There are more and more instances of personalised search results occurring where different users are reportedly getting different results for the same search terms. At E-web we’ve had clients flag this with us. Although their keywords are ranking in first position, their friends in another state are seeing something else. This definitely throws a spanner in the works as it may be disruptive to search relevancy. According to Google, those particular set of results may be relevant because of something the user may have bookmarked in the past, the location (tracked by IP address), and search history.
Google has been experimenting with bookmarking lists that will allow you to share bookmarked sites and share them with other people – similar to that of Digg. These bookmarked pages sometimes come up in specific search results. For example, if I search for a specific brand or name of a person, I would be expecting to get the best result for that query. But since I may have done some searches for that term in the past and bookmarked particular pages for my future reference, that reference will appear at the top of my search results, over the actual website that is meant to be the authority. I will eventually be able to find that result lower on the search engine results, but for other terms where I don’t have prior knowledge – I will not know any better.
Things to do to try and reduce personalised search results:
-make sure you are logged out of a Google account (located on the top right hand corner of the Google page)
-remove prior browsing history
-When you generate a search on Google, you can insert &pws=0 at the end of the URL and click enter. This will sometimes eliminate most of the personalised search query.