How To Turn Off Google Personalized Search
As was reported widely last month Google has decided to turn on personalized search for users that are not even logged into their Google account. If you are not familiar with personalized search, this is the algorithm Google uses to determine which search results to show based on your previous search engine usage.
Previously you had to be logged in to your Google account to see the results, this would at least give you the ability to log out to see what the general browsing public would see compared to what your usage has caused the search results for you personally to be.
Once Google turned on personalized search for people even when they were not logged in it caused a bit of an uproar because now, even with all the SEO effort you may put in, you were never quite sure of what the general browsing public would see.
One of the first things I did was found a way to turn off personalized search, this allows me to see what the actual SERPs are compared to what I personally see when logged in, although someone who has searched for a specific term before may have their own personalized results I can now at least see what the Google results would be if personalized search was not on.
In the case below I am logged into my Google account but will go through what I see and how I turn off Google personalized results:
You can see the View Customizations link on the right side above the search results. Click that link.
Above you will see the links to remove web history for your account, to remove web history and personalized search click on Remove Web History from my Google Account.
Now things are a bit different when you are not signed into your Google account, per Google your search is personalized based on a cookie. Here is a the quote from Google on how to disable personalized search when you are not signed in:
1. In the top right corner of the search results page, click Web History.
2. On the resulting page, click Disable customizations.(Because this preference is stored in a cookie, it’ll affect anyone else who uses the same browser and computer as you).
One interesting thing that I should point out is that Google does say that if you have turned off personalized search for those times you are not logged in you will have to redo the process again since the settings are stored in the cookie itself and the service is opt-in by default.
That last little bit is concerning.
Anyway, enjoy your non-personalized results.