SEO Questions – Why Do I See Different Google Results Than My Clients?

by: Rob Sullivan

Having been in this industry for as long as I have, I often forget some of the basics. Well, it’s not that I forget, it’s just that I assume that everyone else in the industry has the same knowledge level as I do.

So when I get a “newbie” asking a question like “Why are my Google results different than my clients” I have to take a step back and realize that we aren’t all equal.

Therefore in this article I’m going to answer this one seemingly simple question. While it may be simple to those of us “in the know” this isn’t always the case with others.

One of the scariest things you can do as a new SEO is talk to a client. That’s because you are always worried that they are going to ask you a question that’s over your head. And while you can fake your way through some questions when you are new, there are some that just stump you.

Of course even the greenest of most SEO’s usually know more then their clients so you don’t often have to fake an answer. Of course I would never advocate faking it. When I don’t know, I’ve found the best thing you can say is “I don’t know, let me find out and I’ll get back to you.”

And that’s just what happened the other day. A new person came to me and said “I had a client who saw different Google results than I did, and I didn’t know what to tell them.”

So let me give you the answer I gave him.

Google, like all the other engines, is comprised of literally tens of thousands of servers. Each server is part of a larger cluster of computers. Each cluster forms part of a datacenter. Each datacenter then acts as an independent branch of Google.

These datacenters are found all over the US. For the longest time Google only had about 13 data centers that served all the results to the world. Now the number is estimated at around 80.

While some of these data centers are used for pre-testing results (for example, testing a new algorithm out before moving it to the main data centers) most are used just to deal with the load that Google receives every day.

These data centers are dispersed throughout the US in geographically specific areas. They have done this so that queries are served to the data center nearest to the user.

For example, while there are a large number of data centers on the eastern coast, a person searching from San Francisco will likely be served their search results from a data center near them, such as an Oregon or California data center.

It is because of the differences in these data centers that someone searching in New York will see different results than someone in Los Angeles.

It is reasonable to think that each data center acts somewhat independently of the others. That means that their update schedules are different as are their crawling schedules. One can even assume that the algorithm changes which affect the index happen at different times as well.

This accounts for why there are differences in search results. Because of Google’s perpetually updating index, the results you see near you may be similar to results in other data centers but ultimately different.

This could be due to how the crawlers retrieve sites – a crawler may find a site closer to it more easily and therefore add it to the index sooner than a geographically far away crawler would find the same site.

For example, a site in Vancouver, Canada may appear in the California data center days before the eastern data centers. Because this site would be added to the west data center sooner, it will have an impact on the search results returned sooner.

Consider it like the ripples you see in the water when you drop a rock into a pond. If you drop just one rock, you see the ripples move out from where you dropped it. However, if you drop 2 rocks close to each other and at slightly different times you see how the ripples interact with each other when they meet.

The index changes reflect this type of interaction. One site can have a subtle but noticeable effect on the index. Yet the effects aren’t noticed across all data centers at the same time. We can also see the changes in the index grow over time, so that one Vancouver site’s effect grows over time, but the effect is different across the data centers because changes happening with other sites also have an impact.

As you can see, this is why you will see different results across the data centers. It’s not necessarily because of one single event. Like SEO itself, it’s a culmination of smaller events which cause the noticeable differences.

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I received one of the most fantastic phone calls today [while on the way to get my daughter from preschool] from my attorney!  My paperwork came back from the government that my “second child” aka Shine Fertility was officially a non-profit organization.  Whoot whoot – I was ecstatic!!!  I told my daughter (the motivation for this… Read more »


Has been an essential part of my own journey thru IVF treatments

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this was bound to happen and provides kids with the actual tools they need to get ahead in the world of tomorrow, we just need to spread access and ensure they receive real info and not pseudo science online

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Focusing Your Online Advertising Tactics.

Onе оf уоur fіrѕt mаrkеtіng соnѕіdеrаtіоnѕ nееdѕ tо bе whеrе уоur аd ѕhоuld gо. Whеn uѕіng аn оnlіnе аррrоасh, уоu nееd tо lооk аt whісh wеbѕіtеѕ уоur tаrgеt аudіеnсе іѕ vіѕіtіng. Thеn уоu nееd tо fіnd оut hоw muсh trаffіс thеу аrе rесеіvіng, thеіr аudіеnсе dеmоgrарhісѕ, аnd thеіr unіquе vіѕіtоr ѕсоrе. Yоu wіll аlѕо wаnt tо knоw thе ѕіtе’ѕ bоunсе rаtе, whісh іѕ thе реrсеntаgе оf vіѕіtоrѕ thаt lеаvе а ѕіtе rаthеr thаn vіеwіng оthеr раgеѕ. Thе аvеrаgе bоunсе rаtе іѕ аbоut 40% tо 55%; аnуthіng аbоvе thіѕ іѕ аn іndісаtіоn thаt thе ѕіtе јuѕt іѕn’t еngаgіng еnоugh tо рrоmоtе vіеwеr іntеrеѕt. Onlіnе аdvеrtіѕіng іѕn’t аbоut јuѕt рісkіng а ѕіtе thаt lооkѕ gооd, іt rеquіrеѕ саrеful еxаmіnаtіоn оf thе ѕіtе’ѕ аnаlуtісѕ tо еnѕurе thаt уоur аd іѕ rеасhіng уоur tаrgеt mаrkеt.


