Seems pretty easy to check doesn’t it? Just type in the keywords you rank well for, and there is your website near the top of the results…
Actually that’s not your true ranking at all!
Check again using a friends computer and you’ll get a very different result.
This can be embarrassing. I did this many times at a friends houses before I figured out what was going on: “Hey, John check this out, my website is #1 for ‘xyz widgets’… hey wait a second, where the heck is it??” Stink!
Why does this happen?
Because over time Google learns about you, your search behaviour, and what results you like (through software such as browser plugins, cookies, and being signed in to your Google account).
So every time you do a Google search on your computer you are training the Google search algorithm.
Every time you click on a search result Google ticks a box to say “Yes! We gave that searcher the link they wanted!”. But everytime you return to the results using the “Back” button, Google ticks a box to say “No! That link wasn’t what they wanted, let’s try harder next time team!”.
That is one of the ways that Google incrementally improves their search results over time.
But you are just one person, and your behaviour has only a tiny impact on the world. But it has a huge impact to the search results you get from your computer!
So, you are pushing the link to your website higher up the search results because you are clicking on the link all the time (but most of the impact is confined to searches done on your computer).
How can you find out what your rank in Google really is?
There is 1 way to get a true indication of your rank in Google (actually there are many, but this is the easiest, cheapest, most accurate, non-biased way I have found).
And that is: RankTracker software.
The paid version is pretty expensive and doesn’t really add a lot of functionality.
The free version is fine (but not being able to save the reports can get a little annoying).
(And no, I don’t get paid for linking to them)