Personalized Search Results in Google Search Engine & How It Affects Ranking
In the past few years, Google has become more inclined to personalizing search results. Personalized searched results in Google does not follow the traditional ranking factors. Now, what does this mean? This means that what you see in Google search when you search a phrase might be different from any other person searching the same phrase in the different part of the world.
NOT EVERYONE LOOKS AT THE VERY SAME RESULTS WHEN THEY SEARCH THE SAME KEYWORD ON GOOGLE IN DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE WORLD.
Not everyone gets the same results for the same query because of now existing “Personalised Search Results”.
With numerous factors pitching in the search results have become more complicated. Even worse with so many personalization factors pitching in your search results might be too diluted to give you even close to accurate results. Could you be making the wrong decisions based on the wrong data? let me try to answer a few of these questions in this post.
What are personalized search results?
Personalised search results are the results which a user looks at on the Google search engine which are not filtered as per the traditional ranking factors such as page rank. These results are based on the information which the search engine has about the user. These searches will take into account the users location, search history, demographics, or interests. Both Google and Bing (and hence Yahoo, too) are personalizing their search results, but Google seems to be doing it for a larger share of searches.
What are the factors which effect personalization?
let’s take a look at five major factors governing personalized search results.
To me it is scary. I mean why would I want to let people know about the locations I have been to. The most used map system around the world is google maps. The scary part is the accuracy with which Google tracks where you are heading. If you have location tracking turned on your mobile device, go on and prepare to be surprised.
Even if you are not connected to Google via a mobile device, it will still track your location based on your IP address. This might now be too accurate, however, it does the job.
Search & Browsing History
Google creates a personalized profile for every searcher based on their browsing history, search history, and SERP clicks, and subsequently alters the search results we see based on our interests. It seems like everything that you are doing online, Google is tracking it to cater you tailor-made searches. This is time-saving as well as scary as I do not like being tracked online. There are ways to prevent Google tracking and recording your browsing history. Most commonly used is the safe private browsing which is available in most of the internet browsers.
I noticed a significant search modification when I was logged in to my Google+ profile. When you create a Google+ account unknowingly you give out a lot of demographic information. Information like your age, gender, interests, friends etc. This information along with you your personalized profile is being used to show you SERP as per your interests.
How Does this work?
Well, the Google search engine automatically adds the information crafted by your friends on the internet. If you have a G+ profile and are logged in to your Google account in your browser, the search results you see may prominently show content shared by your friends among the page 1 results. Try searching for some content when you are not logged in and then try to search the same when you are logged in on Google plus. There is be a different search results.
The device, Mobile or Desktop
For most of my searches, I use my mobile phone. Most of the search online is carried on a mobile rather than a desktop. With this spike in the mobile related searches, Google has come up with its own algorithms for mobile and desktops. Google has come up with different ranking parameters when it comes to desktop and mobile searches. This is exactly why it is important to make your website mobile friendly.
Pages are ranked differently on mobile and desktop devices, and search queries are also interpreted differently.
The mobile algorithm automatically removes the pages which are not optimized for mobile friendliness. With over half of Google queries coming from mobile devices, and the mobile-first index on its way, you’ve got to be optimizing your site for mobile as much, if not more, as you are for desktop.
Google Products which you use
Look at the different products which Google market has. All of these products/applications gather tons on information about yourself. Many of Google’s search features (think featured snippets, travel boxes, Knowledge Graph panels) are intended to provide the information the searcher is looking for right on the search results page, so that we don’t have to click through to the search results.
One such feature is also a type of personalization. Namely, it’s Google’s use of information it has about you from the other Google products Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Play, Google Maps, etc. Among the organic search results. This means you can use Google the search engine not only to find new information but also to remind you of some information that’s between you and Google.
Personalized search means there is no consistent search experience across users, locations, and devices. It’s still crucial to track your keywords, but you need to realize that it is not giving you the exact picture every searcher sees. This is why it’s important to keep tracking rankings across different locations (particularly if you’re doing SEO for a physical business) and devices and amplify your content marketing efforts and social media presence to win placements in the personalized SERPs.
That was my overview of personalized search, its SEO implications, and tips on increasing the accuracy of your rank tracking in 2017.
What’s your experience with personalized search? As always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts and questions in the comments.