A terrific breakdown of the impact of the Personalized Search was just posted at link-assistant.com
Go here to read the whole thing.
“What’s personalized search?
Personalized search results are the results a user sees in a search engine that aren’t just based on the traditional ranking factors (such as the relevance of the web pages to the search term or their authority), but also on the information that the search engine has about the user at the given time, such as their location, search history, demographics, or interests. Although widely debated, the purpose of personalized search is to increase the relevance of the results for the particular user.
Both Google and Bing (and hence Yahoo, too) are personalizing their search results, but Google seems to be doing it for a larger share of searches. Back in 2011, a small experiment showed that over 50% of Google searches were being personalized; that number has likely only gone up since.”
A key problem we SEO professionals have to work around, is that these Personalized Searches can give our clients a misconception of what is truly going on with their site’s rankings in their targeted Local Searches. Location has become such a factor in these rankings, that if your client is not aware that his search may not be an apples to apples comparison of his Target Customer, Customer Avatar, etc.
The recommendation in the excellent article is to use their Rank Tracker tool. I cannot speak to that. I use an extension that allows me to determine my location, and can then do searches simulating that my location is an apples to apples comparison to my client’s most likely prospect.
What is that free extension? Tweet me at twitter and I’ll happily share it with you, it works like a charm.