This article is for website owners who are concerned about the ranking of their website and in particular about how to understand why, when they do a Google lookup for their website services or products it is on page 1 of Google and when other people look it up they do not see it or appears much lower in the rankings.
First of all, if you want to check the true ranking of your website relative to your search terms, go here:
(if your location does not auto-populate in the drop-down, then use the name of your nearest large town)
Why does my site rank differently from how I see it?
There are a number of reasons that can affect how your rankings or SERP (Search Engine Results Page) show acronyms)
The type of device you browse with.
On 21st April 2015, Google implemented a change affecting search engine results for those searching on mobile devices.
The change penalises the rankings of desktop websites (non-mobile friendly) in favour of mobile websites.
The rankings of websites are not "affected" if the search is conducted on a desktop PC.
So the same search conducted on a desktop PC could be different when done on a tablet or a smartphone.
Searches saved in your browser cache
If you look up your browser history you will see how your activity has been collated.
This history influences the results you receive on an incremental basis with the websites you visit repeatedly for the same or similar search terms slowly creeping higher in the rankings as Google takes note of your preferences.
When you clear your cache in that specific browser or if you were to use a different browser that you seldom use, the results will be significantly different.
Logged into your Google Account
Google is a pretty fantastic search engine and saves information from your online activity to try and deliver information that is honed or refined to reflect your preferences.
If you use Google Apps or google email and you are signed in to your account then Google will remember your behaviour and preferences and these will influence the results returned.
The thing to remember about this is that this is not device-specific.
Whilst signed into your Google account, your behaviour is being logged regardless of the device you are using and so will be reflected on your mobile phone and desktop device when you are signed in.
A Simple Test
To test this make a search for something that you might do on a regular basis whilst signed in to your Google account and take note of the rankings returned. Sign out of your Google account and conduct the same search and look at the variation in results.
Even when you have no Sim Card in your phone or Ipad you are being tracked:
You might think you are incognito if you use a device that has no sim card and relies solely on Wi-Fi for internet connectivity.
If you have an Ipad without a Sim Card or if it has a Sim Card, just remove it and use your local Wi-Fi service.
Select a route you intend to take on Google Maps whilst hooked up to Wi-.Fi
Embark on your journey, as you leave the vicinity of your password-protected Wi-Fi signal and leaving the Wi-Fi setting open you will see your location indicator progressing along the route even though there is no sim card or internet account associated with the device.
You won’t be able to map another route or connect to the internet, but you will see your location indicator moving along the route as Google uses other wifi points and services along the way.
If you look in your settings under “Bluetooth and Wi-Fi” you will see the advice ”Location accuracy and nearby services are improved when Bluetooth turned on”
”Location accuracy is improved when Wi-Fi is turned on”
This is all very good, but what can I do to get better rankings and more traffic.
Here is an article, it dates back to 2014, and is as relevant now as it was then.
At the time Google allowed you to manually change your location by country and town
Alas, this facility is no longer available, other than by using the Serps Tool above.
SEO is not dead but is an essential component part of your marketing strategy.