Check the real Google: about personalization and localisation

I’m archiving my best Squidu posts here, for future reference. Adapting slightly in view of comments made there.

A recent TED video made me realize just how far we’ve come from the days when search engine results were the same for everybody.

There is not much we can do about it, unfortunately, but it’s still important for us as web professionals to realize: that the web appears to each of us differently. This is true not just for GOogle, but for facebook as well. (well, not for me the latter: because I’m not active enough on facebook for it to have filtered out the stuff I don’t want to see – which is unfortunate actually).

Anyhow: for practical purposes you seriously need to check with scroogle to judge the serps as the average human sees it:
http://www.scroogle.org/cgi-bin/scraper.htm – that is without personalisation and localisation

The serps as you see it is probably showing you squidoo on top much more than the average…

And you also need to see this TED video, just to be aware: 

Note that the point here is twofold:

  • As users of Google, we should know that our preferences are included in the serps, even if we are NOT logged into our google accounts. For instance, I get very different search results when I’m googling from my iPad (less Dutch results). The issue: when googling from my iPad I’m linked to a different (more internationally oriented) demographic and Google changes the results to fit that.
  • As online publishers we should be aware that just because we see our site ranking in the top spot when we are looking for something online, does NOT mean other people even see that site appear. Check scroogle to see what Google is showing the average user.

5 thoughts on “Check the real Google: about personalization and localisation”

  1. Very true that our results are very skewed. But we can use that to our benefit as you have just spelled out. While many forget this or never become aware of it, those that are may use it to their advantage.

    And on the other hand, have local results is better for the idea of community and supporting local businesses. There in lie and opportunity in assisting local businesses with SEO for a fee of course. Or simply buidling more geocentric content first, to be a reliable authority and source for one’s neighborhood.

  2. This is very important for people who are in AM/IM. I wrote a post for simply ink last year which used to rank in the top 10 and bring in 1 or 2 sales each month. After reading your thread on this topic I realized I might be seeing skewed results as I was some times logged in.

    I logged out and realized the blog post had shifted to the second page.

    BTW I see the video embedded twice in the post. The width too is making it go out of the post space to the space bar.

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