All the time, I meet with new potential Kansas City search engine optimization and web design clients who tell me they are #1 in Google search results for their keywords. “Great!” I say, “Are you happy with the revenue your website is generating.”
If they were, I likely would not be meeting with them, right.
Nearly immediately, I discover they are searching with Google, while logged in.
Instead of completely natural search results, the client is viewing results which include Google personalized and localized search results… Based on their previous browsing history and current location.
Many small business owners search often to “test” the performance of their website in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Obviously, “testing” while using personal history is going to lead to very slanted and misleading “results.” Businesses are interested in potential customers finding their website, not being able to find it themselves. Make sense?
To get more accurate results, two things can be done:
1. Remove Personalization from Google Search Results
Dr. Peter J. Myers showed us in the article Face-off – 4 Ways to De-personalize Google that de-personalization of Google search results may not be completely possible, but it is well-worth “de-personalizing” your Google search results, nonetheless. Myers gives four (six, actually, but two are removed from testing – I will discuss the three most simple) pretty effective methods of removing Google personalized search results.
Log out of Google
Make sure you are logged out of Google when performing your search. Simple enough, right. From google.com, hover your profile icon/avatar at the top-right and click “Sign Out.”
&pws=0, multiple methods
- Add &pws=0 to the end of the URL generated after performing a Google search. Basically, this tells Google to turn off personalized web search.
- In Chrome, you can easily setup a “new search engine” to search with Google with personalization removed.
- In Firefox, you can use the Google Global plugin.
- In any browser, you can create a simple bookmarklet to remove Google search personalization.
- As well, you can disable personalized search results by default in your Google profile settings.
- Lastly, while logged into Google, from a search results page, you can toggle personalized search results on and off. Note that if you have disabled personalized search results by default in your Google profile, you can still toggle them on, when you desire.
Of these methods, logging out of Google seems to be the most effective at removing personalization from search results, but the three different methods provided marginally different results and it is not possible to completely remove personalization from your Google search results.
2 . Remove Localized results from Google search results
If your business is selling used cars, chances are you prefer to see results specific to your city or metro area. However, if your website/business is relevant to the entire nation or planet, you likely prefer to see how your website ranks against other websites nationally or globally.
How to Turn Off Geolocation Option in Google Chrome and Firefox provides a great tutorial for turning off Google localized search results.
The newest Google Chrome interface is slightly different now. Go to – Customize and control Google Chrome (top right) >> Settings >> Privacy >> Content Settings >> SELECT Block sites from setting any data. Then, restart Chrome.
You can also set up custom search engines in Chrome to search other countries and regions of the world.
SEO for Beginners Tip Recap
This tip is more about testing your search engine optimization campaign, rather than actually performing SEO on your small business website, but without accurate results and testing, a business cannot know how effective their SEO campaign has been.