Yahoo!'s Concept Network & SuperUnits
Bragadoccio, aka Bill Slawski points out a new Yahoo Patent that outlines plans to base search results on the way people search. Following closely from news of Google's new Search History feature it's one more step down the personalization road...
From the patent:
What human beings think in terms of are natural concepts. For example, "hawaii" and "new york city" are vastly different queries in terms of length as measured by number of words but for a human being they share one important characteristic: they are each made up of one concept. In contrast, a person regards the query "new york city law enforcement" as fundamentally different because it is made up of two distinct concepts: "new york city" and "law enforcement.
Human beings also think in terms of logical relationships between concepts. For example, "law enforcement" and "police" are related concepts since the police are an important agency of law enforcement; a user who types in one of these concepts may be interested in sites related to the other concept even if those sites do not contain the particular word or phrase the user happened to type. As a result of such thinking patterns, human beings by nature build queries by entering one or more natural concepts, not simply a variably long sequence of single words, and the query generally does not include all of the related concepts that the user might be aware of. Also, the user intent is not necessarily reflected in individual words of the query. For instance, "law enforcement" is one concept, while the separate words "law" and "enforcement" do not individually convey the same user intent as the words combined.
We talked about the public perception of SEO recently, and in that thread many compared SEO to PR (Public Relations). If personalization really does spell an end to easy SEO then SEO will surely move even closer to it's PR cousin im thinking...