Google rolled out a new version of their Personalized Search and its making waves in the SEO community. Many are predicting doom to the world of SEO or believe that this will at the very least change how we optimize sites for the search engines.
Personalized Search is an improvement to Google search that orders your search results based on what you’ve searched for before. Learning from your history of searches and search results you’ve clicked on, Personalized Search brings certain results closer to the top when it’s clear they’re most relevant to you.
Part of Personalized Search is the Search History feature, which lets you view and manage your history of past searches and the search results you’ve clicked on. As you build up your search history, your personalized search results will continue to improve over time.
While personalized search certainly ads a new wrinkle to the process of getting top search engine rankings for your keywords I don’t believe it will fundamentally change the way we SEO.
The way it looks now, personalized search is simply a refinement tool as it learns about a searchers particular interests. This feature can be turned off temporarily or permanently.
The bottom line here is that SEOs have no control over any searchers personalization (which the search engines see as a spam reducing measure) so there is no real way to optimize a site for that. However, and this is big, the personalized results will still only be a refinement of the standard results. If you ensure that your site ranks well in standard results you should also rank well in most personalized results provided that a) your site fits the particular searchers profile and b) your site remains relevant to the query.
Conclusion: Good SEO remains consistent and spam becomes more and more difficult. As an SEO I see this as a potentially positive change.
You can read more on personalized search at Search Engine Watch.