Thursday, August 18, 2011

Google search results now different for each person

There are many limitations I’ve found with Google search results over the years, but more recently the results have started to become less useful. People often ask me for assistance with their computers and sometimes I suggest they search for a particular phrase because I know the site will appear in the search results.

For example recently I was assisting a client with their Search Engine Optimisation strategy. I said the quickest way to find an article on my blog was to enter a particular phrase and my blog entry would appear in the results. For me blog entry always sits on the bottom of the first page of the Google search results. To my surprise the client couldn’t find the page in their results so I had to send them a link to the post via email. How strange I thought!

In hindsight I’ve now become aware of what is happening. If you have signed into a Google service then Google is adjusting your search results so you no longer see what others see. For some that might be good, but for me it isn’t. Google thinks I want to see my own sites high in the search results and that just isn’t the case. I’d prefer to see what everyone else sees so I can use that information to help others.

I’ve read that Google will be using their social networking service, Google+, and incorporating your contacts shared information into your search results. Now again that might be good for some, but for others I suspect it won’t offer much value. As Google filters information more and more you’ll find you’ll see less results from people you don’t know and those are the people who know things you don’t know.

Over the years Google has changed the search results page. If I look at a Google search result I see so much information I don’t need. I don’t need a map to appear every time I search. I can use Google maps for that if I want. I don’t need a list of businesses like a directory to consume a lot of the page. I can use a directory for that. I certainly don’t need my own pages to appear on the first page if they don’t usually appear on the first page. I know what they contain so I’m not getting anything new.

Now when I search I need to log off Google services so I can see the results I think others will see. I say I think, because if they’re logged onto a Google service they won’t get the same results. Add this to Google’s geographical filtering which can change results for people located as close to each other as Melbourne and Geelong and it starts to become much harder to feel you’re getting the information you’d like, rather than the information Google thinks is what you want.

So the tip today. If you’re searching log off your Google services first and you’ll get search results without the extra filtering.

Kelvin Eldridge

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.