I don’t know about you, but I’ve already started to see the changes. More and more social networking links are climbing to the tops of search results for all sorts of keywords but more than that, Google’s “personalized search results” are kicking into effect.
“When possible, Google will customize your search results based on location and/or recent search activity. Additionally, when you’re signed in to your Google Account, you may see even more relevant, useful results…” – Google Support
This is a great tool if you are wanting to find the best rates on a product you buy often or if you want to keep up to date on certain websites that provide great information. But, if I search on my own website to monitor my search result placement Google starts to automatically put my website at the top. So while I think my SEO efforts are paying off, on your search results, something completely different will show.
Google customizing search results is an automatic feature, but you can shut this feature off. Type in a search phrase into Google and when you hit “Submit” take notice of the “View Customizations” link on the top right-hand side of the results page.
You’ll see a line of text that says: “If you’re curious, you can see what a search for [keyword phrase] looks like without these improvements.”
You can then access your “Web History” account and make adjustments as I discuss below.
There are two types of Google users: Those signed into their Google account, and those not signed in. See below for an explanation of each and instructions to remove the personalization feature…
Signed-in personalization: “When you’re signed in, Google personalizes your search experience based on your Web History. If you don’t want to receive personalized results while you’re signed in, you can turn off Web History and remove it from your Google Account. You can also view and remove individual items from your Web History.” – Google Support
Web history shows you every site, image, video you’ve visited by link, date and time. Search history is a list of searches you’ve done and are stored in your browser, not Google Web History account. If you remove your Web History to ultimately remove the personalization feature, your visited site, image and video links are also removed. To remove the personalization feature for search results while signed in, you’ll need to remove Web History from your Google Account. You can also choose to remove individual items instead of your entire history (so in my case, anything related to my website I would want removed so I can continue to monitor ranking).
Signed-out customization: “When you’re not signed in, Google customizes your search experience based on past search information linked to your browser, using a cookie. Google stores up to 180 days of signed-out search activity linked to your browser’s cookie, including queries and results you click.” – Google Support
Cookies are very common – even many website will drop cookies into your browser to reduce load time, take you back to the last product you searched, etc. To remove the personalization feature for search results: In the top right corner of the search results page, click Web History. On the resulting page, click Disable customizations.
To learn more about Google, you can teach yourself anything you’d ever want to know at http://www.google.com/support.