How do you accurately check your search results rankings
Someone the other day was asking me how they could reliably check their business website ranking on Google. They said they thought they were ranked #12 for a particular key word but when they checked from a different computer they could not find it at all. So why is this? In this post we will explore what happens when you search a keyword and what you can do to gain more control over your privacy as well as some helpful tools that can be used.
To understand this we have to first take a look at Google’s search engine and how search results are represented. Googles main function is to return the most relevant result to the end user. As simple as that sounds its actually a very complex and complicated formula when your looking at the entire world. In order to do this, Google has evolved an extremely complex set of algorithms.
Factors that can affect your end Google search result ranking
Geo targeting: Location of the searcher as well as location of the website IP address. If your in Florida and you search “affordable plumbing” chances are the top search results will list Florida plumbers. If your in Costa Rica and you type in “surf camp” your results will no doubt be surf camps in Costa Rica
Individual Computers: Google doesn’t just track your location based on IP it also tracks every individual computer based on cookies stored on your local system. An IP address gives out alot more information than the average person realizes, your browsing habits and subjects of interest are just the tip of the iceberg of what gets recorded in Google’s databases. The purpose of cookies are to improve and personalize the users experience, just know everything you do online gets tracked and stored and can have an affect on your future search results. This is why 2 computers in the same house can sometimes return different search results for the same key word.
Language: Also language choice will affect search results to usually match your chosen language and matching country.
Web browser type and settings. Which browser you use and how you adjust your settings. Some examples include whether or not you have cookies enabled and weather or not you are using a proxy. If privacy is an important issue to you, learning to use a private proxy is a good idea, however most end users just plug and play their computers out of the box, which is exactly what the big players like Google want.
So when you open your browser in Internet explorer or Firefox there is more to it then just the key words you type for a search. The truth is only Google knows exactly how all this information is parced and treated in the algorithms.
As an SEO specialists we are aware that Google is very secretive about their algorithms. They are very careful to give us just enough information to have a general understanding of current search technologies without giving away their detailed secrets. This of-course is by design to keep scammers and spammers from being able to manipulate the search engines for profit.
A more Accurate Search Result Ranking method.
So, as an SEO marketer or website owner how do we get to the bottom of an actual website ranking?
There are a couple of things that you can do to get a clearer unbiased picture.
- Clear and disable cookies on your computer. This will eliminate any personal browsing habit results that can determine what you will see.
- Use a proxy service. Use a proxy hosted in the location where you wish to see a ranking.
- Use a scraper like Scroogle. Scroogle is a nifty free completely donor supported tool that randomly assigns new IP addresses and blocks and removes cookies from being stored on your local machine.
Scroogle also supports 28 different languages which will allow you to check rankings in those countries. Thousands of SEO web masters use Scroogle to manually check Google search results ranking.