Should Sourcers Be Using Personalized Search? And Before You Say No….

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Apr 27, 2012
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

Sometimes best practices get flipped on their head. I remember putting together affirmative action program plans and how many of the so-called best practices were defensible but never resulted in any real change. It was a perfect opportunity to flip a best practice around and remind ourselves what was really important: getting the result you want, not simply following what everyone else did.

That’s why I was intrigued by this idea of how using personalized search (something a good sourcer supposedly turns off) could actually be good for certain searches if you approach it the right way.

Google search plus your world

Irina Shamaeva first posted the idea over at the Boolean Strings blog. She says:

Personal search implemented by Google is at its highest power when we are logged into Google-plus. At that point anyone who is in our circles is a big influence. But there’s more. People from extended circles, from social networks connected to the Google+ account in the about section, and the Gmail contacts all come into play to tweak the search results.

Strangely though, due to the very “social” quality of the way it affects search results, I have recently thought of a couple of scenarios when keeping the personal search on may be a good thing!

Since I am often relying heavily on my network of contacts, I actually use Google with personalized search on most of the time. But the scenarios she lays out are interesting in that she advocates setting your social strategy on Google+ around what you’re typically on the search for (either through your own account or through a secondary, specialized account set for that purpose).

Shamaeva writes that it could be almost like a curated talent community that you could more easily leverage for your searches. And since I’m guessing that most people don’t connect socially like this naturally, it would be a different way of thinking about social networking than we’re used to. I think it has good potential.

Adding Wajam for Twitter and Facebook

Of course, the one downside of Google’s personalized search is that it really only uses Google+ (and a few other Google services) to serve up personalized results. And while that may be great for certain types of prospects, it would be really great to integrate Twitter and Facebook in the mix too.

There is that possibility from Wajam as Search Engine Watch explained this week:

Wajam launched a new social search experience today and it just might answer a lot of user criticisms about Google’s Search Plus Your World. With a new design that displays social search results to the right of organic search results (yes, it bumps PPC ads down the page), Wajam’s social search seems nonintrusive, is completely opt-in, and has one very important feature Google’s SPYW lacks: incorporated Facebook and Twitter results.

The brilliant part is incorporating the strategy Shamaeva lays out for Google+: create social profiles on Facebook and Twitter for specific industries and then connecting those accounts with Wajam and doing your searches that way. With Wajam, you can also incorporate Google+ as well and segment your audiences on the fly.

One thing that would be great would be the option to connect to LinkedIn as well through Wajam to really increase the effectiveness of personalized search to all of the top networks.

I wouldn’t recommend always using this strategy but for those who have spent time creating curated and targeted social accounts (or are willing to do so), it could be a great resource. What other possibilities are there for personalized search for sourcers?

This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.