Why are my Google results different than what my client is seeing? ...is there anything I can do?
 by Casey Markee

Why are my Google results different than what my client is seeing? ...is there anything I can do about it?

  • I'm stumped. My client's website is on page 1 of Google and Yahoo, and on page 3 on Bing. I took screenshots of this and emailed them with my SEO report to my client. He then took it upon himself to use a free tool that checked his rankings manually and of course we came up with different numbers. My rankings didn't match up with his. My client lives in Tampa, Florida, USA. I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Why are his results so much different from mine, even when we do it manually on Google.com, as opposed to Google.ca? The page is not optimized locally (home page). And I am not using .ca from Canada. Help! This is becoming a regular issue.

Answer: This is a common occurrence for SEOs and the way the search engines are leaning, search is going to become MORE personalized not less. So all you can do is deal with it the best you can and that means managing your client's expectations.

However, before we go into that, let's start with the first step in making sure that you and your client are getting the cleanest results possible. All you need to do is be sure you both are logged out of personalized search before manually checking your rankings. For example, if you're logged into your Gmail account and you open a new tab, your search results would be customized to your personal search preferences. Logging out will keep your results from being skewed because of personalized search.

However, this is not a full-proof, 100% fix and it's only going to get worse because Google is moving toward providing geo-targeted results universally. Which means that (in most cases) there will be different rankings for the same query depending on your geographic location.

Further, since you are in Canada and your client is located in Florida, you are definitely seeing results from a different Google data center. As of April, 2008 there were36 data centers across the globe. Each data center can result in different results depending upon i...

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