Module 2 - Understanding Personalized Search (Text)

Module Text

Understanding Personalized Search Explainer Video

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Check List

Let's recap!

In Module 1 we looked at SEO Scams and Cons so you can avoid the companies that could cause your website considerable harm.

Now we're going to look at one of the greatest mistakes webmasters make.

So many people, even seasoned SEO professionals from time to time, fall for thinking they are ranking top of the search engines.

Watch the slideshow to see how it can happen.

  • Let's get back to Lenny who has been working hard on his SEO for several days now using clean techniques that won't get him into trouble.
  • One morning he does a Google search for a phrase which is on his website and finds he is number one!
  • Lenny thinks he is the king of SEO and the world has just got to know.
  • He dashes straight round to his friend, Sally, to celebrate and tells Sally to search Google just like he did.
  • Sally carries out exactly the same search on Google but Lenny's site is no where to be seen in the search results.
Search Engines just want to be loved

What just happened there?

Search engines just want to be loved and they believe users will love them more if they serve up search results that are 'relevant'.

They use your location - if you search 'italian restaurant' they assume you mean 'italian restaurant near me' so that is what you'll see.

They look at your history - If you spend a lot of time on one site they assume you like it and so will serve it up more in the future .... but only in your search results.

This is known as 'Personalized search' and is especially strong if you are, for example, signed into your Google account when searching on Google.

Personalized Search in action

Personalized Search

Hiding your history

Click the cards below to see ways that you can see a purer version of the search results by hiding your history.

In Firefox:
  1. Click 'File' in the top menu
  2. Select 'New Private Window'
In Chrome:
  1. click the icon top right
  2. Select 'New Private Window'
In IE:
  1. click the icon
  2. Select 'New InPrivate window'
In Safari:
  1. Click on File
  2. Select 'New Private window'

Changing your location

You can test how you rank in different locations around the world by using a Proxy Services together with the private browsing options above.

Proxy services allow you to log on to the internet from different locations. Based in Paris? With a proxy server you can make search engines and websites think you are based in New York.

You'll find a list of reliable and popular proxy services in the resources section at the bottom of this page.

Has this module highlighted issues with your website or SEO work but you don't know how to resolve them?

Click here for help

Now you know how to avoid the most common mistakes made by website owners and those new to SEO its time to double check your understanding by clicking the orange button below.

Further info & resources

Proxy Servers