In оrdеr fоr аn аd tо bе ѕuссеѕѕful, іt muѕt еngаgе уоur сuѕtоmеrѕ аnd соnvіnсе thеm tо mаkе а рurсhаѕе оr аt lеаѕt ѕееk mоrе іnfоrmаtіоn. Wеb uѕеrѕ оftеn ѕреnd vеrу lіttlе tіmе оn аnу gіvеn раgе bеfоrе сlісkіng tо thе nеxt, аnd аd-blосkіng ѕоftwаrе саn ѕtор уоur аd frоm gеttіng thrоugh аt аll. On thе оthеr hаnd, рrіnt mеdіа fоrсеѕ еngаgеmеnt frоm thе ѕtаrt bесаuѕе thе rеаdеr hаѕ tо рhуѕісаllу рісk uр thе nеwѕрареr оr mаgаzіnе аnd turn thе раgеѕ. Thе соnѕumеr іѕ mаkіng а соnѕсіоuѕ dесіѕіоn tо іntеrасt wіth thе ріесе.


Whеn іt соmеѕ tо оnlіnе рrоmоtіоn, ѕеttіng аnd mаіntаіnіng а lоw соѕt budgеt іѕ аn аdvаntаgе. If уоu hаvе thе tіmе уоu саn рrоmоtе уоur buѕіnеѕѕ fоr frее thrоugh ѕосіаl mеdіа, blоggіng, fоrumѕ, оr оnlіnе аrtісlе ѕubmіѕѕіоnѕ. Alѕо, уоu саn рurсhаѕе а ѕресіfіс numbеr оf аd іmрrеѕѕіоnѕ, whісh іѕ а сhаrgе fоr еасh thоuѕаnd tіmеѕ аn аd іѕ vіеwеd, оr уоu саn сhооѕе а рау реr сlісk mоdеl, whісh іѕ а сhаrgе bаѕеd оn аn асtuаl сlісk-thrоugh rаthеr thаn јuѕt а раgе vіеw. Althоugh рrіnt аdvеrtіѕіng саn bе mоrе еxреnѕіvе, а ѕіnglе аd hаѕ thе роtеntіаl tо еngаgе thоuѕаndѕ оf реорlе.


Intеrnеt аdѕ аrе mоrе оf а “nоw уоu ѕее thеm, nоw уоu dоn’t” аррrоасh; а quісk flаѕh bеfоrе thе еуеѕ аnd thеn thеу аrе gоnе. On thе оthеr hаnd, рrіnt аdѕ hаvе lоngеvіtу; аѕ lоng аѕ thе рublісаtіоn іѕ ѕtіll аrоund, thе аd hаѕ thе роtеntіаl tо bе ѕееn аgаіn аnd аgаіn. Thіnk аbоut уоur dосtоr’ѕ оffісе аnd hоw lоng ѕоmе оf thоѕе mаgаzіnеѕ hаvе bееn lуіng аrоund – а ѕіnglе аd іnvеѕtmеnt саn lаѕt fоr уеаrѕ.

If you’re looking for a cheap alternative to traditional expensive advertising methods then advertising on social media is your best bet. It’s easy to advertise on social media sites with little cost to you and a great learning curve.

Twitter Tactics

While it’s tempting to send a lot of advertising messages on websites such as Twitter you must be careful not to spam people. Your advertisement should be a part of the conversation you have on Twitter not the main even. You want to be seen as an expert in your field and a contributor to the discussion. This means that you should add links, video and other content that is useful to the reader and then add in your links to your blog or website every so often. This will keep your messages from being seen as spam. If you just spam your business on the site in a vain attempt to get buyers, this will backfire for you in a big way.  You need to be a contributor to the discussion first and then you can periodically add in your sales link. Never just send a sales link, as it simply won’t work.


A Facebook page is free and it can help promote your business. Make sure you create a lot of content for your Facebook page. You can add in videos, links, and photographs, which will help enhance your page for your readers. You might include some information about your business too and how it can benefit people. Make sure you also engage readers on your page and answer their questions. You don’t want to abandon your Facebook page you want it to be fresh and updated as much as possible.


Google+ isn’t a popular as Facebook but its gathering steam. You sold create a Google+ page in addition to your Facebook page. You should take advantage of Google+ Local as you can advertise your business sin your local area and tell people more about you. Google+ Local also allows people to review your business which can be helpful.

There are other sites such as LinkedIn which you can use. LinkedIn is perfect for business to business communications and it’s more for professionals than just average social media users so it’s a good site to talk about and advertise your business.

Be Active and Engage Don’t Always Sell

On social media you need to be active and you have to engage readers. Make sure you provide them with good content and not just sales messages. If you are just going to be salesman and make pitches then social media is not going to work for you. The whole idea is to answer questions, provide solutions, and be an engaging personality on these sites and then the sales will come if you promote your link periodically. You want to be seen as that expert in your field or niche but not that annoying pitch person for some company.

Social media can help you make sales if you use it in the right way. Think engagement and content first and then sales will naturally come from that.

Jennifer Yaniz Chicago Internet Marketing