Personalized search has always been a sticking point for SEO, considering that everyone sees slightly differing search results after they first visit a website.
The New Revised Google 3 Column Design
Despite the mixed emotions from the new Google web page design shifting from a minimalist layout to a usability-based three column link and function-rich navigation scheme; many features have either changed locations or have been lost in the shuffle.
One of our favorite features making a comeback to the layout in a less conspicuous location than its previous “above the fold” status… the coveted“view customizations” a.k.a “free me from personalized search results please” feature.
Considering that personalization exists in the search engine result pages – meaning, if you have previously visited a website, there is a possibility that your browser has been stamped with a 180 day cookie that will highlight any related keywords pertaining to that site.
The end result is, that the site you visited may appear higher in the SERPs the next time you look for something related. While this may not be a problem for some, seeing the search engine result pages “how they are” and not “how they are skewed from personalized search” is a preference.
In case this is your preference as well, here is how to turn personalization off.
You can (1) add the search operator &pws=0 after the url parameter in your search query or (2) scroll to the bottom of your Google search> click the view customizations link > then click the option to view your keyword “without these improvements” to remove the personalized effects of browser history and previous cookie derived visits.
Add &pws=0 to the URL to turn off personalization or...
Click the Google View Customizations Option
Click Without These Improvements Link to Turn Off Personalization
After that you should be able to view the main data center clients1.google.com unobstructed and non-personalized search results for the keyword in question. Rinse and repeat as needed to see search results as they were before any filters may have been active. You can also use PageWash (a website that removes scripts) to accomplish the same objective.
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SEO and Google Search Engine Result Pages
Google, Bing and SEO: Which Will Prevail?
How to Build Links and Optimize your Website
Google Algorithm Changes and SERP Watching
Google Instant – Instant Real-Time Search Results
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