We all know that Google personalizes the heck out of our search results, down to the kind of toilet paper we like best.
Sure, it makes sense for finding the best restaurant in your area or checking out what one of your blogger buddies had to say on a subject.
However, when it comes down to finding accurate search engine ranking for your site for any given keyword, you've got to turn that personalized search off.
That way the search engine ranking results won't be skewed by your previous searches.
Side note: there's no such thing as “pure search engine results“.
What you see when you perform Google searches with always be different from what I see.
You can log out of Google, use incognito search function, change the search settings all you want.
Google search results depend on which one of their data servers you are the closest to, and that's something you can't change.
Your want to see the results in all their purity (or at least, as pure as possible – see the note above) and not the ones Google serves you thinking it knows best as far as what your are looking for.
Before I tell you how to actually do it, you need to know that simply logging off your Google account won't do the trick; Google will still customize your search based on your cookies.
Here are two quick tips on how to disable personalized search and see the true search engine ranking:
1. You'll need to add &pws=0 to your Google search URL.
Took me a while to figure it out (I am not a techie after all 🙂 ), but here is how it works in practice.
- As an example, I will use “traffic generation” as a search term
- Normal Google search URL for that keyword would look like this: http://www.google.com/search?q=traffic+generation
- Now to “de-personalize” this, all I need to do is add &pws=0 at the end of if – no spaces. Now my search URL would look like this: http://www.google.com/search?q=traffic+generation&pws=0
- Note: if you keyword consists of more that one word, add a plus sign between each.
2. This way is WAY too cool – talking about “incognito”.
Turns out that when you use Chrome browser, which I do on occasion, you have the ability of opening a new incognito window (yes, it's actually called “incognito“).
How to open incognito window: for PC – Ctrl + Shift + N; for Mac – Apple + Shift + N.
Once you do that, here's what you see:
How cool is that?
Now you can search to your heart's content and REALLY learn how you are doing with search engine ranking.
By the way, you can always get rid of personalized search for good.
Personal opinion: seems like a drastic step; personalized search does have its benefits as far as I am concerned.
Don't even think of checking your search engine ranking without taking one of the steps above – you won't be able to trust the results, trust me.
Got it? Good. Now comment to show me that you're alive!