How to discover your true rankings on Google

Make Google spit out the truth

Don’t you hate it when people insist on telling you what they think you want to hear instead of the raw, naked truth?

Nowhere is this more frustrating than when you’re dealing with Google.

Google is amazingly user friendly. They make sure that when you’re searching, they feed you results you’re most likely to want to see.  They do this by tracking your browsing preferences and taking your past browsing history into account when dishing up search results.

While it’s a useful feature and easy to appreciate when you’re looking for personally relevant information, it can get a little annoying at times.  I won’t go into the privacy can of worms, but personally I find it awfully frustrating when I’m trying to determine actual search rankings for my sites.

Are we really #1 on Google…or is Google just telling us so to make us happy?

Fortunately, there are ways of making Google talk.

One easy way to get your true rankings on Google is to use a site called It allows you to search privately, without your identity being disclosed.

If you’re a really underhanded, sneaky, conniving person you may have used Scroogle to cheat your boss at work by typing your Christmas shopping (or whatever) search terms into their search box instead of doing whatever it was you were hired to do.

But there are legitimate ways to use Scroogle, too. One is to type in your primary keywords and get the real scoop on how you rank on Google.

Try it today. The results may surprise you.


1/6/14 Update: Scroogle is dead. Check out this forum thread for an effective solution using Google Chrome.


Meta Tags – Back in Vogue, with a Story to Tell

Surprise!  Meta tags are back in fashion.

According to Richard Gilmore’s  recent post on, “Your Meta Descriptions Now Affect Your Google Rankings Again,”  Google’s new search procedures make it more important than ever to keep your meta descriptions compelling.

Hopefully you can sit back smugly at this point, saying, “Well, duh!  Of course my meta descriptions are compelling.  They’re the little snippets human searchers use to decide if my site is worth visiting.”

But if you’ve been a little lax about it, it’s time to sit up and take notice.  Maybe you didn’t know that Google searches get personalized to the user.  So if you click on a site several times, it will start coming up higher in search rankings on your computer than it will in a generic search.

This process has been going on for some time for those people logged into their Google accounts.  But now, Google’s shot it up with growth hormones.

Recently, Google switched to storing search data on browser cookies, so everyone gets personalized results whether they’re signed in or not.

Scary?  Maybe.  But as marketers we’d better pay attention.

The human element is more important than ever. That makes the story you tell about your business more important than ever.

Make it a good one, and let is permeate everything about your business.  Including your meta tags.

Anne Michelsen is a freelance writer specializing in helping Green and renewable energy companies enjoy increased attention and greater sales through dynamic sales copy and insightful content.

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