If you caught our last blog post, you’ll know why searching your own business on Google isn’t the best thing for your SEO strategy. If you didn’t, here’s a brief recap of what was covered:
- Organic searches
- Click Through Rate (CTR) – Googling your business or related products and services will have an impact on your website’s CTR (percentage of clicks vs. impressions). This helps Google to understand how relevant/attractive your listing is in relation to the search that was made, and whether or not to keep showing it.
- Bounce Rate – your website’s bounce rate is an indicator of its quality and is affected by every single visit it receives. It helps Google to understand whether the sites shown in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) were useful to the users who clicked through.
- Paid searches
- If you advertise your business through a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ad service, such as Google AdWords or Bing Ads, frequently searching for your business, products and services in Google can affect how much you pay in click fees.
To get fully clued up on all of the above, read Part 1 now. And if that’s not enough to convince you that Googling yourself is a bad idea, I’m afraid we’re not done yet...
Not only can Googling your own website have an impact on its rankings, the results you’re seeing may not even be that accurate. This is because your search engine is likely using other factors, such as browsing history, physical location and logged in services to personalise your results.
There are however a few cheats you can use to improve the accuracy of your search results, such as:
1. Making sure you are logged out of Google before starting your search
Whether you’ve just been catching up on your Gmails, listening to your favourite songs on YouTube or working on a Google Doc ahead of an important meeting, be sure to log out of Google before moving on with your search.
Just as Facebook uses your likes and dislikes to tailor ads to your profile, Google remembers and learns your search behaviour over time. This information is then used to provide you with search results Google thinks you’ll find useful.
Don’t get us wrong; your searches will be monitored whether you’re signed in to Google or not (they wouldn’t let you off that easily). But Google doesn’t know how many people have access to your computer. Without a specific profile to tag it to, Google can’t tell if that search for a John Lewis teapot was made by you, your dad or your great aunt Flo.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is that, when you’re logged into Google, your searches can be tracked and tagged much more accurately. And if Google knows you’ve looked at your own website in the past, it may be more likely (or less, depending on how you interacted with the site at the time) to show it to you in the future. So, if you want a truer representation of where your site ranks, remember to stay logged out of your Google account.
2. Using a private browser window
‘Private browsing’ (or ‘Incognito mode’ as it’s known in Google Chrome) is a feature in some browsers that allows you to use the Internet without recording any information about your session. This includes any searches you submit, sites/pages you visit, data you enter into forms and files you download (those files will stay on your computer after you close your browser window, so you’ll have to delete them manually if you want them gone).
While private browsing removes your temporary internet files, other things such as routers, firewalls and proxy servers could still be keeping tabs on your movements online. It’s important to understand that private browsing won’t get in the way of that, and probably won’t be enough to keep your activities hush-hush at the office…
But for checking your positions in the SERPs, private browsing will do the trick. You want to see results that aren’t biased by the fact that you’re affiliated with the company you’re searching for. And private browsing will let you do that by showing more neutral results, unaffected by your browsing history, logged in services, physical location and other factors that personalise your results.
Check out this article by howtogeek.com to learn how to turn on private browsing.
Using these little tricks, you’ll get a truer picture of where your website lies in the SERPs. But I’ll let you in on a secret – there are better, more accurate ways to track your positions in Google.
If you’re serious about getting to know your website data, there are hundreds of SEO tools out there that you might find useful. Some may seem a bit complex or expensive, but don’t panic – these are meant for the “experts” in the field. The ones you’re most likely to start off with as a newbie to the world of SEO (such as Google Analytics and Search Console) are completely free to use, although they aren’t necessarily as powerful.
The difficulty comes with understanding and interpreting the data. That’s what you might prefer to pay an experienced SEO company or digital agency to do for you. Using specialist tools, they’ll be able to provide you with as close a reflection of your rankings as possible – unfortunately no one can offer you a 100% guarantee, and you should take anyone who says they can with a pinch of salt. They should also be able to explain any changes in detail and offer advice on how best to move forward - as a novice, it’s easy to misinterpret the data and make misinformed decisions that could turn out to be quite costly…
At MA Design, we combine data pulled data from a suite of professional tools with 15+ years of knowledge, experience and trusted formulas, to bring you accurate reporting and sound SEO advice. For more information about our SEO services, click here or contact Jason today.