This week's SEO news in brief: Look out Europe, Search Plus Your World approaching, multiple admins in Webmaster Tools, how to show your appreciation for +1s, Google has double standards but is still the most popular search engine.
Google began encrypting searches of logged in users from Google.com in October. This prevented site owners from seeing the keywords being searched for by some in their analytics tools. When "Search Plus Your World" began further personalising results in the US, it seemed that the encryption was mostly due to that.
Google have announced that the encryption is soon moving to international variations of the search engine outside of the US. That seems to indicate that "Search Plus Your World" will follow, not long after.
You probably won't be surprised to hear that a recent survey of 1,900 people found Google was the most popular search engine, being used by 83% of those questioned. 85% showed concern about search engines collecting data to personalise results. But search personalisation isn't as new as most believe. It is unlikely that many of those questioned realise that search results have been personalised in some way since 2005.
It took Google+ pages just three months to allow multiple administrators but Webmaster Tools has only just enabled it after 5 years. New administrator can be granted different levels of access, from complete control to just being able to view stats and messages.
A new feature has been spotted on the Google search results page. Next to images of results which have been +1'd by someone in your Google+ circles, some searchers have seen a "thank" link. Clicking it open a Google+ message box to the person who had +1'd the page.
Google say that in the same way you would thank a friend for providing a helpful recommendation, this feature allows you to do that online.
Aaron Wall highlights some more examples of Google using double standards to allow big businesses to get away with the sorts of thing which would cause small businesses to face a penalty. He notes that when BMW and wordpress.org were caught using black hat techniques, they got their rankings back within days, yet in 2009 Google handed out 30,000 lifetime bans to Adwords advertisers. One unfairly banned user got their account back because they knew an ex-Google employee. There was no such relief for people who didn't have friends in high places.