October 13, 2009 - 9 comments

Does your site rank lower than you think?

If you run a website, chances are you check where you are in the rankings pretty often. Unfortunately, Google's personalization of search can make you think that you rank much higher than you actually do.

This is a really common problem.

I've had dozens of people come to me and say...

"You know, I rank 3rd for 'Hot Salsas' but only get 50 hits a day. What's the problem?"

In many cases these websites aren't 3rd, or 10th, or even on the first couple of pages of results. But Google Personalized Search is showing them their website because they've been to their own site so many times.

So how do we circumvent Google Personalized Search and find out where we truly rank, and where we rank on other people's computers? Simple.

Just watch this video to find out exactly how to work around Google Personalized Search and see where you truly rank.

Find your true Search Engine rankings (without Google Personalized Search) from brad spencer on Vimeo.

Google Personalized search can really change where you think you stand in the rankings. See an example of how Google Personalized works, and find out how to avoid it.


Brian cray
October 19, 2009 at 7:18 am

Great–submitted to hacker news.

    October 19, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Thanks Brian. You have a really strong account over there at HN.

Alex Black
October 19, 2009 at 7:44 am

Hi Brad, great tip, thanks!

For those without 5 minutes to view the video, you can get the unpersonalized plugin here:


    October 19, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Thanks, prolly should have included that.

Andy Feliciotti
October 19, 2009 at 1:49 pm

All you really need to do is logout of your Google account (if you notice in the video it is also)

    October 19, 2009 at 2:50 pm


    Have you tested that? I would tend to agree with you, except that I think Google also tracks user behavior tied to an IP or maybe an IP/browser combo… maybe cookies too. So it might not be quite as easy as logging out of your Google Account (though logging out certainly DOES change the results that I saw, just maybe not to fully unpersonalized).

    If anyone has some data on this, I’d love to hear it.


      Bryan Howland
      October 23, 2009 at 7:50 am

      I don’t have any specific data other than like you, when I log out, my rankings change drastically. Also, when I log in under different accounts, the rankings will change.

November 12, 2009 at 3:47 am

I use google webmaster tools, and it tells me the rank that my keywords show up in search results, and the percentage of clicks. I think this is a decent companion to your information.

    November 12, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    Hell yes. Good point that I forgot about. Many thanks Daniel!

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