Google search results pages are always changing. You might get different results than a coworker for the same search query. You might even see different results for yourself on two different occasions. What all goes into personalizing Google search results just for you?
Search Result Influences
- Search History – This one can be especially confusing if you search specific terms related to your organization often. Google will start to remember what you clicked on the last time you searched and may artificially bubble your preferred results to the top. If you are evaluating your current performance for a set of keywords, using a different browser or an Incognito tab can help avoid this bias.
- Geographic Location – This one is sometimes obvious. If you search for “pizza near me” naturally you want your results to be restricted to within a certain radius of your current position. But it isn’t always so hyper local. What country you’re in, for example, can factor heavily into the results.
- Time of Day – You might rightfully expect different results for a certain search at noon versus midnight. Certain ads may have “day parsing” activated that would only show them during potentially peak search times for related keywords.
- Device – This was a big push recently towards “mobile first” indexation. Doing so allowed mobile-friendly designs to rank better for mobile searches. When you’re on a smart phone with the smaller screen, having content tailor suited for legible display is an obvious advantage. With the push toward more mobile searches every day it makes sense you might see different results than when you’re on your desktop computer.
Hopefully all of these enhancements (and there are certainly many more) provide a richer, faster, and more convenient searching experience for most users. But it’s important to keep it in mind especially if you are trying to demonstrate a search ad or organic ranking performance.