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The short story is that I'm trying to find out whether we'd all get the same results (more or less) from Google if we all searched for the same term at the same time.

Our site targets 10 specific search terms for organic search results. We do no PPC advertising.

When you search for most of the targeted terms (7 of 10), we're in the first 5 results. The rest of the terms are in the top 15.

How consistent is that likely to be world-wide, especially considering

  • searches in other languages might use our city name in English, but other terms in the local language, and
  • the influence of Google+ and personalization.

It's my understanding that personalization and Google+ shouldn't affect organic search results at all. Instead, they add information to the right-hand column of the page. I'm not really sure what to do with language, since the terms we target in English might be completely different terms--not just the same words in a different language, but different words altogether--in other languages.

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2 Answers 2

It's hard to say for sure. For something that is location based weMre most likely going to get different results as geolocation and personalized results are going to definitely affect things more then a search a search for something topical like "Britney Spears". But personalized results are still going to affect that as well as get targeting to some degree (country specific results as well as country specific local and possibly country specific censorship laws). So no one can say for sure really. And it really doesn't matter in the big picture so it's ok if users get different results. There's a lot of different ways users can search and lots of different ways to market a website.

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Most Google users she (slightly) different Google results. The reason for this is personalization. Google uses all the information they have to serve you the most relevant results. Examples of this information are:

  • Historic search and click behaviour;
  • Geo targetting: try searching for 'pizzeria' on your laptop when you're in city and compare it with city B;
  • Google's social features such as Google+.

If you want accurate ranking data you should check your rankings using a tool such as Ranktracker for instance and combine this data with the information Google Webmaster Tools gives you. Also do some searches from your own machine. Before you do that, be sure to log out of your Google account

If you want to read more on this topic: be sure to check out this post on SEOmoz.

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