Monitoring Your Employees’ Performance While Maintaining Healthy Working Relations

When your small business takes on employees, you’ll soon begin to realize that there’s an extremely thin line between being overly strict and overly familiar with your staff. Veering over into either of these categories can make things extremely difficult and unproductive in the workplace. Think about it. If you’re severe and unfair with your staff, they will feel under appreciated, and as though you lack faith in their potential, performance, and professional abilities. This will result in the loss of staff to competitor companies and low morale in your workplace. Your company may also begin to gain a bad name for itself as an employer. On the other hand, if you are too lenient with workers, they may become overly comfortable and start using work time as play time. They will respond negatively to warnings or other forms of management, either not taking them seriously, or claiming you are being unjust for expecting certain levels of respect. So, how do you monitor your employees’ performance in the workplace without making them feel spied on while ensuring that everyone doesn’t run riot? Read on to find out!

Establishing an HR Department

If your company is large enough to take on employees, it’s large enough to have some form of HR department. This can be managed by you, a single designated employee, or (if you expand sufficiently) a dedicated HR team. Making it someone’s job to manage and handle employee relations means that people are more likely to take resource and employee issues seriously. You should also ensure that your HR department has the necessary equipment and software to monitor staff members’ records. Specialist hr management software streamlines people management, allowing HR members to accurately manage absences, plan shifts, and store and access employees’ personal records. This means that trends in behavior and performance can be identified and addressed, whether positive or negative.

Reward Rather than Punish

Punishing employees for failing to meet targets or over perform is a negative approach to take. At the end of the day, as long as they are fulfilling the terms of their contract, you can’t expect anything more. Punishment can negatively affect your staff members’ self-confidence and loyalty towards you as an employer. They are also likely to make less effort to achieve. So avoid scolding or shaming your workers. If problems arise, take the time to consult them and get to the root of the problem. Chances are that things can easily be rectified. Remember that it is your role as an employer to reward particularly positive behavior. If an employee goes beyond the call of duty, or receives a positive review or recommendation from a customer, show them your appreciation. This can be something as simple as a word of thanks, or perhaps you can give them some sort of small bonus. A little goes a long way. This also gives staff an incentive to work harder! If they see a colleague being rewarded, they are likely to start trying to exceed expectations too.

Remember, your workers are the backbone of your company. So make sure that they feel appreciated for all of their efforts. However, avoid becoming overly soft. You need to maintain your role as a manager and leader in the workplace in order to maintain control and see positive results.


Self Employment Secrets: This One Key Element Is Crucial To Your Success

Thanks to the massive growth of the internet and an improvement in technology, many of us are now able to escape the rat race and working for big corporations and instead work for themselves instead. Whether you’re a blogger, freelancer or run a business from home– you get the benefit of having no commute, working on something you’re passionate about and being your own boss.

And of course, there’s all of the flexibility that brings. But there’s one key thing that can be the difference between success and failure when you work for yourself, and surprisingly it’s a simple home office. Here are some of the reasons why having a good home office is so important.

It Separates Work From Home

Working for yourself can be incredibly freeing, you don’t have to answer to anyone but yourself, and you can work your business around other commitments. However, when you and you alone are responsible for success or failure, it’s easy for your work day to turn into every minute you’re not asleep. This of course isn’t healthy, and can quickly lead to burnout. It’s far better to set your working day and stick to it.

Having an office helps to separate ‘work’ and ‘home’ which can be tricky to do otherwise. At the end of each working day, close the door to your office and be done with it until the next. suggest that people who set their own working hours report better job satisfaction, so while this can be tricky to get right in the beginning it’s a definite benefit to self employment. You’ll find that when you give yourself chance to rest and recuperate you go back to work feeling far more productive.

It Allows You To Stay Organised

Staying organised is crucial when you work for yourself. You need to keep good records for tax purposes, you need to ensure paperwork is filed correctly so you can access it when needed and you need your equipment to be tidy, so your working day runs as smoothly as possible. Having your own separate office helps to keep all of your work related documents and equipment separate from your personal life.

Nothing gets damaged or lost as it’s kept away from everyone else in the family and it prevents you from making costly mistakes due to misplaced information. Organizing expert Peter Walsh on states the best file systems are color-coded as we recognize visual clues faster than labels, so something to bear in mind when you’re setting up your storage.

It Means You Have a Professional Place For Meetings

Does your work involve collaborating with others? In the case of tutoring, you might have customers come directly to your home. Either way, having your own office space looks more professional and means you can invite people in without any distractions. Maintaining a professional image is crucial when you run your own business, even a small home business.

