Does having a Nexus 7 mean Google ‘owns’ me? And what are the wider implications for search personalisation?

So, I’ve had my new Nexus 7 tablet for a month now, and after spending a week of that trying to get it out of the box, I’m now using is as an integral part of my every day life.

My reliance on my tablet and Android phone got me thinking about whether Google now actually ‘owns’ me as an individual and how that fact impacts my job as an online marketer.

I asked myself the question, ‘How will Google’s ‘personalisation’ of its search results impact what I’ve striven for over the last few years.

The first and most obvious issue I now face, is the ‘not provided’ data within Google Analytics keyword reports.

I’ve seen the proportion of ‘not provided’ visits grow quite sharply over the last few months and Google’s relentless drive to get users logged-in, will only hasten this increase.

That’s going to make my job tough, when trying to find out what phrases are actually converting on a client’s site. Interestingly, if I’m paying for the key phrases in AdWords, no such supposed ‘privacy’ issues matter to Google and they’ll happily share the information with me . . . make your own mind up what that means, but to me it’s simply another example of Google’s continued monetisation of its services.

The second and more important point, in my opinion, is the personalisation and localisation of search results.

Let’s face it; Google knows who I am, what I like, and where I am in the world at any given time. So, in its infinite wisdom, it has decided to help me out by providing search results based on where I am and in the not-too-distant future, what I like and what my friends like. I have no issue with this at all, in fact it’s pretty helpful, but it does change how I think about SEO and PPC.

No longer can I generically optimise a website for key terms (although, to be honest, I still do!), I have to bear in mind the local elements of that phrase and also encourage sharing and liking of the page by my clients’ visitors.

My PPC campaigns now have very distinct ad groups for location and device and also phone number only campaigns, encouraging phone contact via smartphones, rather than clicks to the website.

This is just the beginning however . . . Google, in a recent blog post, unveiled that it will be starting to show results from Gmail within its search results. Wow, what does that mean for email marketing? Are promotional emails going to have to be keyword targeted too? Are we going to have to run Gmail-only campaigns?

Initially, this is only being trialled with 1 million of the 425 million Gmail accounts and feedback from the trial will be used to ascertain whether rolling-out this option, and I stress the word option, for all Gmail users.

Quite weird really, I bought the Nexus 7 on a whim and it has led to musings on what the whole personalisation of the web will mean to my clients.

Let me know what you think of the personalisation of the web and whether you’re for or against it.

I’m off for another game of Angry Birds . . .