A month ago I sent my first-ever email to Google. I asked for a way to get a plain-vanilla listing in search results rather than all the personalized search results – which are not what a content writer needs to see.
Google evolved into personalized search results, showing me sites the search engine decided I might prefer. That totally warps the results and I can’t get the information I really need.
I got no response to that email, but while exploring Google I discovered the switch for turning off those personalized search results!
On the far-right side of the Google search results screen there’s a gear symbol. Hover your mouse cursor over that and you’ll see the word “Options.”
This symbol doesn’t appear on the Google main page. It appears only on search results pages.
Click on the gear symbol and you’ll get a drop-down menu. Choose the “Search Settings” option.
In Search Settings, scroll down to “Private Results” and click on “Do not use private results.”
While I was there I set my search result pages to display 100 results simultaneously. That saves a lot of time (and clicking) while researching the information I need.
Now when I use Google, I don’t see only what the search data engineers think I want to see.
Instead, I can see the actual search results – plain vanilla! My favorite flavor! (Not really, I, like many women, love coffee flavor, and chocolate. Too bad I no longer eat ice cream.)
Now, allow me to tell you why this is so important to me.
When I look for my book on Google, I put the words “River Girl” in the search box. If the result pages show me that my book is clear up at the top of the page, I might think that my book is the most important River Girl information on the internet.
But then I go to the Amazon search engine and look for my River Girl and the book is nowhere near the top of the page. There are other River Girl books.
In actual, non-personalized Google search results there are websites that are called “River Girl” and they rank better than my site, http://rivergirlclaire.com. Those sites are a lot older than mine; they’re better established and may have information Google thinks is more relevant to the general public’s search needs.
Unfortunately, if I’m using the personalized “private” search results on Google, I don’t know that, because Google has tracked my activities on the internet, and knows I have an interest in that book, and they’re going to show me what they’ve decided I’m interested in.
What I really want to know is how well my site ranks in comparison to other “River Girl” websites.
This is why I need to keep the “private search results” turned off. I want to know the truth about how well my site is doing in search engine results. I don’t want to know what Google thinks I want to see.