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So, you think your website already has great rankings? Hopefully you are right – but beware, you could be wrong.


In 2010, Google quietly introduced a concept called “Personalized Search”, and for many users this was set to ON by default. What does it do?


Personalized Search uses Google’s data in your “Web History”, which contains information about the things you typically search for, and the websites you like to look at. They use this data to influence the search results you see. This means that the search results you see, are not necessarily the same results that everybody else sees – they have been personalized by Google to suit you. And if you are seeing your own website rank surprisingly highly, the answer is very likely that Google has “boosted” your rankings just for you, because it has noticed you visiting that particular website a lot. Sadly, that doesn’t mean everyone else is seeing the results that way!


If you think you are ranking highly for a popular search phrase, but you aren’t getting many email inquiries and the phone isn’t ringing off the hook, you should check whether Personalized Search is fooling you into a false sense of security. We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but maybe you are the only one who sees your website ranking so highly.


How to turn off Personalized Search


Follow these simple steps to turn off your “Web History” and see the Google results the same way everyone else sees them –

  • On Google, in the top-right there is a picture of a cog/wheel that you can click on and select “Search Settings”
  • On the page of settings that brings up, look towards the bottom for the “Google Instant” section for a link to Web History. Click that.
  • (Google might ask you to sign in at this point) On the next page you can Pause Web History and Clear Entire Web History.