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Why Do I See Different Search Results To My SEO?

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    It’s great news when you receive your rankings report from your SEO company and you have moved up in visibility, but have you ever seen different results when you check this yourself? You might even see that you come up even higher than reported in some cases. Internet users will often get differing results depending on a few factors.

    1. Different Locations.

    You may have noticed that when you do a search in Google, it has your estimated location in the right hand menu. Google can figure out where you are by checking your IP address. Your Perth SEO may get different results from you if you are located elsewhere in the state or even across town.

    This means that if you are searching for something that may have multiple locations, such as a bakery, your browser is more likely to show results closest or more convenient to your location, which is why Google Places listings are so important for businesses with a retail or physical location.

    2. Web Browsing History.

    The top search engines actually personalise your search results based on your preferences and browsing history unless you opt out. This will affect what ads you are shown both in SERPs and on the Display network (Where you will see ads on a website rather than the SERP.) as well as the natural or organic search results.

    For example, if you are signed in to your Gmail or other Google product, your web history will be recorded unless you opt out. If you are not signed in, cookies will be added to your browser in order to keep track of you until you clear your cache or browsing history. You can read about this in more detail in our previous article “A new way to target customers.”

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    3. Universal Search Results.

    In the last few years, search engines (Esp. Google and Bing) have been combining all the possible search results into one list. Places, News, Images, Video, Dictionary and even white papers will be interspersed with the general results. You can refine this into specific areas by clicking on the right hand side menu (In Google), such as ‘images’ and then back again by clicking on ‘everything’.

    This means that again, depending on the first two reasons above that your results may be different; you may be seeing extra Places results making your listing either higher or lower.

    4. Social Media.

    Depending on your adoption of Google Plus or the use of the +1 button, your results can also be skewed by your friend’s behaviour on the internet. For example if someone in your Gmail contacts or chat list has clicked +1 on a search engine result that you may also be searching for, that particular result may appear higher than it would naturally because Google can see that one of your friends recommends it. You can stop this by signing out of your Google account before you search, as with point number 2.

    5. Data Centre Discrepancies.

    While Google continually updates its data centres and index, there is no way for you to choose which one you are seeing results from. For example, if your SEO’s browser IP is returning results from one data centre, yours may be returning results from a completely different one. One data centre may be still updating it’s index and for this reason, your keywords ranking may be one or two positions different. Some SEOs call this the ‘Google Dance’ and you will usually see your positions stabilise over time as the data centres catch up with updates.

    So, when you understand all of the reasons why your rankings won’t be exactly the same between two computers, it gives you a good foundation with which to monitor and understand why some times your keywords may seem to bounce a little.

    While some of them are out of your control, if you keep an eye on your browser history, and social media impact you can get a clearer picture of your rankings, however it does pay to take in the big picture.

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