So you’ve hopped on to Google again, entered one of your preferred keyword phrases and smiled in satisfaction as you see your website right there at the top. What a great internet marketing campaign it’s been!

Except for one thing. Your website isn’t at the top of Google’s search results for that keyword phrase.

Huh? But you just did a search, and there it was. You even checked to make sure that you weren’t logged in to Google, because you know that if you’re signed in to Google then the search results you see will be customised to reflect your previous searches, skewing the results.

But the truth is that what you see on Google may well not be the same thing everybody else is seeing, even if you aren’t signed in to Google, and even if you don’t even have a Google account. How so?

Because Google recently introduced a new system of cookies, those small text files deposited in your computer silently whilst you carry out your searches and browsing. Google has started using these to record your search history so that even if you’re not signed in to Google, you’ll still be given customised results.

So if you’ve been searching for your preferred keyphrase, and clicking on your own website link, then Google will have recorded that fact, and will promote your site to the top as it believes that will be a more relevant search result for you.

To avoid being lulled into a false sense of satisfaction, delete your cookies and empty your cache before carrying out a keyphrase placement search, so that your results will be independent from any personal customisation.