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Logged in Google results MUCH worse for my own site, normal?

     
2:28 am on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member

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My brother just congratulated me by phone for regaining #1 position on a keyword I enjoy. I checked the results and I still see my site at the bottom of the last page just before the supplemental results. He lives a few miles from me so we're in the same area, seeing the same results.

It turns out that if I log OUT of my Google account my site is indeed #1 for the keyword but logged in I'm near last. It would seem that I am also receiving logged in traffic levels.

How come the results are so dramatically different between logged in and logged out for a website I visit daily ? I don't even like the top 3 logged in results and never visit them.
4:14 am on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Sounds like you've been checking out the competition a lot while you're logged in.
2:20 pm on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Actually I am rarely logged in and make it a point to log out after checking things like adsense. I also use the Google advertising cookie opt-out plugin with firefox [google.com...] to stay permanently opted out of targeted ads. I know that doesn't affect search but it should.

I don't want serps tailored to my behavior. I never asked for them and do not like them, I like to decide for myself where to visit. It's like going to the library to browse the history section and having the sci-fi section follow you around because you read a news article about space or some such.

You may be partly right however, tedster, I DO check my own site out to make sure it's properly indexed or to see how well a recent article ranks. When I do that I tend to click through but close the page, perhaps a sign to Google that my page wasn't of quality? I may not be logged out 100% of the time when doing this although I try to be. Kinda clunky if that's the case...
2:34 pm on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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You can't escape personalization. Logged in, logged out, flush the cookies, change the location. The closest I can get to it is using a proxy server, but even then I have to change it up after a while. So I have about ten friends in various parts of the world and every now and then we exchange screen shots. Not too often, so we don't goof up the results, but just to get a quick eyeball on how it might look outside our own back yards.

It's the world we live in.
2:41 pm on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Checking positions within the SERPs should always be done in a browser running in a private session ('InPrivate Browsing' in IE)
Results can still be influenced by your IP address but it is a weak effect for the most part.
3:40 pm on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

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It seems to work for me if I use two completely different browsers. I use Firefox to log in to AdWords or Webmaster tools (immediately logging out when done) and also to Google the results for a keyword--and I don't click anything at all in the results. I don't even usually go past the first page. If I want to check what someone else is doing, I make a note of the url and then use my other browser (Opera) to look at it by putting the address in the url bar. I also use Firefox for Facebook and Youtube--but not for anything else at all. For all my daily work, I use Opera, because Opera is generally not supported for Google sites. I also use HitmanPro to delete all cookies every day. They are almost to a man associated with Firefox, even though I hardly use it. I actually started doing this not because of Google but because of viruses. It seems no one writes viruses for Opera, no evil eye.

I have found that I can get completely different results for a site: search on Google depending on whether I am using Opera or Firefox. Same computer, same hookup. Keyword results are similar, I think because I never click on anything when searching for keyword results.