By Nickfb76 | April 1, 2010
I think Google loves to make SEO’s squeal. Google personalized search just drives most search engine specialists insane! For people that aren’t familiar with “personalized search” it is a specific way Google displays your search results. If you frequently search for shoes and click on the Nike.com website Google personalized search will remember that. The next time you search for the term “shoes” Google may opt to place Nike.com at a higher search position just for you! Google personalized search makes it difficult for two unique users to receive the same results. Supposedly there are a couple ways to avoid personalized results; however I haven’t found a concrete answer to this issue.
The Painstaking Test – A “Normal Search”.
Being that I work for a web design firm located in Minnesota, “Minnesota Web Design” is a logical keyword term that we have been targeting. I will use this keyword as my example. Let’s start the test out by doing a simply Google search for the targeted keyword.
OMG!!! I AM NUMBER ONE, I AM THE BEST SEO EVER…. Wait what’s this personalized search crap you’re talking about… oh. :-(
Using pws=0 In The Query String.
The “solution” to Google’s personalized search is suppose to be the additional query string “pws=0” within the URL. Well I definitely get a different result. The site is now listed as number nine in my search results.
Using a Web Proxy Server.
I’m not 100% sure using a proxy server is the solution to Google’s personalized search either. Using the web proxy http://www.hidemyass.com I checked our ranking and we sit at number nine. Looks like we have found two sources stating our “real” search ranking is at position nine. Hey this is the second way to verify my number nine position, this is looking good! Let’s check our position with one more tool
Google Webmaster Tools
Ok, here is the real solution… we register our website for Google Webmaster Tools! They always give you a snap shot for your rankings! So I log in and look at my “top search queries” and it states…
Position eight!? What!? I just had two tools that supposedly overrides Google personalization and shows my position at nine?
This Isn’t Funny Google!
We have performed four Google searches for the same query and received three different results. How can webmasters keep track of site rankings? Is this a big joke to Google? Do you really not want us to know where we are at in the search results? Granted we all should be focusing on the traffic and conversions our site gets, however seeing our site in the results is an added bonus for our hard work.
Keeping track of rankings within Google is a pain in the butt. What other methods do you guys use to check your rankings? Does Google Personalized search piss you off too? Feel free to share your comments below!