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Google shows visit dates next to results - impact on visits?

 10:35 am on Apr 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

Google UK started to experiment with the layout, reminding you which pages you've already visited:


I assume most of you have already seen this because Google US usually gets the changes first.

So, what do you think? Is this going to increase or decrease repeat visits?

[edited by: aakk9999 at 10:52 am (utc) on Apr 4, 2014]
[edit reason] Moved image to imgur hosting [/edit]



 10:53 am on Apr 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

Were you signed in Google? If you were, then this has been around for some time. If you were not, what browser did you use? I looked at google.co.uk but I am not seeing it.


 11:36 am on Apr 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

Yes, I was signed in Google but it's definitely the first time I've seen the visit dates.


 1:35 pm on Apr 5, 2014 (gmt 0)

I don't really think it will affect the visit much. In my case at least, I don't really care if I visit a site repeatedly as long as I still need some info on that site.

Robert Charlton

 8:30 pm on Apr 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

Yes, I was signed in Google but it's definitely the first time I've seen the visit dates.

Interesting observation. I vaguely remember seeing something like this quite a while ago, but only briefly... perhaps when I allowed Google to retain my search history. I haven't seen it since I've been surfing with search history turned off.

(Note that to turn search history off, you actually need to surf logged in, as you need to save the history preference in a cookie that can associate the preference with you. On my signed-out browser, though, I flush cookies routinely, so that never accumulates long histories.)

Is this going to increase or decrease repeat visits?

This might be something that they're testing, most likely looking at a bunch of different factors.

It should depend, IMO, on the type of search and the type of target site... and perhaps on your searching patterns.

It's perhaps a variant on QDF. Visited links on Google change color in any case* (see my note below), so a date would give me as a searcher the additional information of how long it's been and whether there's a likelihood of fresh material since my last visit. On forum pages, eg, in areas where I've been doing research, this would tell me whether I want to try a page again. It might also be useful with ecommerce sites that change prices.

I'd guess that for some kinds of pages/sites, repeat visits are a likely positive factor in the algorithm... and particularly for personalized results. But repeat visits where you back out because there's nothing new might be something that neither you nor Google desires, so a last-visit clue might be helpful.

I'm wondering if you see this for all kinds of sites, or just on sites where the content is likely to be changing?

*Note: I'm also wondering whether the visit date is perhaps being testing as an alternative to the vlink color change. I notice in your screen capture that the link is blue, but I don't know whether you've visited that page before.

Martin Ice Web

 8:47 pm on Apr 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

just want to kow your opinion:
What do you think, how many poeple are logged in during their websearch?
I donīt no any poeple that are logged in, except they are webmasters. 99% of the poeple i know donīt even have a google account or even know about google+?
So how big could the logged in impact be in general?


 9:35 pm on Apr 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

But it can't say anything about the duration of your visit, can it? So it's not giving a whole lot more information that what your browser is already giving by putting some links in a different color.

"Oh, yeah, this is the really good page I was on the other day"
"Well, ###, this is the link I keep clicking because I think it's going to be what I want and then it turns out to be useless."


 10:51 am on Apr 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

What do you think, how many poeple are logged in during their websearch?

More than you think. Anybody who has gmail or youtube account, for example, and are logged in their mail/youtube.


 11:07 am on Apr 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

Or webmaster tools ;) Couple of times I've had the nasty shock of glancing at the top of a search window and finding my name staring me in the face because I forgot to log out of some other entity.

Robert Charlton

 7:25 am on Apr 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

What do you think, how many poeple are logged in during their websearch?

I think it's a much higher figure than most here have mentioned... and I also feel that "signed in" is not the only aspect of this.

For one, Android users are automatically signed in. This isn't desktop search, I know... it's mobile and personalized for mobile users... but it's a large factor.

I very much doubt, on the other hand, that users of Webmaster Tools are a very large percentage of the user population. (Let's get real about the number of webmasters out there, folks.)

But Gmail, YouTube, etc, as aakk9999 notes, are all signed-in services.

Additionally, if you are not signed in, your browser's results are personalized by default by an anonymous cookie for 180 days, which is why I search signed-in with Search History turned off, or else I flush my cookies. It's likely that in 180 days, accumulated history will make Visited Links meaningful.

The best hints I've seen of the likely percentage of signed-in users came in this Danny Sullivan discussion of "not-provided" in late 2013...

Post-PRISM, Google Confirms Quietly Moving To Make All Searches Secure, Except For Ad Clicks
Sep 23, 2013

Take a look at the graph of average % not provided on Google traffic. The curve on the graph was rising pretty steeply when Google flipped the switch...

You can see the spike that began around the week of September 4 (2013) and which currently shows almost 75% of terms being withheld.

I can't absolutely say that the percentage of Not Provided was matching up with the percentage of (effectively) signed-in users, but I'm sure, if you consider the default personalization of those surfing with an anonymous cookie and not knowing it, that they were fairly close.

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