It seem obvious but how would you answer the question “Where is my website in Google?” The irony is, where you see your website is probably not where the rest of the world sees your website and obviously that can be very misleading when it comes to measuring the effect of Search Engine optimisation. Here’s how to get an objective view of how your natural search engine marketing is going.
Which search phrase?
The starting place for any measurement of position is to ensure that you are taking a consistent viewpoint and that is dependent on the search phrase you enter into Google. Always ensure when you are comparing results you use the same computer, exactly the same Google URL e.g. .com or .co.uk and use the same phrase that you have used previously, even changing the order of the words may produce differing results.
Is Google lying to me?
Now don’t take this the wrong way, Google is actually trying to help you search. One of the developments that changed the way search works on Google implemented towards the end of 2009 was to enable customisation of search results based on search activity. What this means to you and me is:
- Google keeps a record of everything we search for and click on
- The order of results changes based on the way we search and the things we regularly search for
- You are not seeing the same search results as other people searching for the same phrases!
Now as a website owner if you search for things related to your products and services, then click on your own website link in results then you are telling Google that it is something you are interested in. Over time this will mean that your own website will move up YOUR search results whether it move up THE search results or not!
Of course the reverse can also be true, if you regularly search and click on your competitor sites, guess what? They’ll move up in YOUR search results and YOUR site will relatively speaking, move down.
Getting an unbiased view
So how can you get an unbiased view of your website’s search position for a given phrase, well actually its pretty straightforward:
1. Go to your preferred Google site on your preferred browser (note whether you are logged in to Google too)
2. Type any phrase into the search box and click search
3. At the top right of the screen click ‘Web History’
4. Click on ‘Disable customisations based on search activity’ and choose to delete your search history
Now go back to the Google homepage and perform a known search… Whether it’s good news or bad news, you are now seeing unbiased results!