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Don’t personalise for me, I work in SEO!

Most of us generally like to feel that we are original, a one-off perhaps. Different at least, in our own little ways to other people. Pandering to this flaw in our ego (no, I’m not speaking of the farmer / panda update...again) Google has allowed even our search results to become sculpted to our web browsing lifestyle.

With ‘personalised’ search results we know that the mighty G is actually trying to filter the results to display the most relevant possible for that particular user. Taking our location and search history into account, we should see results that astound us with their accuracy and personal pertinence. Although some people may be put off by the ‘smug search engines thinking they can second guess me...’, or perhaps more strongly, worried in a similar vein to Karl Pilkington ‘will I be thinking for myself in the future or will Google be doing it for me, therefore will I be me or a Google version of me?’
However, in the word of search marketing, we don’t care for these personalised results, in fact they can simply be darned annoying! While it’s heart warming to see a website that I’ve been working on appear on page 1 for a certain keyphrase, I need completely unbiased search results to help me understand positioning and competitors etc. Getting an email in the afternoon applauding the ‘number 1 position’ for a keyphrase when you know they are actually at position 17, simply means awaiting the 2nd email the next morning of ‘I’ve just checked at home, and we’re not on the first page!’. 
However there is something that can be done and it is in fact very simple. You’ll be surprised to read that this solution didn’t come from Google themselves (very surprised?!). Not that they don’t offer a  way out of course, however it is a wee bit convoluted for such a simple wish, and you lose all your web browsing history...
The simple method however is to append &pws=0 to the end of your search query string in the address bar. For example a search for SEO Agency:
Non personalised search
It really is that simple, however you have to remember to do this each time you search.
Chrome users out there however have a nice extension option that gives an on/off toggle option. Just ‘manage extensions’ and then look to install ‘SEO Site Tools’ (a handy tool to have anyway) which will give you the on/off options when searching: While there may not be many groups of people out there who do not want personalised results, (apart from those wanting to be ‘off the grid’ of course, however using the internet probably doesn’t help this lifestyle...) within a search marketing agencyScience Articles, all colleagues have at one time screamed at their screen due to forgetting the switch off.  So let us all rejoice at the non-personal touch...

Source: Free Articles from


Graeme is writing on behalf of an SEO agency

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