How to check your REAL Google ranking

47 replies
  • SEO
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I have run into this question a lot here, and I have answered it like 5 times now, so I'll just make a thread about it.

Google personalizes results based on your unique search history.

The problem:

Let's say your target keyword is "cheap books".

#1: You search for "cheap books" in Firefox. Your website is ranked #5 on Google.

#2: You then sign in to your Gmail / Google account still in Firefox. You search again. Your website is ranked #20 on Google.

#3: You then switch to Internet Explorer. You search again. Your website is ranked #10 in Google.

What happened?

Google looked at your search history and tried to personalize the results for you. In #1, it looked at the searches you have made recently in Firefox. In #2, it looked at the searches you have made recently while logged into your account. In #3, it looked at the searches you have made recently while in Internet Explorer.

If these search histories are different (which they undoubtedly are), Google may overpersonalize your results.

What does it mean to "personalize" results?

Continuing the example of "cheap books", let's say that recently, you were searching for "cheap books about dogs". Next time you search for just "cheap books", Google boosts the ranking of sites about cheap books about dogs, because it knows you have been interested in these recently. Thus, your website about generic cheap books will fall in ranking in comparison to these dog-related cheap book sites, even though you weren't trying to search for them.

But to someone who hadn't been recently searching about anything relating to cheap books, your site would be higher in the rankings.

How do I check my REAL rank then?

Using Google Chrome, open an incognito window (click the 'tool' button in the top right corner, then click 'new incognito window'). An incognito window is designed to have no access to your browser's history information. Do not log into your Gmail/Google account. Go straight to Google, and search for your keywords. This is your real rank, because it is a non-personalized search.

If you don't want to get Chrome, you can also just log out of your Google account and clear your browser's history and cache, but this method has the side effect of.. well, clearing your browser's history and cache. :p
#check #google #personalization #ranking #real
  • Profile picture of the author Jonathan Beaton
    Originally Posted by mandark View Post

    I have run into this question a lot here, and I have answered it like 5 times now, so I'll just make a thread about it.

    Google personalizes results based on your unique search history.

    The problem:

    Let's say your target keyword is "cheap books".

    #1: You search for "cheap books" in Firefox. Your website is ranked #5 on Google.

    #2: You then sign in to your Gmail / Google account still in Firefox. You search again. Your website is ranked #20 on Google.

    #3: You then switch to Internet Explorer. You search again. Your website is ranked #10 in Google.

    What happened?

    Google looked at your search history and tried to personalize the results for you. In #1, it looked at the searches you have made recently in Firefox. In #2, it looked at the searches you have made recently while logged into your account. In #3, it looked at the searches you have made recently while in Internet Explorer.

    If these search histories are different (which they undoubtedly are), Google may overpersonalize your results.

    What does it mean to "personalize" results?

    Continuing the example of "cheap books", let's say that recently, you were searching for "cheap books about dogs". Next time you search for just "cheap books", Google boosts the ranking of sites about cheap books about dogs, because it knows you have been interested in these recently. Thus, your website about generic cheap books will fall in ranking in comparison to these dog-related cheap book sites, even though you weren't trying to search for them.

    But to someone who hadn't been recently searching about anything relating to cheap books, your site would be higher in the rankings.

    How do I check my REAL rank then?

    Using Google Chrome, open an incognito window (click the 'tool' button in the top right corner, then click 'new incognito window'). An incognito window is designed to have no access to your browser's history information. Do not log into your Gmail/Google account. Go straight to Google, and search for your keywords. This is your real rank, because it is a non-personalized search.

    If you don't want to get Chrome, you can also just log out of your Google account and clear your browser's history and cache, but this method has the side effect of.. well, clearing your browser's history and cache. :p
    This will help but it is still not enough.
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  • Profile picture of the author ezennaemeka
    Think its a nice tips
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  • Profile picture of the author markowe
    Yeah, amazing how people consistently get caught out by this - oh look! I'm on page one! Duh, where's the traffic?!

    I prefer to use a proxy of one sort or another - that gets rids of my IP address too. So:

    Google Position Checker - Google SERPs Checker Tool.
    Scroogle Scraper
    Pagerank checker :Google SERPs checker: results many countries Google Pagerank SERPs index results web SEO tools

    Try several - they usually give differing results too - ho-hum. But more reliable than using your own IP address.
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  • Profile picture of the author jack jastin
    Its so simple. You can just go through googlerankings.com and there just submit your keywords and URL or otherwise domain name. You will get there your desired response very quickly.
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    • Profile picture of the author mrgee
      Originally Posted by jack jastin View Post

      Its so simple. You can just go through googlerankings.com and there just submit your keywords and URL or otherwise domain name. You will get there your desired response very quickly.
      googlerankings.com is only good if you have a google api.. and they are not issuing any new ones
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  • Profile picture of the author jacked
    Use SCROOGLE SCRAPER it does not take anything into account, including geography.
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  • Profile picture of the author zoobie
    why not just clear your browser cache? Will it be more easy?
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  • Profile picture of the author mandark
    As I mentioned in the last paragraph, you can clear your browser's cache and history, but then you have the problem that it will no longer remember your form entries and other personalization stuff that you probably DO use.