If you don’t have people coming directly to your home for your work, one way you can look more credible is to set up a mailing address; companies like can provide you with a real office address as well as a mail forwarding service. Since all of your mail can be scanned, uploaded and sent to you, it means you’re not being bogged down with excessive paperwork too.

It Gives You a Quiet Space to Work

Finally, a quiet space to work is always going to be necessary when you work for yourself. Without distractions, you can power through and get through all of your tasks as quickly and efficiently as possible.


Watch Out! For Techy Trip-Ups

There are many places which be able to inform you of the numerous mistakes that they have made regarding their technology. Regardless of what item it is, there will have been a blip somewhere along the way. It doesn’t even have to be physical; it can be something integrated well within it. As such, this is something that definitely needs to be watched out for when developing software for your business. This is the one thing that you don’t want to trip up on.

Make Sure It’s Usable

Whenever you are making an application or software design of any sort, you need to ensure that you are creating one that is user-compatible. This isn’t so easy for some people, especially those who are more code than creativity; it may therefore be time to outsource some work to the professionals who dedicate their lives to designing interfaces for companies just like yours.

There are many sites available for you to visit in which you are able to find the people that can help you get it to the state that it needs to be in. Look for something that is easily navigable, sleek and brand-focused and that can engage your customers to invest time in your business.

Keep It Bug-Free

There are a lot of things that are available to go wrong with your software. The main thing that you need to look out for are bugs, glitches and anything which is stalling or lagging what you have got to offer. Ideally, you need to look for functional testing types on sites such as in order to see whether your application is compatible with the users who are logging on.

There are so many things which could be going wrong under cover of what you can actually see. The better the testing that you invest in, the more you will be able to see what’s acting out or line and correct it before anything even more untoward happens.

Get Feedback

The best thing that you can do in order to avoid even more technical failings is to get as much feedback as you can gather. Whether this is from friends, family or those who are using your software on a regular basis, this is all information that you need to be able to progress your developings further. There are even reports that you can get sent from the software of those who have accepted to agree to the terms and conditions of letting such information come back to you.

It is these data reports, which can be researched further at, that you definitely need to act on as soon as possible in order to enhance what work needs to be done. As long as you keep your eye on what’s going on, there shouldn’t be many more problems than this – but it’s all a keepy-uppy game, just without the football, in some cases. Being ever-watchful and expectant of things going wrong is definitely the way to stay one step ahead.

In a Smartphone Dependent World, Your Business Needs an App

If you’ve been staring at the desktop version of your site, wondering how you can tinker it to get even better results, then you might want to look away now, because: desktop web traffic is on the decline, and mobile traffic is soaring. As a business, you need to follow wherever the people are going, and they’re going toward mobile pretty quickly. You should absolutely already have a mobile version of your website (if you don’t, do it NOW), but how about a mobile app? More and more companies are releasing apps, and you should too. It’ll open up a whole new world of possibility.

Make it User-Friendly

Your app won’t exist for your business; it’ll be for your customers, both present, and potential. Everything about your app should be built with them in mind. There might be a few details you need to incorporate for your own benefit (such as sign up sheets), but even these things should be with an eye on the customer, so as to ensure they’re handled properly. A smooth design, easy to use interface, and reliability should be your three main starting points.

Outside Help and Your Skills

You’ll be able to have a say, of course, in the development of your app, but it’s important that you play up to your skills, and let the experts take care of the actual development. You’ll have an idea of the kind of language and images you need to include for your customers, and they’ll know how to put all your ideas into something that’ll work on a smartphone. It’s all about balancing your skills and those with the technical know-how.

Works Perfect, Every Time

There are many things that can put a user off an app. Annoying popups, invasive notifications, and unnecessary menus are just three examples. Few will make people hit the delete button faster than an app that simply doesn’t work. Before launching, make sure your app is thoroughly tested for bugs and has the code it needs to be flawless when people are using it. This means having strong exception handling and making sure that it can run smoothly without lag. If an app runs perfect, your customers will be comfortable using it again and again.

Start Small

When you initially launch your app, you might consider doing so on just one mobile platform, iOS or Android. Doing so will give you the time to iron out any kinks before you launch for all mobile users. You might also want to consider offering the app to select customers to see whether they enjoy it or not.

Measure the Results

Once you’re launched proper, you should always be keeping one eye on the performance of your app. There’ll be plenty of data available, which should inform any small tweaks you want to make to the app. For example, if people aren’t using one particular part of the app, it might be worth deleting it. In any case, understanding what’s going on will help you move your app forward in the future.


