TheMadScientist - 3:42 am on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0) [edited by: TheMadScientist at 3:49 am (utc) on May 17, 2010]
Sounds reasonable, but what if every action (or non-action) has influence, so query, click, no click, SERP page views prior to a click, etc. provides an influence to the whole (of searches and the site) and to the individual searcher (and page in the results) specifically?
So visitor searches for 'Widgeting Information' and clicks on the number 2 result which is widgetworld.com... If that click influences the rankings for not only the page, and the specific search but also for the site in general you could have somewhat (fairly?) reasonable site wide data in a shorter period of time.
IOW: Rathern than thinking when someone clicks a 'Widgeting Information' link the click, the elapsed time from the query to the click, the visitor behavior after the click, etc. all influences the sites rather than just the specific search or page in the SERPs, which would make a bit of sense IMO, because you would get 'feedback' from a more often used query you could probably use to influence 'Widgeting Information for Building Large Widgeting Systems' if you know who has the most liked 'Widgeting Information', if of course widgetworld.com had information on Building Large Widget Systems present.
It's a really complicated process I'm thinking they would probably have to use and trying to explain it simply is really difficult, but it's a thought I'm having about what they might be trying to do, and why it's causing 'oddities' with the long-tail sites used to a specific positions or traffic levels, and when you throw 'influences overall' together with 'personalization' which is probably being influenced more heavily by a certain behavior(s) of a specific user than 'overall influence' it gets really complicated and confusing.
The shorter version is:
If you use short-tail terms to influence the long-tail rankings on a per-site basis you have personalization much quicker.
[edited by: TheMadScientist at 3:49 am (utc) on May 17, 2010]