    You can also use some of the great tools people are mentioning in the thread.
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  • Profile picture of the author GeorgR.
    scroogle is down for me.

    HOWEVER...here is the easiest trick of all of them:

    --> Private Browsing

    In FireFox, you press Ctrl-Shift-P which activates private browsing, eg. disables all cookies and tracking.

    This way you can quickly disable all "fake" Google rankings.

    (IE has that option too)
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  • Profile picture of the author Jabapo
    Just to add... try use also hidemyass. Im using it in tracking rankings.
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  • Profile picture of the author markowe
    I believe that even when you use 'private browsing', delete the cache, etc. etc. Google can STILL see your IP address and may well connect the search with you. I am not in the US, so cannot test this (no local Google site here), but I always use a proxy like HideMyAss or Scroogle to be sure.
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    • Profile picture of the author GeorgR.
      Originally Posted by markowe View Post

      I believe that even when you use 'private browsing', delete the cache, etc. etc. Google can STILL see your IP address and may well connect the search with you. I am not in the US, so cannot test this (no local Google site here), but I always use a proxy like HideMyAss or Scroogle to be sure.
      this might be correct, but at least it gets rid of those "personalized" search results.
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    • Profile picture of the author dburk
      To add to the numerous ways of checking your real Google ranking I will throw one more into the mix.

      After doing a search in any browser for any keyword just add the following to the url in the address bar and press enter:

      &pws=0

      This added URL parameter will turn off the personalization feature for this query, no logging out nor clearing of cache and cookies necessary.
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  • Profile picture of the author n_touch
    Does this pertain to any tracking programs that you are using as well? I do not see how a program would be subject to anything that you have in your browsers. I could be wrong but that is just a question.
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  • Profile picture of the author spectrecom
    Originally Posted by jhonsean View Post

    It is highly recommended that before you check your google ranking you must be logged out in the account.
    I made this mistake for a LONG time. Very disappointing to learn I wasn't ranking as well as I thought.

    Just make sure that you turn off customisations too!
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    • Profile picture of the author LAF Riot
      I used just about every tool mentioned in this thread (except for clearing cache and Hidemyass - which by the way is the first time I heard of it so when I first saw it mentioned I thought the person was being a wiseass) as well as Market Samurai's rank checker and I received different results from every single tool.

      Scroogle, Google Position Checker and Market Samurai all show my site ranking in the mid-high 90s for my keyword. Page Rank Checker showed my site ranked 36 and "&pws=0" add-on to searches showed me at 28.

      I know what I want to believe but I don't know what to believe :confused:
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  • Profile picture of the author honed
    Thanks for saving me from posting this question. My results were all over the place and I wondered how that was possible. One site says I am #96 and another #336. ??? Now I understand. Thanks.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ben Armstrong
    I use the SEOBOOK plugin for firefox. It comes with a rank checker that lets you enter the name of the website and then a heap of keywords you want to check your ranking for.

    It even lets you save these lists for multiple sites so you can simply click 'analyze' and it will return the ranking for each keyword on each website in google, yahoo and bing.

    Much easier than stuffing around trying to clear your cookies, turn off web history, log out of gmail or use a proxy etc

    EDIT: I just realised that the rank checker isnt a part of the SEOBook plugin, its a separate add-on from the same company. Google it and you should find it though.
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  • Profile picture of the author SEO Agency
    Awesome advice, thanks for the share.
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  • Profile picture of the author honed
    Ben-

    As with several rank checkers, I had an issue with SEOBook, because it seemed grab the results from the local Google results, which weren't real ranking. I knew it was wrong right away, as I wasn't really between #1 to #5 in almost all my keywords!
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    • Profile picture of the author Ben Armstrong
      Originally Posted by honed View Post

      Ben-

      As with several rank checkers, I had an issue with SEOBook, because it seemed grab the results from the local Google results, which weren't real ranking. I knew it was wrong right away, as I wasn't really between #1 to #5 in almost all my keywords!
      That's odd.

      I'm from Australia and when I search via google my site is nowhere to be seen. Yet when I use the rank checker I'm at 11 so I assumed that it wasn't using my local results.
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  • Profile picture of the author harounkola
    Thanks for sharing this.
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  • Profile picture of the author SwayamDas
    If your looking for "PageRank" then you can check it at Google PageRank Checker - Check Google page rank of any web pages
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  • Profile picture of the author calfred
    I'll just use Scroogle Scraper. It's what I use everyday now.

