Most people who use search engines believe that they are getting ‘pure’ results returned to them. Unfortunately, the more you use these search engines the more ‘impure’ these results become. Why? Because the search engine become better and better at identifying you and only sending you results it believes are most appealing.
Many search engines now allow you to login so you can view your search history, but even if you don’t do this searches know who you are. How do they track you? They are able to determine unique parameters from information on your machine like the browser, operating system, screen resolution and so on. By gathering enough of these they can pretty much pinpoint returning users.
Once they know who you are they then start to gather information about what you search for and browse on the Internet. Ever wondered why certain ads pop up during searching? That’s the search engine using the intelligence it has gathers on you to push you something that it believes will be appealing.
if you don’t believe this try running the same search on two different machines, especially one that you haven’t used at all. Chances are you will see a completely different set of results. Thus, when you search you are effectively living in a bubble, only receiving results that the search engine ‘thinks’ are best for you. You don’t receive ‘pure’ results the more you use your machine for searching.
This is a good thing for many since they really only want information that interests and is relevant for them, however it also defeats the purpose of search engine optimization because every person’s search results are now different, even if they use the same terms.
Food for thought next time you use a search engine.