Why does same Keyword Search give different Google Search Results
My trainees sit in the class and search the same keyword and each one gets a different set of results. Ever wondered why does same Keyword Search give different Google Search Results.
All of us are searching all the time on Google…googling as we like to call it. Over time you may have noticed that Google search results vary, even on the same device, using the same browser and using the same keyword phrase or search term.
Well, these changes are actually quite intentional. Users who are not aware of the search algorithm that Google uses to show results don’t understand why this happens.
Understanding why does Same Keyword Search give different Google Search Results
The answers to these questions are not quite straight as most Googlers, marketers and business owners would like.
Here’s a list of 7 reasons why would the same keyword search give different Google Search Results
- User’s device being used like a desktop, laptop, phone, tablet or other
- User’s choice of browser like Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer
- Is the user logged into a Google Account while searching
- User’s geographic location
- User’s personal search history
- The click history of the User
- How many and what ads are ranking for the search term on the page
Let’s understand each of these in more detail-
1. User’s device being used like a desktop, laptop, phone, tablet or other
People use a variety of devices these days of which mobile searches have increased manifold. Hence, the Panda algorithm update from Google began to rank the mobile first, responsive and other mobile web design strategies higher than sites with only desktop pages. So, the websites that are more optimised to the device being used for searching will rank higher in that device.
2. User’s choice of browser like Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer
Each browser stores it’s own history about the user. It uses this data to show results and hence results vary.
For example – If you log into Google while using the Chrome browser, the results are more personalized based on past search history and preferences.
3. Is the user logged into a Google Account while searching Google Account Use
There are so many Google products we use from Gmail, G+, YouTube, Google Drive, Google Voice, and others. All of these can be used simultaneously on multiple devices, creating a large web of user data that Google can collect and use to refine search parameters for a given Google account. If the user is logged into his Google account while Googling, this store of user data is used to refine user’s search based on past behaviour. Being logged in is a big factor in the results, followed by location.
4. User’s geographic location
Google wants to show the most relevant results to users and in that effort, Google’s search algorithm has changed to show the nearest best results to users. This means that your search results will generally reflect the location settings on the device you are using. If you search “digital marketing course” the first listing returned will likely be a digital marketing course provider close to you. While this can be a benefit for local businesses who are looking for nearby results, it can stymie businesses wanting to get a broader visibility.
5. User’s personal search history
The user may not remember everything you’ve searched for in Google but Google does, atleast up until the last point you cleared your browser cache and cookies. Google remembers similar keywords you regularly search for and offers you results based on prior searches. The only fallout of this could be businesses searching their own company name or specific keywords on a regular basis.
Repeated searches for a given keyword phrase may make a given company or webpage seem particularly favored in the results pages and slowly move higher in the results that a given search returns.
6. The click history of the User
If the user has repeatedly clicked on specific links from the results Google returned, his results will begin to change. The pages that the user visited from the links shown in the result page will start to show up more and more in his results and will frequently move higher on the page and will create a false impression that a website page is ranked higher than it actually is.
7. How many and what ads are ranking for the search term on the page
The number of ads that appear on a result page along with the particular ads that qualify at that moment to appear on the result page itself make the results look different for each user for the same search term. These ads can dramatically change the appearance of the results you see, especially if any of the factors mentioned previously are also at play.
Google search results for any given keyword may keep changing naturally through the day on the basis of which result is fulfilling the Google search algorithm better at that given time.
User’s can ensure that they get to see fresh rankings for a given keyword by doing the following-
- Clear browser cache, cookies, and history
- Turn off location data
- Log out of any Google account
- Use a different browser
- Search in the browser’s private searching mode. You may select the ‘Incognito mode’ in Google’s Chrome browser and you may select the ‘In Private mode’ in the Internet Explorer browser.
- Use rank tracking services that provide updated information on search rankings for specific keyword phrases.
About Archana Arora
Archana Arora has a strong Marketing background. She has worked with quite a few brands in her career and spearheaded the APAC business in her last role. With more than 15 years as a technology, marketing and Internet professional, Archana has started ANTS where the team is dedicated to the vision of ‘digital for all’ by way of imparting learning to consulting brands and businesses.
The primary focus of Archana and her team is on helping businesses build a stronger web presence using digital marketing, search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, social media and email marketing.
Connect with Archana on Twitter @archana_arora1 and @consultingants
We look forward to hearing from you!