Google Tags & Bookmarks : SEO Implications

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Google Tags & Bookmarks : SEO Implications

Google Bookmarks have entered the searchosphere via an upgraded Google Toolbar and tagging in Google Personalized Search results. In a similar fashion to Yahoo’s direction in Social Tagging, Google may also be looking to incorporate Bookmark & Tag variables into their search ranking methodology.

Way back in June 2005 Bill Slawski was picking apart the patent of the Google Bookmark Manager at Cre8asite Forums in the thread If a Googler Offers you a Bookmark Manager, Punch Him. Here are some clips from Bill’s post:

Bookmarks as Part of “Personalized Search Objects”

Personalized search may begin with the use of a bookmark manager, which makes it easy to create, modify, delete, and save bookmarks on the network. It would also provide information about those bookmarks to the search engine. The search engine can return searches based upon documents linked to in the bookmark manager alone. Those bookmarks can be shared over different computers. The manager may also include user ratings for different documents bookmarked. Multiple user personalities can be defined in the bookmark manager, with “recommendations” based upon those different personalities.

The bookmarks in the bookmark manager may be part of a “personalized search object” which could also include the history list of the browser. That personalized search could be combined with a general search on the web, or may display both types of searches side-by-side. A number of different ways to sort results are noted in the patent application, including sorting of the bookmarks by user ratings, and possibly even sorting of the general ratings based upon topics defined by the users bookmarks.

More than URLs Measured

Repeat visits to a site, amount of time lingering at a bookmarked page, and infrequent use of some bookmarks may also be measured, and inform the results of searches. Other measures, such as whether a page is printed, saved, or scrolled upon could also be noted. A user-defined bookmark title may also influence the search, as may user ratings and annotations of bookmarked sites.

For privacy hacks there are some pretty freaky things going on in the Google bookmark patent, especially the tracking of visits to site, times spent on sites, and which pages are printed. These variables, when added to a search algorithm however, could be quite valuable in terms of judging the quality of a page’s content and usability.

Does this mean SEO types and webmasters are going to start paying people who have Google Bookmarks installed on their computers to print and save site pages? Hopefully not.

This does however bring forth the question of how a site can optimize for personalized search algorithms via bookmark management. Aaron at SEOBook lists his ideas:

* If you have not yet started a Google account (or a few of them) it may be worth creating some such that you can leverage them down the road. Older Google accounts with longer search histories may be trusted to weight the end search results more than new accounts (similarly to how Google typically trusts old domains more than new ones).

* Get busy tagging your sites and friends sites if you have not done so yet. Don’t forget to tag some legit authority sites to also keep your search profile looking somewhat legitimate and trustworthy.

Including Google Bookmark info in Google’s rankings will also lead to sites paying visitors to tag or bookmark a site. Starting a syndicate of taggers and mailing them each week (not via Gmail) with new sites to tag may be an interesting business.

Surely there must be thousands of high school kids in the US who would be happy loading up their Paypal accounts with tagging dough.

Loren Baker
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
Loren Baker
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