In the beginning, everyone saw the same search results. These days, most search results are personalized.

The search engines can track the location of the user based on the IP address of the computer. They in turn use this information as search engine ranking factors to return customized search results.

What Country?

The first personalization ranking factor is the country the user is performing the search from.

For example, if you are a user in Cleveland OH and you are searching for a lawyer, results from the U.K. would be less relevant.

What City Or Locality?

The personalization based on location doesn’t stop at the country. Google can use your IP address to narrow your location to the city or neighborhood you are in.

Again, lets say you are in Cleveland OH and searching for a lawyer by entering “Cleveland lawyer” into the search engine. Google can figure out that you meant Cleveland OH and not Cleveland TN.

Personal History

What a user has previously searched for can affect their search results. Have they “Liked” the site on Facebook? Has the user Google +1’d it? Both search engines use this data to influence their results.

Unfortunately, this type of ranking factor is hard to influence. It comes down to first impressions. Your goal should be to provide quality content that encourages the user to return often or +1 the web page.

Personal Social Connections

Have your friends or other people in your social graph shared, “Liked”, or +1’d the web site? This is one of the newest ranking factors to affect search results.

Again, first impressions count. You can need to create quality content as part of your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts that others are willing to share on their social network accounts. If you don’t have a Facebook or Google+ account associated with your web site we suggest you sign up for them. It is all about gaining access to your visitor’s circle of trust.


Next: Violations and Search Engine Spam Penalties