Internet Marketing Professional

Archive for June 2007

Google Personalized Search

Google Personalized Search
This is a system where Google alters your search engine results based upon your past search engine behaviour.

This week I’ve been harassed to kingdom come because of differences in Google result sets. Usually I would say that this is for one of two main reasons:

  1. Google Index is updating – so that the information you or I see is legacy results whilst the other gets the new result set.
  2. Data Centre Differences – you and I are in different geographical locations so we query different Google data centres and we get back differing results.

It would appear that this isn’t the case me and another couple of people did some tests while querying from the same network for the same queries and started getting back different results due to personalized search – which is a real pain if you’re wanting to give accurate result data to clients.

How Does Personalized Search Work?

In simple terms when you log into your Google account Google starts recording your web history – which queries you ran and where you’ve clicked. Based on this information they start to realign the result set to more accurately reflect your preferences. For example if you search for ‘cricket’ you could be looking for one of two things: Cricket as an animal or Cricket as a sport. Each time you search your efine your search and the results you click on in Google will inform it that as a rule when you search for ‘cricket’ which you are looking for.

Turning Off Google Personalized search

In simple terms you can log out of your Google account – so no web master tools or links on your I-Google homepage until you log back in. Alternatively, and thanks to Aaron Wall for spotting this and posting over at SEO Book, you can alter the query string generated by Google – which is good. All you have to do is append the query string ‘&pws=0’, its that easy.

Tomorrow I promise to get this .htaccess stuff for Google analytics finished off for then 🙂 Else I’m gonna get a mate of mine who does PPC – someone has to – to write a post about geopositioning and Google Adwords results and how to test your PPC ads in different geographical places.