Unveiling the Truth: Googling Your Business and Its Impact on SEO Rankings

Explore the intriguing question of whether Googling your own business affects SEO rankings. Join host Jesse Dolan, along with guests Bob Brennan and Sue Ginsburg, as they dissect the nuances, debunk myths, and provide valuable insights for business owners navigating the world of local SEO.

What You’ll Learn

  • Understand the truth behind Googling your own business and its potential impact on SEO rankings.
  • Explore the factors that influence personalized search results and learn how they differ from broader SEO considerations.
  • Discover actionable insights on monitoring SEO performance using tools and gain clarity on when and how often to check your rankings.
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Jesse:
Do you ever Google your own business and wonder to yourself am I impacting the search results by all this Googling for my business, clicking on my website and all this? Are you messing it up for everybody else? Are you impacting your rankings by doing this? If you ever wondered that, check out this episode. We’re going to walk through where that doesn’t doesn’t happen and how it could or couldn’t happen. I think this is something you need to worry about for your business. Welcome back to Local SEO Tactics, where we bring you tips and tricks to get found online. I’m your host, Jesse Dolan. You’re in this episode with Mr Bob Brennan and Sue Ginsburg. How are you two doing this week?

Sue:
Hello.

Bob:
Doing great, doing great.

Sue:
Doing better.

Bob:
Ready for winter.

Jesse:
Yeah, ready for winter Minnesota. This is so what are we? November 2nd, bob, we’ve already had our first snowfall for the year, unbelievably so, not quite like the Halloween Blizzard of 91, more of a Halloween dusting more than anything, but it’s below freezing which sucks at this point. So, and Sue, for everybody listening or watching, you are down in Texas, nice and warm, even though you got a jacket on, and you are waiting for your vehicle to get inspected. So if we get some background noise and things like that, you know you got a little bit of a funkiness going on today, but what are we going to talk about, sue?

Sue:
Today’s episode is a Colin question from one of our listeners, Yvonne Min, a Yvonne Min photographer in Colorado. She’s asking a great question Does a business owner Googling their own business have a different impact on SEO than what someone else Googles it?

Yvonne Min:
Hi, my name is Yvonne Min and I am a family headshot and high school senior photographer in the Denver Metro area. My website is Yvonne Min Photography and YvonneMin.com and my question has to do with when I Google things on my phone, such as my own business or local photographers in this area, am I impacting the results that I see? Question mark, In other words, I feel like since I started this SEO thing, I am now seeing my name rise up and go into the map pack or get higher on just the organic searches, but it’s only been a couple of days. So I’m just wondering is somehow Google bringing me up closer because it knows that I’m Googling that If a neighbor were to Google the Wharton photographers, would they see the same thing that I am, or is it individualized? I hope that makes sense. Thank you!

Sue:
Okay, quote of the day today SEO is half art and half science. That’s a quote from Jordan Seuber, a self-made man who has built a million-dollar business the American way through hard work and creativity, with a never give up attitude. An author, entrepreneurial realtor and social media maven and an incredible team builder here in Austin, Texas. Jordan realizes that SEO and other online tools is half art and half science, and we all need to look at it that way. Okay, so I will ask our listeners, business owners and everybody else out there have you ever Googled your own business to see how it shows up? Or I should say, how often do you Google your own business to see how it shows up? Think it’s intrinsic nature for all of us. We want to Google our own business, we want to Google our own name just to see, and it’s a good practice and idea to do so.

Business owners, especially, have all kinds of reasons to Google your own business, whether it’s to see how you’re ranking, to check or change something on the website or on your Google business profile, even though we know the URL, sometimes it’s easier to just put in the name of the business, and we do it that either, or many other ways.

Depending on where we are when we Google it, what device we’re on and other factors that we may or may not know about, the results Google shows up can be different. Does this have a positive impact or a negative impact, or any impact at all, on how it shows up when others Google it? Are we hurting our ranking? Are we helping it or neither? Is there a best practice that business owners should be following as it concerns Googling your own business, and, if so, what is that? These are all questions that will be helpful for business owners everywhere. To no answers to, let’s get the SEO perspective from Jesse on this, the business owner perspective from Bob, and see how we can all be a little bit smarter, learning from the experts today.

