for the information they need. According to statistics, after the introduction of personalized search, people began to spend 15% less time searching for information. Especially when it comes to "descriptive queries" (like searching for a movie by actors or specific episodes).
  • Regional issuance has become much more convenient. Queries “nearby”, “in the city”, “where to go” and the like have become really convenient. Now, to watch some movie poster, you do not need to drive in either the city or the cinema. It will already be on the first line of the search or even in advertising.
  • More opportunities for advertising. This applies to narrow niches and regional advertising. It is much easier and more efficient to set “geo + interests” in the parameters for a more accurate hit on the target audience than to wait until the right person deigns to click.


  • Difficulty in regularly searching for information from different niches. The search engine gives out mainly those sites that have already been visited. If there is no information on a specific issue, a similar request may appear on the first or second page. This only complicates the search at some points.
  • Tracking specific site positions. A real headache for webmasters. If you visit the site regularly, it will be in the first place for any request. But other users don't. Previously, it was possible to track the location of a site for a specific request in the top, but now you have to turn off personal search or go incognito.

All the minuses rest solely on how competently a person approaches the search. For professionals who are constantly looking for information on the Internet, such issuance can sometimes even interfere. Simply because even on one site there will be information of different quality. And if we add that the list of interests is taken into account, then it will be difficult for some journalists, webmasters and copywriters from constant changes in search results.

In general, search personalization is a convenient thing, without which it would be difficult now. Especially for people in large cities, where it is almost impossible to navigate and even just live comfortably without a phone. You need to look at something, google it or pay via the Internet, and all this is constantly on the road and with a shortage of time.

How to disable personalization

Disabling personalization completely is almost impossible now. You can only remove the analysis of search results. In Yandex, this can be done like this:

  • Remove the checkmark from "personal search".

Google is pretty much the same. You need to go to the settings (gear next to the search engine) and then poke into "do not show personal results".

After disabling, in order to reset all personalization settings, it is recommended to clear the search history.

Why does an SEO specialist need it?

For an SEO specialist, personalized search is an unaffordable luxury. Especially during business hours. Search suggestions and search results page will adapt to daily requests. And where will people go most often? To your website , of course. And if you do not turn off the issuance, it will seem that for almost all queries your own site is in the first place. And search hints will give out what you want, and not what is really happening.

And if you do not turn off this feature in time, you can miss an important moment when the positions on the request fall. Plus, search suggestions will be noticeably distorted, and this should not be allowed. Of course, you can always use special services, but it’s easier to initially disable this feature, and use your phone for personal requests.

How to navigate search suggestions

Search suggestions are cool, especially for promoting your own website . To get into the hints, you need two things:

  • So that users enter the desired query many times during the day.
  • So that the mentions of the request are found in the content of the sites.

Either marketers or SEO specialists need to focus on search hints. Now one without the other exists only in the field of info-sites . To attract the maximum number of people to the page, you need to focus on the most popular search suggestions. And work through them through Wordstat, collecting and accumulating in a specific material on the site page.

How to find out the rating of a site

To find out the position of the site for a specific request, just turn off personalization or go through incognito mode, type in a request and then look. But if the site is new or the request is unpopular, you will have to spend a lot of time. It is easier to search for site positions using special services: be1, seogadget, siteposition. Services work as follows:

  • Collect search queries for which positions are needed.
  • Enter all requests in order.
  • Enter site name.

After that, you can get statistics on all driven search queries. It is best to do this 2-3 weeks after the publication of the material on the page. The search results will already settle down, and the site will take its positions. And periodically you need to check the positions for queries in order to remove the pages that sag in positions in time.

Search personalization is a convenient thing that focuses on specific users. But while it is still far from perfect, and for some people it is much more convenient without it. And for a webmaster and SEO specialist in general, personalized search can play a cruel joke. But otherwise, the future belongs to personal search.

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