Q. I was just wondering, since we clear out our cookies and history before searching in order to stop Google from presenting us with information tailored to our history of searches in order to get an accurate search result, how can we factor in the cookies and history that the general public is not clearing out when they search? Is it that big of a factor?
Answer. When you are doing SEO, of course, you want to look at the world as your customers see it. So –
Your question is very perceptive because, yes, the average user does not understand not do much about this personalization. Many people will actually stay signed into Google, and never clear cookies. I doubt very much that the average person even knows what a cookie is!
Therefore what they see is not the same. Different people will see different search results based on a) cookies, b) their Google account sign in, c) their connections to other people in the Google+ network (Google+ as a social network changes what people see in Google search based on the ‘+1’ recommendations of their connections), d) their location, and e) their IP address.
So you can’t really know, other than to do your best to look at the ‘generic’ results, and you can extrapolate any location. Then…
Once you get Analytics up and running, you can look at things like inbound keywords as well as landing pages, and back-engineer the likely search patterns. But yes, as you indicate, the Google search world is getting more personalized and more fragmented which makes SEO more and more an ‘art’ as much as a ‘science.’ Like polls and polling, a lot of this is guesswork and extrapolation.
Got a question? Click this link to email Jason or call 888-993-1122. Dr. Jason McDonald is founder and Senior SEO / Social Media Director of the JM Internet Group. He teaches the SEO training classes for the group, and therefore provides most of the SEO tips for this blog. His goal with this blog is to provide an easy 'one-stop shop' for the busy marketer looking for tips, tricks, and secrets on how to get to the top of Google and Bing for free using proven SEO tactics. When not dreaming up SEO tips, Dr. McDonald lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, two dogs, a cat, four iguanas and twelve children (just kidding). Really you read down to the bio on this guy? Enjoy the blog.
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