Jesse:
I think it’s a good question, definitely something that comes up often and to your point, sue, as business owners, whoever it is, if we’re investing in SEO we want to know if it’s working. So you’re going to be checking up. Let’s set a couple you know kind of bits of foundation here. Generally speaking, as a broad answer no, you’re not really going to mess up or change the search results by doing searches for your own company, for any company that matter. Now there’s a bit of an asterisk there. Over the years Rand Fishkin is an SEO guy. Now he’s much more into social media, but he would do some things at talks and seminars, you know years back, where he’d have the entire audience participate. You know, pull out your phone, pull out your laptop, whatever, do a quick search, you know, and click on this link Maybe it was the third or fourth one down and during the discussion they would show that the movement would go up on that listing just from all the user interactions. Now that’s a little different than you know you, sue, or Bob, or myself you know, as a business owner, googling our own entity and checking the results just because of the amount right, of the sheer number of people doing that. If you got 100, 200 people doing that at the same time in a room versus you know all of us doing it periodically completely different situation. But I did want to mention that because, yeah, like user interactions, human behavior doing searches, clicking on websites definitely impacts your SEO. So didn’t want to say seem like a blanket statement that no, that’s not going to matter. It matters at scale, and that was years ago. That’s that’s click through rate or CTR. You might see if you’re doing any kind of SEO research or tips and tricks on those things, that doesn’t matter as much today as it did a few years ago. Google’s kind of tried to kind of tamp that down a little bit, or at least smaller spikes. Now, if you go viral on something and you get a ton of traffic, you know that kind of stuff will still break through. But yeah, if you just have a small number of people in your office, or 20 or 30 people, even if you’re just checking Google results here and there, the odds of you impacting what you’re seeing in search and the ranking of your website are pretty much nil. So let’s dive into some of the information Google gives us for that and how, how we know that’s true. So factors that can impact what you see in the SERP search engine results page, these are things we’ll link. We’ll link to a Google support doc here in the show notes for everybody If you want to learn more of this and do your own research. But here’s some things where Google says these do impact what we’re seeing in search. And again, we’re kind of not debunking this, if you will, but definitely making a statement that this doesn’t mean you’re going to see different results. I shouldn’t say like that. This doesn’t mean that you’re going to change the results for everybody else by doing your own Google searches, but definitely you can impact what you see personally within the Google sphere. So what are some factors that can impact what you see?

The actual phrase that you type in, right. If Bob and I are doing a Google search on our business and we just have a difference in our phraseology maybe a comma here and not a comma there, right or plural or not plural. If we’re doing, you know, red Balloons, minneapolis. If I do Minneapolis, red Balloons and Bob does Red Balloons, minneapolis, right, we’ve got our geomodifier at the beginning and at the end, two different searches, very similar. Maybe you’re thinking it’s the same thing, but the meaning of your search, the meaning of your query, what your intent is with that phrase. If it’s not exactly the same, then we’re definitely talking apples and oranges here. For you know, if Bob and I are seeing different things, right? So just be aware of that. You definitely, if you’re looking at these things, you have to start with the exact same phrase.

Another factor that changes what you’re going to see or what Bob or I might see different in Google search is time. This is definitely more true of things that are more like news, events, right, or things that have happened recently. If Bob and I are checking at different times, if there’s a lag, then we can definitely see different results. Typically, search results don’t move that quick again, unless it’s something kind of out there in the popular ether or something that’s time sensitive, like an event. But that’s a factor, generally speaking, that will cause a difference in results.

And then we get to a couple of things here a little more complicated location, your geographic location. So I’m going to pull this example right from Google. They have a really good one. I thought was good because it has some nuance to it. So if Bob is in Chicago and I’m in London, if Bob just types in football. Most likely Google’s going to recognize that he’s in Chicago and when he says football he means two things One, american football and Chicago. So Google’s probably going to show him results for Chicago Bears football, right, maybe what the latest score was, the upcoming game, things like that. However, if I’m in London, google’s probably going to know I mean soccer and not American football, right, and they’re going to show me something with the Premier League and the local teams there. So not just recognizing our location, but also kind of that context of what that phrase means within that location, right, football meaning soccer to basically the un-American world, and in America we mean football as an American football.

