[color=black]One of the issues that pop-ed up now and then during the recent SES conference in Chicago was that of personalized search.
For those few that may not have heard much about this, essentially a search engine (say, oh, Google) gives a user the option of allowing Google to track what that specific user is looking for and what results they click on. Eventually the search engine "learns" what it is that specific user likes and provides results accordingly. The example given was a user who enters "china". Depending on that user's past search history, the engine "knows" if the user is looking for "travel" or "wedding gifts".
The majority of those who mentioned this new functionality (small as the sampling was) appeared to be greatly worried about it and seemed to fear that it may radically alter SEM/SEO as we know it. I was unable to get a reasonable explaination as to why personalized search would cause worry. Assuming that it is coming, and assuming that people use it (I kind of like unexpected results and kind of not like search engines knowing everything I do (of course they already know but I like to pretend they don't)), I think that personalized searches are going to make the need for quality SEO even stronger.
SEM/SEO experts are going to have to make sure that the web sites they are marketing and optimizing are strong enough to get listed in these "narrower" results. Content will become emperor not just king as said narrower results will need to be of the highest quality to keep searchers happy. CPC keyword targetting will have to be even further refined as the potential audience will be smaller and the number of "chance encounters" (i.e. someone searching for one thing sees your thing and decides to visit you) lessened dramatically. [color=black]
What do you think?