Would anyone like to give me some feedback on this situation of Google customizing their SERPs based upon the user’s location?
Yesterday, just messing about, I did a search for hyperlocal blog and was quite delighted to find the SEOigloo blog at #1 for this search term. And then I noticed this:
I was not logged into my Google account (remember that business about being able to log out of personalized results), and yet, Google was basing its results on my rough geographic location. I decided to run a few more searches for ‘plumber’, ‘doctor’, ‘dentist’ – queries with what strikes me as a more obvious local intent. Oddly, Google did not customize my results for this…until I added the word local
to the front of my queries. Suddenly, all of my results were customized. I guess we’ve found a trigger word.
Still curious about the term hyperlocal blog
, I decided to sign into one of my client’s Google accounts and run the same search. This client is located on the East Coast. While logged into their account, I was not able to make any customized results appear for any query. And, I discovered that, for the term hyperlocal blog
, though I was still appearing at #2, I was being outranked by PBS.org (hey, I really can’t complain about that!)
Strangest of all, if Google feels I should be obliged to add the word local
to receive customized results for things like a doctor, a plumber or a dentist, apparently they are less picky when it comes to pizza
. Somewhere along the line, people at the Googleplex must have decided that anyone in search of extra mushrooms and olives needed a local answer fast.
I confess, I find the protocols of this customization business rather unclear. Why do some terms and not others qualify as being deserved of customization? Has anyone identified any interesting patterns? Do you even like customization? I confess, I’m not very fond of it and met the announcement of personalization with a frown. I’d rather own the responsibility of signifying to Google when I want something local by using typical local modifiers than have them doing guesswork for me.
In the case of my original search, I really wasn’t looking for something local. It was a curiosity search, just to see what kind of results were out there at this point for this new-ish term. Yet, Google must have parsed my word, seen the ‘local’ in ‘hyperlocal’ and decided that I am the best answer to my own question, at least in the SF Bay Area. Very kind of them, of course, but perhaps not the most relevant results for my intent. I’d appreciate hearing your thoughts on customization.