So definitely an interesting example there and shows how your geographic location can impact what you’re seeing in search results. Why does that matter for somebody searching their business, things like that? You know, again, if Bob and I are two different locations searching on our business, we may see different results because of our actual locations, not just based off the keywords that we’re typing in, and another one that definitely adds some layers of complexity. Here is your search history, right, your Google account history Now, depending on the privacy settings of your account, if you’re using a Google account. If you’re signed into Chrome, you know things like this can have more or less impact depending on how much data Google is tracking. But definitely all your searching, your browsing history, whatever’s connected to your account, if you have one is going to impact what you’re seeing in search.

Google is going to pull a lot of context and try to really personalize the search results you’re seeing to fit what you’ve been searching for, what they think you’re searching for. A good example we always use and I’m sure we’ve shared it on the show here is wedding band. Right, if I do a search for wedding band, I’m either looking for piece of jewelry or you may be a live band to play at my wedding. Depending on what I’ve typed in, google’s going to guess at those two things, right? If we haven’t gotten engaged yet, then I’m looking at jewelry versus. You know, maybe we’re six, 12 months later, whatever down the road planning our wedding.

Now, things like that are going to make a difference as well from your search history. So, with that stuff being said, yeah, there are plenty of reasons why two different people are going to see different search results. Let’s just make the assumption that we’re typing in the same phrase, but none of that points to anything that has to do with Sue. Directly to the question you know, if I keep Googling my business, am I going to impact what Bob is seeing, right? No, you’re not, if it’s just one person. Again, if you use the Rand Fishkin example, an auditorium full of 500 people now do some searches and are manipulating click-through rates and things like that at scale that can make an impact on what Bob is going to see when he then does that search, because the rankings may change. But for everyday stuff that we’re doing, absolutely not. You can definitely search your business, your competitors’ businesses, do as much as you want as an individual person and you’re not going to be impacting the results for the rest of the world on those websites that you’re checking and clicking into. So, long story short, it’s a no, you don’t have to be concerned about that.

However, we do want to kind of pivot a little bit here on the topic and talk about this. Sue, as you mentioned on Earlier here in the show, it is important to do googling on yourself to know if your SEO is working as your marketing working. Maybe you want to check out your website to change something like. Whatever the case is. You definitely want to be doing some googling and some checking. Bob, I know we’ve talked about this many times in the past and you check up on this stuff all the time and there’s a tool that we really like with bright local. I’d love for you to maybe share that with people to speak to it. We can link to it in the show notes, but maybe just talk about how that works and why that’s important as a business owner To use a tool like that and not just searching off your desktop for the search results.

Hey everyone, just a quick message about our free SEO audit tool on local SEO tactics comm. We’ll get right back to the show. If you haven’t taken advantage of it yet, go on out to local SEO tactics comm, slash free SEO audit or look for the yellow button up in the top right corner. Click that and it’s gonna take just a couple seconds. You enter in the page that you want to optimize what you’re looking for the audit to score against.

Enter in that page and turn the key word you’re looking to get optimized for and Enter in your email address. Click the button and it’s gonna take a few seconds and then it’s gonna send you off a PDF report via email. It’s a great report. It’s gonna kind of give you an overall score of some vital SEO areas for that page and for your website at large. You know it’s auditing this page. That’s gonna tell you some of the good things that are happening, some of the bad things that are happening too, and give you, basically, a checklist of some things that you need to show up and what you can do to improve your SEO for that page, for that keyword that you’re auditing.

Now you can use this as many times as you want. You can do multiple keywords, multiple pages, multiple keywords on the same page. You can even use this to check against your competitors, right, if you want to do a little reverse engineering See how they’re scoring for a certain keyword, what they may be doing good, that you’re not and some things to improve there. So lots of different ways to use it completely free. Again, go on at the local SEO tactics comm slash, free SEO audit, or look for the yellow button in the top right corner of the website. All right, so, bob, let’s go ahead and talk about the bright local tool for people. Let them know about that and why we like using that to check up on in business.

Bob:
Yeah, so I use Bright Local and the reason I use it is exactly what Jessie said earlier is that the bias of my computer or the geolocation of my computer is going to affect the results. So there’s a lot of times as business owners and we say, when we talk about Google ourselves or Googling, let’s say, the keywords, never Google your brand and think, okay, well, I’m at the top, you’re always going to be at the top for your company, obviously, but we’re talking for the keywords that you want to show up for. So I never trust let’s just say I never trust my computer or my Google, so to speak. I always use Bright Local. So Bright Local is out there. If you look up Bright Local, they give you a free probably 10 or 20 searches a day and it’s a neat tool. You simply type in the keyword, you type in the city that you want to be found in and then you hit go and it’ll give you results. You’re obviously interested in that first page piece.

