Are you sure your search rankings are right?
In an earlier post, I talked about how Google personalises your search results. One of the ways Google does this is to “remember” your search and web history. It does this even if you are not logged into a Google account.
What this means is when you search for words and phrases associated with your website, the search rankings will often include your website – even if you are not actually ranking.
Google does this if you visit any website regularly. It will show that website in the rankings when you search for terms associated with the site.
If you are checking your search rankings by searching for yourself (or your keywords) on Google, the results returned are often personalised for you rather than actual results.
In the comments on the Google ranking post, Nanette asked,
Is there a way to see generic results for a search term?
Some solutions for you…
- Checking your search rankings
- Turning off Google personalisation
- Don’t use Google (or Bing for that matter)
Checking your search rankings
There are many tools to check your website rankings. One I like is the Rank Checker from SEO Book. It’s a Firefox addon and it is free and easy.
Turning off Google search personalisation
For personalisation based on web history (like ours in the UK, which happens whether you are logged in or not), you can opt out. Note that if you do opt out and then clear your cookies, you need to opt out again.
If you are using google.com, Search Plus Your World can be toggled on and off in the top corner by clicking the world. This control is session based and will revert back to “on” once the browser is closed. Logged in, you can change your search settings and they will remain until you change them back again.
Search with no tracking
When Google introduced Search Plus Your World – social search that pulls in results based on your contacts and sharing history, many people found this quite creepy. There were lots of comments along the lines of, “I’m moving to Bing!”
That isn’t a solution, since Bing also introduced social search. But personalisation is more than the social element.
A search engine that doesn’t track what websites you have visited, or look at what you are sharing is Duck Duck Go.
A bit of a daft name, but at least your privacy is still intact!
What are your thoughts on search personalisation?