Search Engines – What You See Is Not What I See

Just this past week I’ve had two prospect call saying they need to be number one on Google and what would it cost to get them there. Sigh, this is a “brave new world” people! What you see on a search engine is not what I see, nor what your neighbor sees, nor what someone in California sees. There is no longer owning top organic spots. We used to be able to do this, but not any more.

Welcome to the new world of personalized search history and pervasive cookies. In many ways, in regards to personally satisfying search results, personalized search is a huge step forward. It makes results focused on what you have searched for before and is targeted to your location. What it makes for website owners is a big headache.

To learn more about this topic, I recommend that you read this interesting and insightful article that explains in depth why what you see will be different than what I see.

Search engines collect users’ browsing history in 2 major ways:

(1) by tracking signed-in users’ activities and
(2) by planting cookies into signed-out users’ browsers.

So even if you’ve signed out of your accounts, Google still knows who you are and where you live and continues to deliver personalized results. Besides logging out of all Google accounts, logging out of all social media accounts, clearing your browser of all cookies and your cache what you see then on would be data that no one else may ever see as they are logged in to everything!

Top placement organically is now a target you can strive for, but one that is hard to document and reproduce across varying users platforms due to our new world of personalized search.


One thought on “Search Engines – What You See Is Not What I See”

  1. Ha! I get this same question, basically, but slightly different: they want to know “how can I stop a (negative) story about my company from appearing in top ranking results?” I have to explain that because they click on it over and over, they may be seeing it in a higher position than other people do.

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