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Does your business want to be ranked high up on the search engines or does it want a better click through rate?
We all like to see our website ranked number 1 in Google or Bing (other search engines are available) but is it really important? Unless your business somehow makes money from showing your website is ranked number 1 I suspect what is more important is the amount of quality visitors touch down on your site. Being ranked number 10 for a keyword might provide more quality visitors to your website compared to another keyword which is ranked first.

Is the position of where your website ranks in the major search engines important anymore?
Prior to 2011 the answer would be ‘yes of course it is’. However a lot has changed since then, the search results you see might not be the same results your customers see.
A little while ago Google released a new service which creates a personal search result. What this means is that the results are tailored to what Google thinks you will be interested in and ranks those website higher in the results. How and why they do this I will explain a little later.
So even if your website ranked number 1 for ‘bristol seo’ your future customers results might not even have you listed on the first page.

Why do Google personalise the search results?
This ‘service’ is only activated when you are logged into one of Googles many websites (YouTube, Gmail, Google+ etc), and the chances are you already use one of their services and are already logged in. As much as you might like to resist signing up to one of their services it is getting harder by the week. Google buys approx 1 business EVERY week, they will own the internet soon!
Google say they want to produce the most relevant search results for everyone, so to do this they need to understand what you like and what websites you would be interested in in the future. By gathering this data they can suggest websites you will be interested in.

How does Google personalise the search results?
There are several ways Google gathers this information which include what you type into their search engines, websites you visit which displays a Google advert (adverts are not always one way), Googles Chrome browser will also provide some more information and of course their new (ish) social media platform Google+ (Google Plus).
I will focus on the Google+ signal and try and explain how this works. If you +1 a websites page it lets Google+ know that you like the content/site, this in turn thinks that your connections (friends, circles, buddies or whatever you want to call them) would be interested in them too. After all you have recommended the page and everyone likes recommendations don’t they! So that page might rank a little higher in your friends search results. The same applies the other way around, you might be (without you knowing) funnelled to using a website a friend has recommended.

If you wish to de-personalise your web searches here is how to do it.

Well what do we need to do?
Firstly if you are not using Google+ already it is time to start, even if only to help your website rank better. It is one of the easiest social media platform to get friends on so get mingling!
Don’t forget to +1 your pages of course! (I don’t advice you +1 all your pages at once, that will not help). The benefits of Googles +1 button is explained a little more here.