Everytime you enter a search query into Google, you are seeing different results than others. This is due to personalized search. Google customizes your search results based upon the last 180 days of search activity linked to an anonymous cookie in your browser. If you are logged into Google, when you perform a search, Google will personalize your search results based on your own search criteria of the last 180 days. For example, if I search for [soccer] and often click on results from csasoccer.com, Google will rank any results from csasoccer.com higher on the results page next time I search for soccer information.
No one knows the “secret formula” that Google uses to rank websites, but we do know that a users personal behavior plays a role in the results you get.
This is important to know when you are checking out your own company’s rank on search engines. Frequently, a client may get a #5 ranking for a key term on their home or work computer, when in reality they are a #20 ranking for that term. This discrepancy is a result of personalized search.
But I don’t want to see biased results? What do I do?
While there are a few different methods to do this, we suggest using Ingonito Mode available in Chrome. Firefox and Internet Explorer browsers have similar private modes which remove cookies. Google sets cookies on your browser to drive personalized search, so it is important to remove them. To do this, use these instructions from Chrome:
Open an incognito window
- Click the wrench icon on the browser toolbar.
- Select New incognito window.
That’s it! A new window will open with the icon in the upper left hand corner. You can continue browsing as normal in the other window. Alternatively, you can use keyboard shortcuts to open an incognito window. On Windows, Linux and Chrome systems, you can use Ctrl+Shift+N, on Mac Systems you can use ⌘-Shift-N.