I am not sure if you have noticed, but when you are searching Google for something, Google has begun to personalize the search results. So, when you search for something like search engine optimization, you will most likely get personalized search results like this:
If you take a closer look, you will notice that there’s a phrase there on the top right of the search results that indicates that the search results you’re looking at are “Customized based on recent search activity”. What? Yes, Google is learning more about us, and they are actually changing the search results based on several different factors: one of them being the fact that they watch what you’re searching for and then display different search results. So, oftentimes I will search for something at home, go to the office, and find totally different search results.
You don’t even have to be logged into a Google Account in order to receive the personalized search results. That means that they are looking at information such as your IP address and your location (my IP address at home shows that I’m about 250 miles where I’m actually located…so Google thinks I’m in a different location).
I have to be honest with you: as someone who likes to actually see where a web site is “ranking” in the search results, I find it annoying at times to always be served up “personalized search results”. If this is the case with you, then I have a great “tool” for you: I’ve created a Firefox Bookmarklet that you can click on that will remove the personalization from the Google search results for you. All you have to do is click on the link and it will remove the personalization.
Here is how it works:
1. Install or “add” the following bookmark. If you’re using Firefox, then all you have to do is click on the following link and hold down on your left mouse button. Drag it to your Firefox Bookmarks toolbar.
2. When you’re on the Google search results page, (like this one), and you see a statement on the top right of the search results that says “Customized based on recent search activity”, then click the Firefox bookmarklet. The Google search results will automatically be refreshed, with the same exact keyword phrase you just searched for: but the personalized search results till be removed, you will see the “non-personalized” search results.
In the future, we are going to be seeing Google deliver more personalized search results to us in an effort to improve our overall search experience. But, if you’re annoyed by this like I am, then here’s a way to actually remove the personalized search results.