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?


9 Answers 9


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.

  • 4
    +1, though rather than repeatedly nuking your cookies/login session, you might be able to accomplish this more easily by switching into your browser's privacy mode.
    – Su'
    Jan 19, 2012 at 18:10
  • @Su' yeah, good point
    – Paul
    Jan 20, 2012 at 0:13
  • As Su' said Chrome, Safari, and FireFox all have a private browsing features which you can switch to quickly. They do not use cookies so you should see similar results across all browsers. Like @Paul said it's probably displaying personal results even if you're not logged into Google it can display results based on previous searches and click thru's
    – Anagio
    Mar 15, 2012 at 10:31

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.

  • completely agree.
    – Sei
    Jan 20, 2012 at 1:32

Google by default tracks web searched and clicked results if you are not logged in. The only way to see the true results is to be logged in and opt out of web history. You can opt out of web history under account settings.

  • Thanks a lot, for my company account, I do not seem to have this option. So assume it is originally turned off. From personal account, on top of the web history, we also need to turn of the personal results I guess.
    – Sei
    Jan 19, 2012 at 6:56

Use the following search pattern, this is remove the personalization to some extent


For example if I am have to search micromax tablet, then I will write it as



Its basically customisation, there are three main things that it goes on

  • Web history
  • Location
  • 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.


This is an example of how tracking rankings will drive you crazy. It is better to use traffic as a performance indicator. When you do need to track rankings, use the Google-provided tools in Analytics or WMT.


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=0 parameter 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.


This is an undocumented feature but I think each browser uses a differant cash. Once your search results stabalises they seem to conquer over time.

  • Each browser does indeed have a its own cache, but this is not what causes different search results between browsers.
    – MrWhite
    Sep 30, 2012 at 16:16

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