One of the biggest misconceptions with Google’s organic (not paid) results is that your business’s website may not rank on the first page even though the website is found on the first page. We all are probably guilty of it. The average Google user may not know the results they find on the first page are actually their “personalized results.”
Website Owners, Don’t Sweat It!
We will explain in detail exactly how search results are influenced by personal results. We will even help you create a personal free search environment. As a bonus, we will provide tips on how to find even more accurate results. The ones your potential customers are finding.
Google Gets Real Personal!
With the implementation of Search, plus Your world, search results are even more influenced by personal interests. This is another key element in Google’s ultimate goal of providing their users with quality results. Personal results can be shown by clicking the personal results button or hidden by clicking the globe button like shown below:
Show Personal Results
Hide Personal Results
Time to Get a Little More Precise with that Ranking!
We hear this all the time, “We already knew about the Show/Hide Personal Results button, and maintain our rank regardless.”
Not so fast! Google’s personalized results are also determined by search history. The way Google uses search history personalization will depend whether you are logged into a Google account or not:
- Signed-in Personalization: Google provides a more personalized search experience based on Web History. This feature is automatically turned on when creating a Google account. It is their way of collecting information to provide recommendations across their products and services, as well as, offer more relevant search results based on the Google account’s web activity. The information related to search queries, the results that appeared, and the pages visited are all stored in Web History. It lasts indefinitely or until it is manually removed by the user.
- Google Toolbar Expands Web History: Google Toolbar users have the ability to expand their Web History by enabling Web History in the Toolbar itself. This includes webpages you have visited outside of using Google search results. For example, when you visit your company’s website, you most often type in the web address, “www.yourcompany.com” directly into your browser. Google also stores these types of entries into the Google Toolbar.
- Signed-out Personalization: Google will also personalize search experiences by using a cookie stored in the web browser. Signed-out search activity is stored 180 days in the browser’s cookie, in addition to search queries, and results you click. Remember, public computers will display multiple people’s personalized results, thus impacting the rankings. Users are unable to access this information because Google does not provide one.
What Does This All Mean for My Website and Its Ranking?
Google is basically saving all of your search and website visiting behaviors. If you frequently visit your own website, this information is stored and will increase your website’s chances of landing on the first page of Google. This is why we believe the average person thinks clicking their own website moves them up the Google ranks. Unfortunately, this is not the type of ranking your business’s website is trying to achieve.
How Can I Find My Non-Personalized Results?
There are multiple ways to determine your ranking without the manipulation of personalized results:
- Signed-in “Remove All Web History” Non-Personalization: As described above, a signed-in user’s information is stored in their Web History. You will have to remove this information from your Google account in order to receive non-personalized results. You basically have two options: 1) Remove All Web History or 2) Remove Items from Your Web History. Visit Google.com/history to access this functionality. Once you decide to remove all or some of your Web History, you have the ability to pause it. Pausing Web History will stop Google from storing your personalized results, but it will continue to store your search history:
- Signed-in “Turn Off Personal Results” Non-Personalization: Remember, the show/hide personal results buttons? To hide personal results, click the globe button. This setting can be set as the Google account default by clicking the gear button , clicking Search Settings and selecting “Do not use personal results” in the “Personal Results” section.
IMPORTANT: The Google account will continue to store search history even though “Do not use personal results” is set as the default.
- Signed-in “Disable Google Toolbar” Non-Personalization: The settings within your actual Google account should reflect the settings in the toolbar. If the account has Web History on Pause, the toolbar will not store data to the account. You may want to disable this feature in the toolbar settings just in case there is some sort of disconnect between the two.
- Signed-out “Turn Off Search History Personalization” Non-Personalization: Visit Google.com/history/optout while signed out of the Google account. (Try visiting the link again if you land on Google’s homepage.) Click Disable customizations based on search activity. Remember, this is stored in a cookie and will affect everyone using the computer not signed into a Google account.
How Can I Find Even More Accurate Results?
- Signed-in Google Users: Following these instructions: 1) Remove All Web History, 2) Pause Web History, 3) Turn Off Personal Results, 4) Double check Google Toolbar settings and disable the expansion of Web History.
- Signed-out Google Users: Following these instructions: 1) Turn Off Search History Personalization, 2) Delete the cookie from your browser.
- Third Party Tools: Third party tools are great to use especially if they are utilizing Google’s API. Cyberlicious Marketing uses one of the best SEO managing tools in the industry. SEOmoz PRO is web-based software that combines SEO management, social media monitoring, actionable recommendations, and so much more. Utilizing their Keyword Analysis tool, we can determine the rank for individual keywords based on search engine and region without the manipulation of personal results. Let us help your business grow, and SEOmoz is included with our SEO services.
Visit our search engine optimization page for more information. Already have all the information you need? Then contact us today to get your business in front of those customers actively searching for your products or services!