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Firefox V IE in Google
Does google index differently for firefox users to IE users

 12:37 am on Dec 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have noticed something REAL WEIRD in the last couple of weeks

I have a site that was knocked for six by jagger. I don't know why but thats not the point. the point is I have been tickling the page and watching the position

being a low level SEO I simply search on my preferred keyword and scroll through the pages looking for my link

A few weeks ago I noticed something unusual. The results were consistantly different depending on whether I search using Firefox or whether I use IE

Currently in IE I am on page 10. in FF I am in page 3 er bugger p4

At first I thought this was simply picking up different result sets. So I watched it expecting the results to converge

but they didn't

I also expected that the results would swap eg some times I'd be on P10 in FF and sometimes on P3 for IE
but that hasn't happened either.

So what is going on here?

This would make it appear that Google differentiates between FF and IE users.

I personally don't see the logic with that. although its true that a different type of users uses FF to IE but whats the basis for the differentiation?

Does google track the type of sites IE users go to and create results based on that and simularly for FF users?

If thats the case my own clicking on my own site may be the reason for the increased position in FF than IE. I almost exclusivally use FF, as FF also commands a much smaller percent of browser users my own clicks represent a higher click ratio. So my site rises in the serps.

If this is whats happening then it means google activally ranks pages based on the click thru rate. Which something I suggested they do several years ago.

Comments please...



 7:19 pm on Dec 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

Yes, Google does serve different results to different browsers - and to different locations and who knows what other factors. But I doubt that your clicks alone would have a strong effect. They just wouldn't open themselves up to that kind of easy manipulation.


 10:27 pm on Dec 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

They just wouldn't open themselves up to that kind of easy manipulation.


But seriously on what basis should the results be so different.


 10:54 pm on Dec 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

Were you logged in to google in one browser and not the other?


 11:05 pm on Dec 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

No that was my first thought

both are on the same IP. I just use IE on occasion when a webamster can't get it right.

I now use it to see the difference in SERPS.

Its always the same IE has different results to FF

Its even forced me to check if IE has caught a cold. thats why I use FF it gets less colds.

I use MS Beta AntiSpy and Spybot so I haven't had a problem of late.

I can accept small differences but the difference I am seeing is substantial. which makes me wonder why


 11:15 pm on Dec 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

A bit of background. mostly out of curiousity

Since jagger a site I promote lost a large amount of ground.

Like many others I assumed that it was because of a link promotion service I was using. so I stopped the service.

I started monitoring serps more closely then. I had previously noted that when I search on IE I get a different result set to FF. so thats what I did.

In FF my position improved to page 2 at one stage but in IE it always stayed low ~8

I expected the results to swap around depending on which google server I hit at the time and ultimately both to align.

But instead the serps stabilised at 4 for FF and 9 for IE


It also means I am better off going back on the link promotion system. I'd prefer it if my serps were higher in IE than in FF.


 11:20 pm on Dec 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

Different language setting maybe?


 12:54 am on Dec 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

No same language, same IP different browser.

I have only monitored the one site it would be interesting to see if this is an abberation or the norm

but what it does suggest is if you use a SERP monitoring program you really have no idea where you are in the serps.

the results may be quite different for a package that advertises itself as a bot or webposition or whatever....


 1:06 am on Dec 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Clear your cookies in both IE and Firefox.

Now run the tests again.

Now Clear your cookies and change the User Agent on Firefox to match IE exactly. (This is easier in Opera I think. If necessary check your own web logs to get the precise User Agent string).

Now run the tests again.



 1:13 am on Dec 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Using Safari and Camino and the same search term I'm seeing something like two different search engines.
Different sponsored links at the right, sponsored links at the top yes and no, image search results yes and no and different search results. Cookies or no cookies doesn't make a difference.


 2:07 am on Dec 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

It absolutely makes sense to have different results on firefox and IE. Google has a lot of information on Surfing behaviour, SERP click tracking, etc. With the IE and firefox toolbars they can monitor click behaviour. The people that use firefox are diferent to IE and thus will have different serp preferences.


 2:23 am on Dec 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Sorry I don't agree

In fact I found the problem...

It was the google toolbar. Once I disabled the toolbar I got similar results in FF to IE.

So what does that mean? ....


 2:26 am on Dec 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

my last response was a bit curt.. sorry

Although I do agree on some differences being relavant between the 2 browsers. it would be hard to quantify those differences.

I think that playing that game is trying to be too smart and result in problems.

We know google is too smart to be too smart

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