Is personalisation of Google results now history?

Having spent years making sure everyone is aware that no two people see the same Google results pages, it may be time to rewind. According to comments made by reliable sources from the search engine, “personalisation of results is very light” nowadays. If you do see differences in the results, it’s more likely they’ve been caused by localisation, which is still a big factor. Or so they say.

I’ve read conflicting reports about why Google may have reined back on taking into account other things it knows about you, including your search history. Some say that it’s because they found people clicked on the same things regardless. Others think it’s because of the increased awareness of privacy issues. Tiny rival search engine Duck Duck Go ran a study after the claim above was made and claimed that a majority of participants saw different results with discrepancies that “could not be explained by changes in location, time, by being logged in to Google, or by Google testing algorithm changes to a small subset of users.”

If you’re wondering whether or not your positions in the search results are the same for everyone, do your homework. Google Search Console gives you a good idea (it can be filtered down to country level) and third-party monitoring services are equally useful. The free ones which we run weekly for all of our clients are an excellent starting point.