There once was a time when Google displayed the same results for everybody, but those days are gone and are changing at a rapid pace.

We are often asked by clients,

“Are Google Search Results the Same for Everyone?”

The simple answers is no. Google search results are different on different computers. There are many factors that affect the Google search results you see. Google seeks to provide the best results for individual users. This means that they want and expect search results to be different from person to person and that people searching in the same office may see different search results.

Reasons Why Your Google Search Results Are Different

1. Your Physical Location

Whether you are using a mobile phone or a web browser, search engines like Google have a very good idea where you are and will show you different search results for the same keyword, based on your physical location. Every computer connected to the Internet is assigned a unique number called an Internet protocol (IP) address. Google identifies your IP address and tries to deliver the most relevant results to match your location.

So someone searching for “pizza” or “yoga instructor” from a location in New Hampshire is very likely to have different search results from someone searching for “pizza” in Massachusetts. This is also true for cities. Someone searching for “plumber” in Portsmouth, NH is likely to have different search results from someone searching for “plumber” in Manchester, NH.

2. Your Search History

Whether you are signed in or not, search engines like Google personalize the search results of anyone who uses its search engine, based on the searches you’ve done and results you’ve clicked in the past. By watching what you search for and what you click on in search results, Google can learn that you favor particular sites and will provide you with the most relevant and useful search results possible.

So if you often search and click on links from Amazon that appear in Google’s search results, over time, Google learns that you really like Amazon. In reaction, it gives Amazon a ranking boost. That means you start seeing more Amazon listings, perhaps for searches where Amazon wasn’t showing up before.

Warning: Your search history can really give you a false sense of your website’s ranking because it pushes your most visited websites to the top. So, if you happen to search your own website to check rankings a lot, you may very well see yourself in the top position when actually you could be not ranking at all for the keywords that are most important to you.

Is your company looking to improve search rankings?