So Bright Local sometimes I’ll use incognito, but I don’t 100% trust that either. And then I’ll also do other things in terms of mobile, where I will for my own business. If there’s our service people are out in the area. I’ll have them do their search from a different location just to see how they show up mobily, and our family members do a similar type scenario there. So, all that being said, that’s how I do that. I never 100% trust, let’s say, Search Console or what they’re saying our position is. I always validate it by doing that through Bright Local and some of the others, and so, as your SEO provider, as you’re working with your SEO provider and you’re not 100% sure, hey, we’re on this position, that position, I would validate it through Bright Local. Now, one question I’m going to throw back to you, Jesse, is how frequently should you be checking your position with Bright Local? And when do you start to say to your provider hey, you’re saying this, but I’m seeing this. I mean, how do you handle that piece?

Jesse:
Yeah, I think if you’re good questions, if you’ve done something recently, if you’re expecting your rank to change, I mean, check it daily, right. If you’re really anxious about something, like I said, you’re not going to screw anything up, there’s no harm in checking daily. If it’s just kind of a call in maintenance, check, right, you just want to check up. You don’t have an ink winning that something’s good or bad happening, right, maybe once a month, once a quarter, kind of depends on how consistent things have been for you. But then on the downside, like if you’re like God we’ve talked in a recent episode like if your GBP gets suspended, right, grab something to drink, buckle up. It’s going to make an impact on your business, not in a good way. I would say same thing here, like if you’re experiencing a bad couple of days or maybe bad week and a lot of your business comes from the web, yeah, then jump in proactively to see if something’s wrong. You know kind of ad hoc, or again, daily, you know if things are tumultuous. But yeah, I think to your point, bob, like trust, not trusting things incognito mode, or even your own browser, those are valid. There’s a reason this bright, local tool is out there that we use it. They use it all the time. It’s because you want to strip all those history and all those other stuff off and just get the straight up results. And that doesn’t mean again somebody the other part of the country is going to see the same thing you’re seeing in bright local because they will have their own, you know they’ll be tainted if you will in their own way too, but it is just a great kind of third party. You know way to look at it, to cooperate, what’s good or bad happening. I do want to mention too I didn’t know it.

You mentioned incognito mode, bob, and yeah, a lot of people think that just using incognito mode will will do all this just fine, and it does strip away some of that context. Like you’re not tied into your Google account in incognito mode and it’s not saving or transmitting some of the data, but it still is doing a lot of the normal communications with Google that you would if you weren’t using incognito mode. So it is not this completely Agnostic third-party view like a lot of people think that it is, and obviously, as you know that it is not, and that’s where there’s a bright local tool and there’s probably other ones out there. We’ve just used this bright local tool for forever. We use bright local for a lot of other things, really trust them as a company and If you just do a check for you know website ranking checkers or things like this I’m sure there’s some other ones out there. We’re not trying to right local here, but it’s great and Just gives you a little bit more confidence if things are going good or bad, to kind of make those decisions. So All right, and we’ll link to that in the show notes for everybody.

If you do a Google search just for bright local search results checker, something like that, you should. You should find it as well. So Hopefully that helps everybody out, maybe debunking a little bit for some people out there and providing a little bit insight on how Some of this does work. Again, we’ll just repeat, at the end of the day, the searching you do on your own website or even others to check the results, check the ranking, even if you’re clicking on your site, you’re not gonna be impacting Positively or negatively. You’re not gonna be impacting the ranking of your website for the rest of the world to see. So check away. You know better to know than do not know. All right, soon Bob anything else you had.

Sue:
Well, I will add if you remember one thing, and one thing only, remember this Googling your own business will not impact your business showing up when others search for your services or your business online. There are plenty of reasons why different people googling your business will get different results. The business owners searching for your own business is not one of them.

Jesse:
Absolutely All right, Sue, thanks for hanging out, even though you’re in a bit of a funky place compared to usual for this episode. Bob, good to see you, as always as well. Technical difficulties aside, I think this was a good topic for everybody and hopefully shed some light on that. So Thanks for hanging out, you too, everybody else. Thanks for joining us on this episode, and we’ll catch in the next one, take care.

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