Google recently launched their Google Customized Search Engine, which allows webmasters to easily integrate Google search results into their site while also giving webmasters editorial control to bias the results.
Webmasters can bias the results harnising the power of Topic Sensitive PageRank, tag relevant results, allow editors or users to tag relevant results, and select a seed set of sites to search against or bias the results toward (and sites to remove from the results).
Surely some shifty outfits will use this as a way to show their ranking success, but this also makes me wonder what the net effect on Google's brand will be if people see powered by Google on sites which provide terrible relevancy, or results that are obviously biased toward racism or other horrific parts of humanity. Will searchers learn to trust search less when they start seeing different Google results all over the web? Or will anyone even notice?
Will most people be willing to subscribe to relevancy which reinforces their current worldview?
This release essentially will make Google the default site search on millions of websites, which is great for Google given the volume of site level search. I still think Google's stock is priced ahead of itself trading on momentum and short covering, but this release gives Google a bunch more inventory and further establishes them as the default search platform.
By allowing webmasters to easily integrate results biased toward internal content, backfilling the results with other content when the site does not meet all of a searchers needs, and then allowing the delivery of profitable relevant ads near the content, Google is paying webmasters in numerous highly automated ways that build great value by being layered on top of one another.
I also have to think this is going to further place a dent in the business model of running directories, or other sites with thin content that do not add much editorial value to the subject they talk about. This blend of editorial and algorithms is invariably going to kill off many editorial only listing companies.
As an SEO, I think this customized tool can also be used to help further test the depth and authority of a site relative to others in its group by allowing you to bias the results to multiple similar seed sites and see which pages on those sites that Google promotes most. This could even be used as a tool to help you determine which domain is more valuable in terms of ranking potential if you are comparing a couple domains that you are thinking of buying.
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