Don’t tell people your Google position

Google search engine’s not bad at delivering pretty darn relevant results. For this reason I strongly suggest you do NOT tell others what they’ll get when they carry out a Google search.

Let me give a bit of context to this with a simple back story.

A speaker informing the audience of their Google position

…it’s position X on Google…

I was recently in the company of a speaker who was addressing a fair number of people, informing them of the great services they offer, when they said something that I couldn’t shake. It went something like this,

Visit our site, it’s X position on Google…“.

I have no idea what they said beyond this point, as all I could think of was, “how could they know that if I, or the other listeners, were to do a Google search we’d see what they saw?

The answer is simple: They don’t know!

Why can’t they tell me their Google position?

Because Google delivers results based on hundreds of factors, not just by entering a keyword and expecting the entire world to see the same results, in the same position. However, note that longtail keywords are, by design, more unique, thus it is technically possible to predict a partial outcome of search results when a much longer term is entered into the search engine, such as the first paragraph of this post:

“Google search engine’s not bad at delivering pretty darn relevant results. For this reason I strongly suggest you do NOT tell others what they’ll get when they carry out a Google search.”

But for most search results, including company names that are made up of two to three very common words* it really is a risky business expecting the same search results, when so many of the factors will be different – in all fairness, some people may see the same results, but it will likely mean that key indicators are very similar, ie. they are in the same physical location, they’ve used the exact same phrase and the company they are searching for has a unique name (the latter was not the case with the speaker in question). Two typical variables that impact on the results are the searcher’s location and browser settings.

In The Digital is a particularly good case in point, as the first two words are *stop words, meaning they all but overlooked and “Digital” could be referring to pretty much anything that’s related to the modern world.

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