Please help my experiment to see if Google Starred Results affect rankings

  • 0
  • May 6, 2010

Google is increasingly starting to personalise search results for users and they even have a feature called Starred Results which allows users to make a note of their favourite sites for a particular search result.

We assume that when you “favourite” a site by clicking on the star it gives that site a boost in your personalised results but what isn’t clear is whether it gives the site a boost for every search user.

I would like to do an experiment and need your help in doing this so if you could follow the steps below that would be fantastic.

I will report back on the results in a week or so.

Thanks for your help.

Patrick Altoft

About Patrick Altoft

Patrick is the Director of Strategy at Branded3 and has spent the last 11 years working on the SEO strategies of some of the UK's largest brands. Patrick’s SEO knowledge and experience is highly regarded by many, and he’s regularly invited to speak at the world’s biggest search conferences and events.

  • Mark Hutton

    Consider it starred

  • patrickcurl

    Maybe it’s cause I’m in the USA – but I looked and looked and couldn’t find you on the first 50 pages of

    Maybe it’s a glitch or something. Also the wp-login registration screen looks extremely garbled and can’t be read hardly all of the text is on the right side of the screen on top of the forms. I’m using firefox to view it, just thought you’d like to know.

    • Patrick Altoft

      Patrick – strange, normally Blogstorm is top 5 for that keyword.

  • Rob Lewis

    Hehe and once your experiment is complete, are you going to get us to unstar the results to see if that has any effect ;>)

  • Charlie Irish

    Have your colleagues started beating you in your ranking game? Is this the new tactic?

  • Dan Goodwin

    Done and done

  • patrickcurl

    Not on my search – I’ve tried seo optimization, search engine optimization, I’ve tried it with quotes and without quotes neither searches bring up blogstorm.

  • patrickcurl

    haha, figured it out — I used the US spelling, apparently it’s spelled differently in uk? like colors vs colours.

  • Gareth James

    #6 for me, starred…could be interesting.

  • Richard Shove

    Starred. I’m not convinced many normal users actually use the star system and I think a lot of it will be based on history, i.e. what you’ve clicked before, but it’s always interesting to test these things :)

  • John

    Done, look forward to seeing the results.

  • Gerry White

    Done – whether the fact we are in Leeds, gives you a local boost for Leeds …

  • web copywriter

    Done! Please let us konow your findings!

  • Dan

    Lol, could you not have used this “experiment” to do some good… Like perhaps seeing if you could improve the rankings for a charity or something?

    This is almost too blatantly more about improving your own ranking than an actual experiment.

    • Patrick Altoft

      Hi Dan, but doing it for another site might not give a controlled result – I know that I don’t do any other SEO for blogstorm and zero link building so any gains can be pinned down to this experiment. :)

  • Daniel

    Found your listing at #6 and starred it.

  • Rick Valentine

    Done, Look forward to seeing the results

  • Tim Dodd

    Cunning idea Mr Altoft. Starred for the genius value to this experiment concept.

  • JP


    But be aware: Google should have in its algoritm some way to detect “anormal” starring (like 20 people starring a element in 2 days).

  • Dan

    JP – We thought that too… That, and the fact that someone at Google is probably going to be unimpressed that you’re openly trying to game their system. :)

  • Rick Valentine

    true, but none the less, will be good to see if it does effect results, (good or bad)

  • David Brydon

    Ranking ok from Spain on

    Starred and my first (apart from my own sites, obv!).

  • Starstruck

    I am seeing a lot of fluctuation recently for that search term – from my Czech IP you were out of the top 10 for most of the last 7 days, but back in 5th now.

    Just checked and same from a UK proxy and the same. Since you’ve been up to 4th recently as well, I think you are going to struggle to pin any new ranking changes to having the site starred, but hey might as well try and see.

    I’m obviously only guessing here but I don’t expect Google to alter search results (outside of the clickers personal search). Its far too easy to game otherwise. All the web master forums and outsource places will be selling 500 stars for $19.95 etc :)

  • Paul

    Consider it starred just because you answered my email last week in under 4 hours. =)

    Looking forward to the results.

  • Haylee Taylor

    Rankig at #6 but no starred result?! thats a little odd….

  • Stever

    Starring locations in Google Maps does have an influence in the local search results. Last year, a group of about 10 local seo peeps chose a random small business in a very small town that was ranking at bottom of local 10 pack (this before the switch to a 7 pack and just as the new stars were available). Small town where none of the business listings in that category had any sort of real optimization going on, most were unclaimed listings, no user reviews, a very small number of citations, etc.., a clean slate of sorts. A few days after clicking the stars it went up to position 7. Effect appears to be quite weak in the grand scheme of all other ranking factors, but an effect none the less.

    So I don’t see why it would not have an effect in organic serps. But weaker still than in Maps where there are far fewer rankings factors.

  • Charlie Irish

    I’ve got ranking data on that term (three times a day) going back a few years so this is going to be an interesting project!

    Patrick, get in touch if you haven’t already got this set up.


  • Conrad

    Based in NZ, searched on but no star showing?

    • Patrick Altoft

      Conrad – are you logged in?

  • Gary Parsons

    For those using Google Toolbar, I also wonder how much of an effect entering keywords for bookmarks will have on doing this too

  • Sam

    30-40 stars aren’t going to matter when the keyword in question is “search engine optimisation”…

    It’d be better if you just hired someone to star your result 200-500 times or so via proxies.

  • SEO Alchemist



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  • limo

    Done, look forward to seeing the results.

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  • Geoff

    #4 for me.

    Predictive search is an issue for that term as it throws the “z” in – re: patickcurl’s “Americanized” issue..

    looking forward to seeing the results

  • inkode

    Looking forward to the result.

  • Mark Rushworth

    I tried this a while back and found that apart from influencing PWS it didnt give me a boost for even low level terms.

    I’ll stay tuned to see if youre results match mine.

  • Video Character

    I love experiments! I’ll try this one stat.

  • Rick

    Did you ever report back Patrick?

    • patrickaltoft

      Rick there was no change at all.

  • Efren Penaloza

    Hello Patrick Altoft has my support from Aguascalientes, Ags, Mexico and confirm the results, best regards.

  • Selling to supermarkets

    Starring locations in Google Maps does have an influence in the local search results. Last year, a group of about 10 local seo peeps chose a random small business in a very small town that was ranking at bottom of local 10 pack.

  • Hit Reach

    Just found this post when wondering the same thing. Thanks for taking the time to test it :)

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