Steps To Become A Better Graphic Designer

There isn’t, or at least shouldn’t be, a single graphic designer on earth who thinks that he or she can’t get better at what they do. If you adopt this attitude, then you’ll stop in your tracks, and risk falling behind the competition. Whether it’s through technology or elements of style, you’ll need to work at improving your skillset. Here are some of the best ways to improve your skills as a graphic designer…

Start a Personal Project

This is one for all those people who are already working a steady job as a graphic designer. If the usual grind of work is stifling your progress, then breaking out of the routine could be a great way to improve your skills. Come up with some kind of personal project that you know will give you satisfaction, and then set to work on it. Maybe you want to take inspiration from some other designer whose style doesn’t fit in with what your boss wants, or simply try your hand at a more minimalist or extravagant style. Whatever it is, personal projects are an effective and enjoyable way to become a better designer.

Learn a New Skill or Technique

Learn a New Skill or Technique

Developing any skill, whether it’s creative or otherwise, is all about getting out of your comfort zone. Sure, you may be competent at what you do now, but seen as you’re reading this, I’m sure you don’t want that to be the limit of your abilities. Every now and then, make a point of breaking your mould, and trying out some kind of new technique you’re interested in. Perhaps you want to be better at blending images with other graphics, using creative pathways in Photoshop, or adapting to a tablet rather than a desktop. Whatever you want to master, practice makes perfect!


For a lot of creatives, it can be easy to get too wrapped up in our own work, and forget about everything that’s happening around us. Another great way of expanding your skill set is collaborating with another graphic designer. This has the potential to expose you to new design tools, more efficient techniques, and inspirational finished projects. You just have to pay attention to what the other person is doing, and occasionally swallow your pride and ask them to guide you through something.

Challenge yourself with Goals

Challenge yourself with Goals

If you’re usually not in the habit of setting yourself firm, time-constrained goals in your design work, then you should have started yesterday! You may already be getting set milestones in your annual review at work, but you should still be looking to do this for yourself. Let’s say you were trying to hone a particular technique on Photoshop. Set yourself a goal to complete one large project using this technique per week, and mark the deadlines on a calendar that you’ll see often. Just make sure you’re pushing yourself, and setting constraints that it will be hard to meet. You’ll be surprised at just how much you can do when you’re giving yourself deadlines!


How to Properly Maintain Macs for a Business

How to Properly Maintain Macs for a Business

Nowadays Macs are becoming more and more popular in business environments – even outside of areas where they’ve conventionally been strong such as video and photo editing. The reason for that is simple: Macs are viewed as reliable and secure machines that will deliver strong performance levels over the long term.

While all that is certainly true, if you want your Macs to deliver on their promise then it is important that you properly maintain them. Don’t worry that isn’t as complicated as it sounds, and there are just a few easy tasks that you should perform:

Run Disk Utility

Within every Mac is a helpful tool called Disk Utility that can help you to check your hard drive for fragmentation as well as repair it. All you need to do is select your hard drive and use the ‘First Aid’ tab to check and repair it.

Check the Activity Monitor

If your Mac seems to be slower than you’re used to the first thing you should do is check the Activity Monitor to see if anything is using up its memory (i.e. RAM). In the Activity Monitor you can force any unnecessary apps to close, or just track down which apps are taking up memory and close them the normal way.

Remove unneeded login items

Did you know that your Mac automatically launches some apps whenever it is booted, and these apps tend to run in the background? Head over to your System Preferences then to Accounts and Login Items to see a list of what is being launched and remove anything you don’t need.

Update OS X regularly

Every OS X update contains numerous fixes for various bugs as well as vulnerabilities. If you are using your Mac for business purposes, it is important that you update it regularly so that you aren’t exposed.

Reboot the Mac periodically

Although Macs can run for weeks on end without rebooting – that isn’t necessarily good for it. If you’re one of the many people who rarely ever reboot their Mac, try to get in the habit of doing so at least once a week – if not more frequently.

Free up space on your hard drive

It is never a good idea to let your Mac’s hard drive get too full – as that will impact its performance. Try to clean out any unnecessary junk files from your Mac regularly, and also uninstall apps that aren’t being used.

As you can see there’s nothing too hard about any of that – though you may need a little bit of help from Mac cleaning software. On that front Movavi Mac Cleaner will be all that you need really as it will automatically scan and find any junk files then let you delete them in just a single click.

On top of that Movavi Mac Cleaner will let you free up even more space with its ‘Uninstaller’ by tracking down leftovers from apps and deleting them as well as removing any apps you no longer need. It also includes a ‘Shredder’ to delete confidential files, as well as its own antivirus and firewall to protect your Mac.

