Getting Consistent Search Results

Something that is rarely talked about is consistency between organic search results served to different users. This is a very real challenge for SEO, especially a company like ours that helps others rank in Google.
Let’s start out by illustrating a couple of examples we’ve seen here this past week.

Example #1
One of our clients is looking to rank for the term Texas Driving Record. He has a brand new site and was nowhere in the top 1000 results. After both on page and off page SEO work for a couple of weeks, he shows up at #150. Nowhere near page 1, but it’s a start. But here is where it gets interesting… Depending on which Google data center you happen to hit when you search, he shows up as high as #1 on page 1. We’ve seen that on one of the PCs at the office and even the client saw it briefly on his system. It’s been out of sync like this for over a week now.

Example #2
Humankind has flown below the radar for years and we figured it’s time to raise our profile a bit. Having a large focus on SEO, we should probably rank for our “buying keywords” to show that we can do for ourselves what we do for others. So a couple of weeks back we relaunched this site and then a bit later started some SEO work in between clients. We now show the exact same problem as #1 – Google has us between page 1 and page 3 for all of our terms, but it randomly shows different results for the user.

Unfortunately this type of synchronization issue is something we have to live with. Google makes algorithm changes daily and they spin up test platforms that we unknowingly hit all the time. I get a feeling it’s more than usual since in the past this sync issue lasts a couple of days and not a week, but I don’t have empirical data to back that feeling up.

This type of sync issue does impact our clients who count on keywords to drive traffic, of course. One client is expecting 3-4000 visitors from their collection of keywords over the month of December. We just hope that Google doesn’t start dancing their search results down on the majority of the servers costing clicks. It also makes it harder to track progress since our monitoring tools see things differently than our PCs and the client’s PCs.

All this said, we love what we do and love the constant challenge of staying one step ahead of the game. This is a virtual cloak and dagger game and we love being the guy making the pieces move where we want them to go.