Google’s Personalization: Beware of Misleading Organic Search Results!

Krista LaRiviere SEO Leave a Comment

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Imagine this: A prospect can’t find your company in Google. You perform the same search and determine your company ranks on page one. You are confused. What is the prospect talking about and why can’t they find your business?

Misleading search results or skewed results happen in Google because of a feature called ‘Personalization’. Google is actually trying to return more relevant search results to ‘you’ based on your historical searches and where you are geographically located.

A person located and logged onto the Internet in Toronto, Ontario searching on “used books” will get different results than a person searching the same term logged on in San Francisco, California.

To complicate the matter more, search results are not only dependent on where you reside, but will also vary if you are logged into the search engine or not. A person logged into Google Mail or Google AdWords searching on “used books” will receive different results than someone not logged in.

So how do you determine the truth about your search ranking?

First, you need to assess how important a local versus national versus international search strategy is to your business. This will be determined by where you sell your products and services and who buys from you. If you are a Canadian company selling across North America you need to factor geographically-based search strategies into your digital marketing plan.

Second, you need to have the ability to generate “pure” search ranking results for your business independent of personalization and geolocation to see how you are actually ranking today.

Third, you need to monitor what is happening across all the search engines (Google, Yahoo!, Bing, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) to understand how well you are tracking.

gShift Labs’ SEO Platform can help you get control of skewed results by:

1. Allowing you to choose the country when you set up a Scenario (i.e., Canada versus  the U.S. or both);
2. Isolating search results based on country; and
3. Measuring rankings over time so you can understand from where people are searching and what the search engine results return based on different locations.

Understanding your “pure” search ranking is vital to making improvements to your organic search strategies. If you’re only working with skewed results you’re wasting your time. At gShift, we know organic search and the factors involved can be overwhelming which is why we built our SEO Platform, Web Presence Optimizer™.


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