At the end of November I commented on the addition of the SearchWiki to Google’s standard search engine results. Today I’m going to speculate on the effect that SearchWiki could have over time:
- Google solely own the data collected via the Searchwiki, which is something they now have over and above their competitors. This information is much more than just a count of inbound links, rather a comparison variable applicable to specific searches for a term.
- Google can use this data to expand the quality of their webspam removal. For example, if enough people remove a page from their results, Google will be made aware that the page isn’t relevant for many of their users. Historically, webspam work was carried out by a limited team. With the roll out of the SearchWiki that team potentially now includes every single Google search user.
- The option to make comments in SearchWiki is limited in its current state. This isn’t going to scale for popular keywords. But for less searched terms, one asinine reviewer might be able to spoil things very easily.
- SearchWiki is another step towards making black hat SEO techniques far more obvious to Google. (If top results are being removed, or aren’t being voted up or commented on, then there are clearly result quality issues).
Whether users will actually change their habits to include the features of SearchWiki, one can only guess, but it might be an indicator of the reaction from the public, that there are already several free browser plug-ins available to hide its functions.
Strictly from an SEO perspective, if users are going to manually vote the most relevant pages to the top of their SearchWiki, then as a website owner, ensuring your own site is the most relevant will be paramount. In this way Google’s SearchWiki should firmly encourage SEOs to be more focused on high quality, relevant site content.
SearchWiki could well be the elusive application that proves Social Media works, and is scalable.