How to Get Around Personalised Search Getting In The Way Of Your Rank Checking
Personalised search has been around on Google for a while, but only for people who were logged in to their google accounts whilst searching. It basically tailors the search results to your browsing history. Recently this feature has been widened to include people who are not logged into a google account when searching.
It has interesting ramifications for SEO – your listing will appear in different places dependent on how many times the user has clicked on your site for the search term.
One client of mine emailed me recently asking if I could do anything about the fact that his site was no longer Number One for his tier one keyword. I checked on my laptop and he was indeed still number one. The company he said had overtaken him were nowhere to be seen on my screen. I asked if he’d been clicking on his competitor’s site a lot recently (he had), so I told him to click on the Search Settings at the top right of the Google page and then to disable the customised search.
Sometimes Google doesn’t show this information, and sometimes it puts up a little “View customisations” link just above the information about how long the search took and how many pages were returned for the query. If you click on that, you get a message like this:
“When possible, Google will customize your search results based on location and/or recent search activity. Additionally, when you’re signed in to your Google Account, you may see even more relevant, useful results based on your web history.”
Disabling it is one thing, another is to go to a Google Dance tool like this.
The Google Dance tool allows you to check your rankings on different google servers from around the world, and will give you your actual, non-personalised rankings. The “Google Dance”, if you’ve never heard of it before, is simply the term used by SEOs to explain how rankings seem to jump up and down as Google’s servers get updated.
You should also make sure you’ve got Rank Checker installed in Firefox and schedule your rank checking automatically.
Now…I really should be out in the snow instead of blogging about rankings the day before Christmas Eve!