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User Search History as a Google Ranking Factor: What You Need to Know

User search history drives personalized search results.How does this factor affect Google search rankings?

The search results users see today can be influenced by what they looked up in Google weeks, months, or even years ago.

Users' pasts are said to follow them on Google, and search algorithms use this data to deliver personalized results.

If this is true, it means that users may not see the same SERPs for the same query, as the ranking position of a URL may vary from one person's search.

This chapter will investigate the claims of user search history as a ranking factor and make clear the degree to which it affects the results.

Disclaimer: User search history is a ranking factor

When users log into their Google accounts, search results are personalized based on their search history.

Google collects web and app activity from all logged-in users.

You can opt out of data collection, but it is turned on by default.

This data is collected to better understand the interests of users so that Google can provide a more targeted experience (eg, search results, advertisements).

There are different claims about the degree of personalization of search results.

In most cases, user search history is considered to have a slight impact on results.

However, Google's critics don't think so.

DuckDuckGo claims personalization is so powerful that it creates a "filter bubble" that limits users' exposure to new sources, ideas and perspectives.

DuckDuckGo accused Google of using an extreme level of personalization, saying two users could search for the same thing at the same time and get wildly different results.

Is user search history an important ranking factor as Google's critics claim?

The evidence is this.

Evidence of user search history as a ranking factor

User search history has been a Google ranking factor as far back as 2007, when the company confirmed the update in an announcement.

"We're constantly working to improve the quality of our search results.One of the ways we address this is by personalizing your search experience.

After all, you are the only one who really knows what you are really looking for.

Google continues to personalize search results to this day, though the company vehemently denies DuckDuckGo's claims that the effect is so strong that it creates a filter bubble.

In fact, search results are not always personalized.

When they do, the impact is mild, and according to Google search liaison Danny Sullivan, it doesn't make a huge difference between each.

"Personalization doesn't happen very often and usually doesn't change search results significantly from one person to another.It's often applied so lightly that the results are very similar to what people see without personalization.

User Search History as a Ranking Factor: Our Verdict

Based on Google's statement, we concluded that user search history is a less influential ranking factor.

It's easy to test how light the personalization is.

Just search in the new incognito window and there will be no account-based activity to deliver results.

These results are then compared to the SERPs in the login search.

Anyone who wants to opt out of personalization using account-based activity can do so through the Web & App Activity settings in their Google Account.

Extended reading:

Are title tags a Google ranking factor?

Is Tabbed Content a Google Ranking Factor?

Is Schema Markup a Google ranking factor?

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