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Referer tell-tales for personalized search?

   
3:15 am on Feb 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Has anyone noticed any details in a Google Search referer that indicate whether it was a Personalized Search rather than a "standard" search?
9:57 am on Feb 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



It would be helpful if I knew what exactly I should be looking for in the referer string.

BTW Tedster I think you are doing a sterling job with the sheer volume and quality of posts that you answer ;)

8:07 pm on Feb 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Thanks for the appreciation, tantalus. I'm really enjoying being able to participate a bit more in depth right now.

Although this Personalized Search is not (yet) a major issue for stats, I am hoping to get a handle on that kind of analysis early in the game. Right now I can't see any characteristics in the url that would tell the site owner that these were "personally massaged" results. I'm wondering if there is such a component that I could isolate in server logs.

6:24 pm on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



There is a difference in the anchor tag for personalized search results. However, that difference is only in the onmousedown parameter which, unless I am mistaken, cannot be accessed via any environment variable. There is nothing useful to be gleaned from the referer environment variable. If you could access the onmousedown parameter, it would tell you both the ranking for that SERP listing as well as a 22 character identifier.

I doubt there's going to be any shortcut or simple way of addressing the hurdles that the personalization of search will pose once the adoption rate increases. Ascertaining specific positions of URLs within the SERPs will just become unreliable. (You won't be able to know if what 80% of people see looking at the SERPs is the same or different from what you see. It's much harder to play follow the leader when you're blind-folded)

Consider the SEO vs. SE arms race escalated to DEFCON3.

6:54 pm on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I receive frequent (and personalized) referrers from the local google (Turkey). The format is as follows:

[google.com.tr...]

The last part of the string seems relate to the personalization.
For example, the "Dlang_tr" parameter is the interface language (in our case Turkish), and the "Clang_tr" is the language for whic the results are shown, i.e., only pages in that language are served. For example, change the Clang_tr parameter to Clang_fr, you will see that only pages in French are served, at least theoretically. In practice, I noticed that when you change Clang to fr, webmasterworld comes as the #1, and a Turkish domain comes as #2.

Or, if you query pages from a specific country, it becomes:
[google.com.tr...]

9:23 pm on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I'm wondering if there is such a component that I could isolate in server logs.

Hi Tedster,
I just checked my server logs to see if there is any discernible pattern that would indicate that it is a "personalized search."

But there seems none! No trace whatsoever that would indicate that the original search was a personalized one. Only when you copy and paste the query string (url) you can infer that the original search was a personalized search, since when you do it, you see that the "personalized search" button is checked.

For example, when you click: [google.com.tr...]

you will see that the personal (kisisel) button is checked.
But this is only my guess.