    Otherwise, I'll run through Market Samurai built-in Rank Tracker (set earlier to US in project settings).
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  • Profile picture of the author honed
    I tried out Raven tools, but while it's good, it's a lot more than I need. There are many free tool, like searchenginereports.net, but occasionally, I find they are off on the rankings.
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  • Profile picture of the author aheil
    Wow thanks for that. I always noticed my rank would be different every time i searched. It was weird.
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    • Profile picture of the author kasimarie
      Scroogle Scraper and HMA VPN are my go-tos. But I'm pretty much resigned to the fact that no two search queries ever produce the same result no matter what you're doing.
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  • Profile picture of the author talksmart
    Great research. now no have problem for checking google rank of websites. thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author honed
    kasimarie,

    That's what I have learned in a short while. Free apps, paid apps, free websites, paid websites - I get different rankings on the same queries on almost all of them. Almost never too bad, but never always the same. Find one and use it.
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    • Profile picture of the author kasimarie
      Originally Posted by honed View Post

      kasimarie,

      That's what I have learned in a short while. Free apps, paid apps, free websites, paid websites - I get different rankings on the same queries on almost all of them. Almost never too bad, but never always the same. Find one and use it.
      Exactly!! Have a great day!
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  • Profile picture of the author calfred
    Lol, I guess Scroogle Scraper lags.

    I've not been getting traffic for an article for these past few days.

    In Scroogle, it still shows number 4.

    But in Google Ad Preview tool, it's number 11. No wonder I'm not getting any traffic to that article.

    So, thanks to this thread, I rediscovered that Google Ad Preview is more "real time".

    It's time to ditch Scroogle Scraper.
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  • Profile picture of the author Zeb
    You can manually disable personalized search without having to use other tools or going into private mode. To do this :-

    - disable google instant (from google.com on your browser, click on the gears thingy at the top right and then click on "search settings" and turn off instant from there).
    - then do a search for any term (say "whopee")
    - then at the search results screen, click on the gears thingy again (at the top right) and this time look for "web history" and you can disable personalized search from there.

    There ya go. No more personalized search
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  • Profile picture of the author Peetr
    Hi,

    I check rankings on different computers to make sure the rankings are accurate – though I realise that encourages Google to build up a personal profile for each machine. I think I might opt for incognito mode from here on. : P

    Thanks!

    Peetr
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  • Profile picture of the author Dr.faizan
    Use MarketSamurai.. probably the best tool..
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  • Profile picture of the author iamolspeak
    If you are using Firefox then try out Google Global Search Firefox Add-on this will surely help you or you can add "&gl=yourcountryname" such as if you want to check rank on proper us then type "&gl=us" this will give your proper country ranking. make sure don't login your gmail accout while searching rank for any website.

    Cheers,
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  • Profile picture of the author App Developers
    Great thread. I use seobook add on rank checker. It is usually right on most of the time. I was wondering why it would say one number and then google another number. it is annoying to keep wondering about the numbers of it all! I will continue to use rank checker and just go with that for now. I did try the private browsing and that then completely showed the same numbers as rank checker.
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  • Profile picture of the author noxdev
    Its true that the google results can be skewed but if your site is strong then it will still show up on the first few pages.
    Check out this free tool that I created for myself:
    googlepositionchecker.org


    You can keep track of many different keywords and it checks the position nightly. Has reports and an update email available.

    Currently it uses google's Us domain but I will add in other countries soon.
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  • Profile picture of the author oldvintageguy
    This question may be a bit "way out there on the fringe" but when a person checks their rankings for a keyword in google, is it smart to go ahead and click on your site when you see it?
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  • Profile picture of the author reyhan
    very nice post. the only thing I am wondering to know is how we can find out Google result in different countries?
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  • Profile picture of the author EmmaSmith
    hello friends,thanks for sharing this..
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  • Profile picture of the author wilhouse
    how about the firefox plugin? or does that take in personal results as well?

    in my testing it doesn't seem too
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    • Profile picture of the author roofisine
      Banned
      [DELETED]
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      • Profile picture of the author irenef25
        Most of the times, when you log into your Google Webmaster Account you will always see your site on the top most positions in Google search engine. When you check the position of your site in search engine make sure to clear the cache and log-off from the Google Webmaster Account.
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  • Profile picture of the author netightman
    Try to use rank tracker.
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    F-CAX

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  • Profile picture of the author martworld
    Great information. I was not aware about this. Thank you
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  • Profile picture of the author nichesitebasics
    Note that your searches still may be personalized for location. I get Google AU results because I am in Australia. I just use Serpfox to track my rankings.
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  • Profile picture of the author sizzlemediauk
    I use to check actual rankings in Internet Explorer as it displays the correct position. Software/plugins displays ranking near to the actual position.
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