Why your Google rank is lying to you!

So you have just typed your company or relevant search term into Google.. and BAZINGA your fourth position! But wait a moment, call your friend in a different part of the country and ask him to do the same test. Is your position the same?

Chances are it won’t be. The reason for this article is explain why this phenomenon occurs, and secondly raise awareness that it does occur in the first place.

Before inLIFE I went for a Job interview at a ‘Marketing Agency’ in Lichfield who shall not be named. After the interview it was clear that I not only knew more about the web than they did, but also they were convinced that when typing ‘Marketing Agency’ that they were top of Google.

Walking away realising their tragic error I did not bother to point it out to them, maybe I just didn’t want to shatter their dream. Nor did I have any intention of taking a Job at a web marketing agency with such blinded web knowledge.

I will however point out their mistake to you.

First and foremost the most common mistake is to be logged in via your Google account and have enabled web history – personalised search in your Google account. This logs what websites you visit most and adjusts your search results to suite. So of course they were top when searching for ‘Marketing Agency’ as theirs is the only website they probably every looked at.

However when searching on my PC from home a large number of established London based companies were top, and they were nowhere to be seen! Which brings me to the second point, now the question has to be asked why London based web companies are top, amongst some scattered Midlands ones (as I am based in the Midlands). Why not some super high exec American Marketing Agencies who are undoubtedly plugging millions into SEO and Google positioning? This is because of the second key factor… your location.
Google search uses Geo-targeting to determine where you are browsing the web from, and relay results accordingly. This is why you don’t see Norwegian, Japanese, American results. But UK ones, given you are in the UK that is. Funnily enough entering just ‘Marketing Agency’ whilst four miles away from said companies location still did not bring them up.

Google uses thousands of data centres across each country and nation, so results can also vary dependent on what data centre you are on, even your data centre can change daily so even the results you see are never static. This is why if you’re in London and call a friend in Scotland there’s a good chance your Google ranking position will be different. Long gone are the days when a search engines rankings were same wherever you are.

So now you know the truth, do daily checks, ask friends in other areas and ensure you are not logged into Google or have personalised browsing turned on before checking.

But don’t be mistaken that Google intentionally hide this fact just to be annoying, their aim is to make the web more seamless.. so the everyday user gets the best results for them. Seamless is good when it comes to the web and is the very foundation in which our inLIFE Design methods (and even the company name) is based upon. But from a company marketing point of view, this can be irritating when you want to get a real result of your SEO ranking.

On the other hand depending on your company this can also prove a huge benefit, for example if you run a plumbing service strictly within a certain postcode or radius, then you have a better chance of reaching everyone searching within your area. (with the right SEO work of course.. don’t get ripped off > read more here)

On a final note; Remember this is not the be all and end all. This factor is just ONE of Googles thousands of algorithms that determine your ranking position. Some other factors include the amount of time your site has been live, the amount of relevant incoming and outgoing links, the amount of time your content changes and so on. So it is still possible to guarantee a front page position for your company with the right amount of effort put into SEO. Just don’t be fooled into thinking your top, as ignorance isn’t bliss.