When we talk to business owners on marketing their business, many say that they do not need any help in that department. They rank number one in Google and they achieved this without any advertising and didn’t spend big bucks to achieve this.

Such claims however are, more often than not, based in ignorance. Ignorance on how Google comes up with search results.

Personalized Search Results

Search results in Google are highly personalized. The results you get are – among other things – influenced by:

  • Your search history
  • Whether you are logged into Google+ or Facebook at the time of submitting a search
  • Your location

The first and the last are probably pretty obvious. What you have searched for in the past, influences what will be found now. When I go to Google.com it automatically shows Google Spain because of my location, because Google thinks that will be more relevant for you.

Your social media connections influence the outcome of your search. When you are logged into Google+ you will see different results than when you are not logged in to Google+. Try it.

It means that every search result is tied in to the individual searching for something and that what you view is not what the rest of the world is seeing when they type in a search.

So when you start looking for restaurants when you are a restaurant owner, your restaurant probably shows up on the first page. For instance, because you asked all of your network to like your Facebook page. Google then shows you the restaurants your connections like, which happens to be your restaurant.

So your #1 Google Ranking can be a false truth. You think you are number one, or are at the first page, but in reality you are nowhere near page number one.

Reality Check

There is a way to get an ALMOST PURE view of what your ranking is. Almost because it is not completely pure, but it is the next best thing you can do in order to de-personalize your search results as much as possible.

Many browsers have what is called an Incognito Mode (Chrome) or Private Mode (Firefox). You can see it in your menu when opening another window.

Searching for something on Google in Incognito mode is as close as you can get to an average result. Meaning that in Incognito mode you see what most users would see.

Google High Ranking

So when you want to see what the average person would see when searching for something in particular, open an Incognito or Private window and search.

We found that all those business owners who claimed to have a #1 Google Ranking, in most cases weren’t even on the first page. Which is logical if you think about it, because if you have the false belief that your are number one, you will not do anything to improve. Simply because you do not see the need to improve. Big big mistake!

Working on your ranking

You can work on improving your own ranking in the search results. If you are new to SEO start by reading the Moz Beginners Guide to SEO. If SEO is all mumbo-jumbo to you, outsource it to a SEO specialist, your web designer if they offer SEO services, or give us a call. We would love to help you do BIG business.

By Evelien van ‘t Hoog