One of the most common questions asked by website owners and SEO experts is why rank checkers show different Google ranking positions than actual Google search results. This discrepancy is something that can frustrate even the most experienced professionals. But, there are a few reasons why this discrepancy occurs, and in this article, we’ll dive into those reasons and provide some solutions to help you get a more accurate idea of how your website is performing in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Reason #1: Personalization of Search Results
One of the reasons your SEO rank checker tool may show different ranking positions compared to actual Google search results is because of personalization of search results. Google customizes search results based on the user’s search history, location, device type, and other factors. For example, a user who frequently searches for “Italian restaurants” may see different results compared to a user who searches for “Chinese restaurants” even if they’re in the same location.
Solution #1: Use Incognito Mode or Private Browsing
To overcome the personalization of search results, use private browsing mode or incognito mode when performing Google searches. This will stop Google from using your browsing history or other personalization factors. Alternatively, use a rank tracker that allows you to track ranking positions for an incognito search.
Reason #2: Search Engine Algorithm Updates
Another reason for the inconsistency between ranking positions from your SEO rank tracker and actual Google search results is due to algorithm updates. Google constantly updates its algorithm to make search results more relevant and personalized to users. These changes can significantly impact ranking positions.
Solution #2: Check the Date of Your Ranking Results
If you notice discrepancies between your rank checker tool and actual Google search results, check the date of your ranking results. If the date corresponds to a recent Google algorithm update, there’s a high probability that the update impacted your website.
Reason #3: Search Engine Results Page Format
Search engine results page (SERP) also plays a vital role in ranking positions. Google displays different types of search results such as rich snippets, featured snippets, people also ask, and image packs, which can sometimes push down organic search results. These additional elements can impact ranking positions as well.
Solution #3: Use a Rank Tracker that Accounts for SERP Features
Using a rank tracker that accounts for SERP features can help you track your ranking positions more accurately. SERP features, such as Featured Snippets, can be recognized by SEMrush’s Rank Tracker tool, making it easier for you to track your SERP ranking positions.
Reason #4: Localization of Search Results
Google’s algorithm is designed around the concept of localization, which means that search results are customized to a user’s location. This is done to provide localized content, such as local restaurants or shopping, which can impact ranking positions.
Solution #4: Use a Rank Tracker That Accounts for Local Results
When tracking local SEO rankings, use a rank tracker that can take into account the user’s location. For example, SEMrush’s Rank Tracker tool includes support for Google’s Local Pack, which is designed to show local results.
In conclusion, the use of rank trackers is an essential part of any SEO strategy. However, understanding the reasons behind discrepancies between SEO rank checker tools and actual Google search results is crucial. Personalization of search results, search engine updates, SERP format, and localization of search results can all impact ranking positions. Using incognito mode, checking the date of ranking results, using a rank tracker that accounts for SERP features, and using a rank tracker that accounts for local results can help you track your SEO rankings more accurately. By doing so, you’ll ensure that you’re making data-driven decisions to improve your website’s search engine ranking positions.