In the beginning, the search engines were interested in the content of a certain website in order to rank how relevant it is and they were doing this with metatags. Some time passed and it became clear that this method wasn’t working efficiently enough and the online spam was taking prevail. That’s why most of the big search engines, headed my Google, and made a transition to a new kind of algorithms – the PageRank algorithm which determines the relevance of a website by observing its existing links on the Internet. The search engines went even further providing their users with the most relevant information online – they started using behavioural search surveys regarding the users and by analysing their attitude towards a certain webpage, they are able to figure out how useful it is and with this changing its web ranking.
Let’s give an example. If you are a spammer, you can use various SEO techniques to boost your web listings for some exact keyword or phrase and be on the top of the list. That’s fine, but when your visitors click on your page and find out what it is about, they will go away very quickly; they will by no means bookmark your website and will go to another webpage. Search engines are learning to spot such behaviour and to manage their web ratings to the needs of users.
Studying the way users search for information can be useful for the search engines in another way, too. They can have a better knowledge about the words and phrases people use when searching. That can be relevant especially with the words with double or more meanings. The search engines can adapt themselves to the personal needs of any user that way. We can give an example with somebody types sports cars and then searches for races and is shown listings for sports cars competitions and some other result gives him information about car rentals. Search engines are getting smarter with guessing our needs but that can also a bit dangerous and misleading if the person is not aware of it.
Behavioural search patterns are still in the beginning of their evolution but they are here to stay we can say. The good side of them is that they cannot be manipulated by any spam listings and SEO techniques. The spam websites will be no longer relevant to them. They adapt to their users’ wishes and needs and are influenced only by them. On the other hand, the personal information that they are storing can turn out to be truly valuable to third parties so there are concerns about possible abuse.