Just put my new site live last Saturday and I have found it has completely different search rankings when I’m in two different locations (very similar distance apart).

I get position 3 for ‘Sound Plaza’ for google.co.uk at home and nonexistent search result on google.co.uk at work. The domain for the site is www.soundplaza.co.uk

From reading this old post it seems that Google uses your Google log in information, but also uses your browser history, cookies and cache to create the right search results. - http://www.warriorforum.com/main-internet-marketing-discussion-forum/147383-google-rank-two-different-computers.html

They recommend CCleaner to get 'neutral' search results however I would prefer to have my internet history, cookies etc. Also it would be a pain to consistently do this.

Does anyone know if there is a way of browsing the internet with completely neutral search results?

If not, does anyone know any reliable free software which can check your search engine ranking? So far I have tried the following quite helpful.



2 Answers 2


I've found that the best way to get neutral results is to use chrome's incognito function (tools menu > incognito window).

An incognito window doesn't have a cache, cookies or anything else attached to it at the start of a session, and anything added during a session is deleted at the end.

  • Ok interesting... im guessing it would have to remove all history, cache, cookies and then go into incognito?
    – Theo G
    Mar 12, 2012 at 15:00
  • Nope - incognito windows are sandboxed from your existing settings, plugins etc so it's completely vanilla chrome. Mar 12, 2012 at 15:22
  • wow this sounds too good to be true... will have a gander now and see what happens
    – Theo G
    Mar 12, 2012 at 17:00
  • Firefox has a similar function too.
    – IceCold
    Dec 10, 2013 at 13:51

There are several reasons that results move around:

  • Google uses multiple data centers that are not always completely in sync. Different computers may hit different data centers, especially if those computers are on different networks and use different DNS settings (for example home and work computers)
  • Google uses personalization in the results. A users search history and click history may influence the results for just them. There are several ways to force Google not to use history for rankings for you
    • pws=0 parameter
    • Signing out of Google
    • Incognito browsing
  • Google is always testing things. To figure out if a site deserves to rank well, sometimes they test it higher and see how many people click on it there. They may run these tests for a certain time period or only for certain users. There isn't much that you can do to prevent being randomly assigned into these test groups, even in incognito mode.

You can remove personalization, but results may still move around for other reasons. This means that rank checkers really need to check multiple times, from multiple locations to get a good picture of rankings for a single term.

The best rank checker is now Google Webmaster Tools. They give you an "average position" for the top terms for which your site ranks. The report is under "search traffic" -> "search queries".

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