Personalised results in Google has been around a while now but people don’t seem to realise that the results they are seeing aren’t necessarily what everyone else is seeing.
It is happening quite a lot these days, someone calls up and tells us they are at number 8 or 9 in Google for a keyword and want to be higher, I go to my computer and they are no where to be found. I check my rank checker software and they are as low down as the 4th or 5th page but they are totally unaware of this. The reason they see their website so high is due to personalised results from Google.
As a SEO company this can be quite frustrating as it is difficult to gauge the success of a campaign if a performance indicator is a particular position in Google.
Google will use a lot of methods to rank your site either from cookies on your computer that have indicated you have been to that website before, or if you are logged into a Google account, they can even display social results when you are logged into Twitter!
This means that when you are looking at your results for a particular keyword the SERPs you are being displayed may not be entirely accurate.
The biggest confusion this causes is when a client thinks they are in the top 3 positions for a search term, yet are not getting any traffic for that particular keyword. Even websites you haven’t visited may come up in personalised results because you are logged into your Google account and one of your friends likes that website.
In Google’s defence they feel that these recommendations or personalised results are helping you find good sites quicker, but if you are wanting to find new sites it can be difficult as not every user knows to remove a site from personalised results and if you remove it then it is difficult to find again for a different reason.
You can turn personalised results off using your Google settings.