Personalize Your Results and Penalize Your Competition

Google announced today they are allowing people to block sites they don’t want to see in the search results. Now, hold your horses, this is a personalized result, not a global block. SEO’s are getting antsy, I can see it now.

Here’s how it works:

When you search for something on Google, click a link and immediately hit your back button, Google will modify the result listing and give you an option to block the site. Google’s thinking is that if you go to a site and leave that quickly, it must not have been what you wanted. Here’s what it looks like:

Google's "Block domain" links

Of course once you block the site, Google will allow you to take it back with a link in its confirmation area. If you change your mind further down the road, you can manage your blocked sites with a new feature added to the Google search preferences.

Naturally, you need to be logged in with a Google account to use this feature. If you are not logged in, Google will block the result for your session, but it will not remember on your future visits.

For now, Google claims they will not use the data they collect from people clicking the block tool in their algorithm. However, they say they may consider it in the future. Really? It’s Google. They’ve hidden their use of clickstream data before. How will Google use these data in the future. More importantly: how will they prevent it from being abused?

More info and commentary on the Google site blocking feature can be found at Search Engine Watch.