Why Would My Website Rank Differently On Different Computers?
I speak to people all of the time who say they are currently on the first page of Google for a particular search term. When I do a quick check, they are on page seven or eight. How do so many people think that they are ranking well but in truth they all but “don’t exist” for their main keywords? The answer…they are just putting the search term into Google. That’s right…websites rank differently on different computers!
There are a variety of factors that can affect what search results you see verses the rest of the world. Google knows what websites you have visited. They figure, if you have visited a website before, especially if you have visited a website multiple times, you have an affinity for that site. They will DRAMATICALLY push that particular site way up the search rankings JUST FOR YOU. For EVERYONE else…you don’t show up. Also, based on the idea that people you know would share similar interests, the search results give a boost to the rankings for websites from within a user’s “Social Circle.”
That’s right…I bet you are starting to get worried because you Google the search terms you think you rank for every once in a while and see your site on the first page. It makes you feel good and you browse right over all those people saying they can provide your with organic SEO Services. You think to yourself…I don’t need to pay for that stuff…I am already on the first page of Google…sorry its not that easy.
Why Would Google Do That?
Keep in mind, Google’s customer is the person doing the search. They want to provide the most relevant and useful search results possible to please their customer and keep them coming back. Customizing the search results — just for you— provides a more personalized experience for the searcher and increases the relevance of the search results for that particular user, ultimately providing a better experience.
How Long Has This Been Happening?
For a loooooooong time. Google started personalizing their search results as a Google Labs project way back in 2004. In 2005 they made it a non-beta searching service. Towards the end of 2005 they made it standard with all Google searches, but only if you were using a Google Account. In 2009 they made customization of your search results a standard practice even if you were not logged into your Google Account.
How Do They Do It?
The people at Google are insanely smart and innovative. For non-authenticated people, Google is looking at stored browser cookies on a your internet browser and is comparing the unique string with the ones they have stored within Google databases. If you are logged into your Google account using Google Chrome, use the browser itself simply uses your web history to learn what websites you like and they base future search results off of that. Google has a ton of data on its users and they construct a profile of you including your gender, your age, your preferred language, and your interests based on prior site traffic. Once again…all to provide a better user experience.
What Else Affects My Search Results?
One other major factor is your physical location. Especially if you are on a phone, your search results are manipulated so when you ask “who has the best burrito” you don’t get a restaurant all the way on the other side of the country. Local SEO is an entirely different beast, but if you have a bricks and mortar business, you need to show up for search terms like that.
How Can I Get My Real Ranking?
There are a mindboggling list of different SEO tools ranging in cost from FREE to thousands of dollars a month. For most business owners, you can track your rankings with a tool like SEMrush. To accurately get your rankings for a bricks and mortar business attempting to rank their Google Business Profile, you will need a program like Local Falcon. Local Falcon shows your rankings over a map, so you can see where you rank from different locations.
Don’t want to go through all that trouble? Since we are an SEO Company, we will tell you were your website ranks for specific keywords—FOR FREE. Just email us with your website and the keywords you want to rank for and we will provide you not only with where YOU rank, but who does rank for those keywords and how strong their website is and where the weaknesses are. Yep…we will do all of that for free for you. Just drop us a line.