Search results are personalized now, so get a more unfiltered view by going ‘Incognito’

Having beein in the SEO market for over 10 years, the change in search has been significant, presenting both challenges and opportunities.  

With search results being increasingly personalized, measuring universal web site rankings becomes less relevant as everyone is likely seeing different results, based on a host of factors. Several years ago, someone searching ‘find a dentist’ in different cities would have likely seen very similar organic search results, but those days are long gone. As we focus on our internet marketing services for clients, we look less at individual rankings and focus more on overall organic traffic. The challenge is being able to effectively measure improvements or decreases in organic visibility, especially when clients assume what they see on their computers is what their potential clients are seeing as well. With advances in search, some education is needed all around as to how search results are now being generated.

As our company focus is on local search, opportunities abound. To our example of a search for ‘find a dentist,’ while in the past such a generic search would invite competition from far and wide, with personalized search, Google is going to assume you are looking for a dentist in your area, so local businesses can now appear in organic search for generaic phrases, or non geo-focused search phrases that include a town or locality name.

Even seeing results without your own personal lense or filter is a challenge, but one method we suggest for our clients is to go ‘incognito’ on the Chrome browser. With an incognito window, at least you can see more ‘neutral’ search results as if you weren’t logged into your Google account. While not exact, and we take it with a grain of salt that Google would provide a search option without any data points being exchanged, it is a good option and we do see different organic results. Give it a try, and compare what you see to when you are logged into your Google account.

About the Author

Rob Gazzola specializes in small business web development and internet marketing and is based in Northern Virginia. Connect with him on Google+. a try and compare the organic rankings you see before and after.

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