in How To Reference Material by Jeffrey_Smith

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.

Option 1:


Add &pws=0 to the URL to turn off personalization or...

Option #2:

Google View Customizations Option

Click the Google View Customizations Option

Then click…

view search results without personalization

Click Without These Improvements Link to Turn Off Personalization

After that you should be able to view the main data center 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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About Jeffrey_Smith

In 2006, Jeffrey Smith founded SEO Design Solutions (An SEO Provider who now develops SEO Software for WordPress).

Jeffrey has actively been involved in internet marketing since 1995 and brings a wealth of collective experiences and marketing strategies to increase rankings, revenue and reach.

3 thoughts on “How to Turn Off Personalized Search
  1. SlimJim says:

    I don’t have the “View Customizations” link in any of my Google SERPs.

    I use “Google Chrome Incognito”, for my Google Search SEO research, just don’t login to any Google products.

  2. SlimJim:

    Conduct a search, then scroll down to the bottom. Under the bottom search bar they have the link for view customizations…

    Let me know if you see it there on your interface.

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