I am running some websites and am constantly checking keywords' rankings on google.com. And it is really important for us to see the organic search result without logging in or setting a specific location. Since this morning my colleague and I have checked the same ranking on both IE and firefox, the result surprisingly is very different (it almost feel like IE was logged in because the ranking is much higher, while in reality it is not). I have changed computer and the same problem occurred. It did not happen before. Can anyone tell me why is it?
If Google has any tracking associated with the browser you are using, you can clear it by removing any cookies in each browser. Without cookies, there is nothing to connect your search session with any previous session.
The chances of Google presenting differing results based on browser user-agent seem fairly low, but you can test this by using a user-agent switcher extension in Firefox.
The other thing to check is the locale information each browser presents to websites. If one is en_US and one is en_GB for example, this will skew the results.
In my experience there isn't much you can do. Google uses so many pieces of data from different places that it's virtually impossible to remove personalization. Looking at my own stats from sites I manage people who use different browsers often have different behaviors, I have no proof Google personalizes strictly on browser type but it wouldn't surprise me.
Its basically customisation, there are three main things that it goes on
- Web history
- Email account
I created a video for my customers in the UK with more details on how to do this so they can follow their seo campaigns.
There are a few ways to attempt to de-personalize results, some of which are listed here by SEOmoz. The basic methods are:
- Not logging in to Google
- Minimizing "historical" factors by using any privacy/"incognito" modes the browser may have or clearing browser to defaults
- Appending the
pws=0parameter to your searches
Note, however, that these and other methods often become less effective over time. Google customizes results as it sees fit.
Its not only browsers, but devices as well. Such as the use of Google Mobile for smartphones where mobile sites will be featured more prominently versus desktop sites and vice versa.
You can only prevent this on your own site, such as some sites will force the user to go to their mobile site, when viewing on a smartphone.
Its nearly impossible to get the same results every time, even using the same browser, because sites are changing all the time.