Why Are My Search Engine Results (SERP) Not The Same As yours?

Ever wonder why you see different ranking results then someone else?  I know I often talk with clients and they see different SERP than I do. So why is that? Here are some common reasons.

Web History

Personalized search results are no secret now a days.  Google for example will customize your results based on your browsing history. They do this by tracking when you are signed into your Google account or by the use of cookies.  Ever notice when you are in Gmail for example and you are writing about Florida all of a sudden the ads are tailored about Florida.   Search engines are always looking at how you search so they can make your experience better in the future.

Location

Search engines know where you are and will deliver different results to different people in different locations.  So if you are looking for a Real Estate Agent in New Jersey most likely you will get results from your area first.

Social Media Activity

Now that Google’s +1 button and Google+ have been introduced, there is even more tweaking of the search results based on your Google contacts plus-one. For example, if a contact from your:

– Gmail chat list
– Google Plus
– Google Contacts list
– Google Reader
– Google Buzz

plus-ones a webpage or a search result the +1’d page may appear higher in your personalized SERPs and will contain your friend’s “recommendation.”  Recommendations are a powerful driving force on your results.  People tend to trust a website more if a friend recommended it.

If you do not like this type of behavior sign out of all your social media accounts and clear your browser cookies.

Universal Search

Universal Search also changes the way you see results.  Depending how you filter the results can change your rankings.  For those of you who do not know what Universal Search is?  Google now combines all results into a single universal result.  They will combine results for various sources such as Video, Images, News and other types of results. So in the universal result you may be ranked 5th but in the web only results you may be ranked 55th.

Google and search engines alike are constantly changing the way they search and deliver results so what happens today on a search may be different tomorrow.  The good thing is that the change is mostly positive and usually yields better information to the consumer.  Google and all the other search engines are constantly striving to deliver the best possible results as often as they can.

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