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Factors affecting Google Search position

Posted on 22 December 2009 by Demian Turner

I thought it was strange when I noticed that the search result position of a customer’s site, Eureka Financial, varies depending on whether the customer was logged in or not to their Google account. It should be noted the customer is running Adwords campaigns for their site.

But it gets even stranger – can you believe that what browser you’re using affects the result position?

Here are the variations I’ve seen so far on searches for the phrase “financial training uk”:

  • customer logged in, result position #2
  • customer not logged in, result position #40
  • me logged in (different Google acct), Safari: #37
  • me logged in (different Google acct), Firefox: #40

When you’re using a Safari browser, Google adds a client param to the url, ie, client=safari, however for firefox the param is not added.

Go figure.

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6 Comments For This Post

  1. Rob Foxx Says:

    That is strange – I wouldn’t mind a bit more transparency in the way that Google chooses to wrangle their numbers.

  2. Demian Turner Says:

    @foxy – it’s *very* strange, try it with some of your own terms, results are all over the place

  3. lamons Says:

    I’ve noticed exactly the same thing – the website of one of our customers pops out at different positions depending on the browser you’re using and your log status.

    Anyone else noticed the problem?

  4. Lawrence H. Says:

    I don’t think that is strange. Google tracks your search history and returns different results based on what it thinks you want to see. If you’re logged into Google, you can turn it off (but I’ve noticed it sometimes turns itself back on later.)

    I’m not sure why the browser makes a difference though.

  5. Olaf Says:

    It’s because Google remembers the web pages you visit very often.
    Your customer must be happy with his site, so he visits the site very often.
    I think you visit the some time before thats why there is only a small difference between the logged and unlogged session.
    Actually this function is very disturbing, you need to disable web history here:

  6. joreel Says:

    a very great observation, may google keeps track of the history, very strange indeed. But I think it is just a minimal effect on your sites ranking

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