All in all if you want to keep your Mac in tip top condition, Movavi Mac Cleaner should help you to do that quite conveniently. Give it a try and you’ll see how easy it makes it to clean your Mac, free up space, and keep it well-maintained for your business.

Make-Sure-People-Download-Your-Mobile App

Make Sure People Download Your Mobile App – Use SEO!

At this point, it should come as absolutely no surprise to you that search engine optimization is vital for any business looking to improve digital marketing and exposure. Anyone who tells that that SEO is dead simply isn’t living in the same reality as the rest of us!

It also shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that a mobile app can help your business tremendously. This isn’t quite as universal a truth as ‘SEO is vital’, sure. But there’s simply no denying that mobile apps have helped many businesses when it comes to customer connectivity and engagement.

There are certainly businesses that benefit more from mobile apps than others. But the need for a small business to have a mobile app is actually quite large. Many small businesses will simply struggle without an app.

Of course, what’s the use of creating a mobile app if no-one is actually going to use it? And this is where I’m going to refer you back to the first paragraph of this article. A lot of people forget that SEO can be just as crucial to the success of a mobile app as it is to your regular website and business at large.

Let’s take a look at the ways in which SEO and mobile apps interact.

The quality of the app itself

The Quality of the App itself

Good SEO depends on strong quality. Many naysayers claim that SEO is all about clickbait and empty backend solutions that don’t benefit users. But this isn’t true.

So the quality of your app is crucial to SEO success. If a mobile app is highly rated, then it’s more likely to appear on the first page of search results. The more popular it is, and the fewer complaints about functionality problems, the more hits you’ll eventually get from search engines. This is why it’s so important that your mobile application development process is so strong.

The App Directory page

So where do people actually download apps from? App stores, of course – stores that are actually apps themselves. But did you know that the vast majority of people get to those app stores via Google?


You need to remember that every app entry in store apps have a corresponding webpage. Take a look at the web version of Google Play, for example. This is where most people end up clicking through to download apps. And what appears on the webpage of your app is up to you. With this in mind, the way SEO can help link people to your app becomes quite clear. You have to start implementing SEO techniques into the copy of the webpage.

Your brand name has to feature prominently in the app title and in the descriptive copy. The description text needs to include relevant keywords that will result in the page featuring prominently in search results. Making sure there are links to your own website to strengthen legitimacy and social proof is also vital.

Remember that it’s also possible to make SEO goofs in this area. In fact, the webpage can be more sensitive to bad SEO than regular websites. So take care!

We would love to hear your own experiences of using SEO to promote your mobile applications. Please leave us a comment and share your experiences with us.

Questions To Ask Before You Outsource Your SEO

Questions To Ask Before You Outsource Your SEO

It is no longer a great secret just how effective SEO can be. If you want your website to draw in more traffic, then this has become an almost essential step which you must take. If you are in charge of your own small business, it is definitely something you cannot overlook. For most small businesses just starting out, it is a good idea to start with local SEO. This alone can help your business along massively in the early days. Most people usually decide, at this point, that it might be better to outsource their SEO to a third party. Typically, this is a sound idea and is likely to save both money and time. Nonetheless, it is not something that should be rushed. If you are about to outsource your SEO, then take a look at this first. Here are some top questions you should ask before you outsource your SEO.

What Does Success Look Like?

This first question is both something you need to ask yourself, and something you need to ask the seo reseller. It is essential that you get a clear idea of what success looks like from the outset. As long as you and the reseller can agree on this, you know you are reading from the same page. When this is not discussed in full from the outset, it means that you basically don’t know what you are getting into. Asking this question is the best way to begin your business’ relationship with the SEO reseller.

What Content Will Be Created?

All SEO relies upon the creation of decent content. That much should be clear to all involved, but it is something which needs discussing early on. You need to make sure that the third party SEO experts are clear on what you expect from the content. Great SEO draws in people with the right keywords while providing fascinating articles. As long as you are only satisfying one or the other, your SEO is not really doing its job. Make sure the reseller is clear on what you want from your content first.

Will There Be Any Further Help?

There are plenty of outsource firms out there, and they do tend to differ quite dramatically. On the one hand, you have those who merely offer start-up services and then leave you to it. On the other hand, you have those companies which take you through everything step by step. There is no right or wrong way, of course, as it all depends on your business’ own needs. Nonetheless, it is a good idea to get a clear response straight away. That way, you can be sure of what exactly to expect. This is likely to help you avoid any disappointment further down the line.

Is There A Good Track Record?

When you outsource anything, SEO included, you are placing a part of your business in the hands of another. As such, it is perfectly understandable to want to be sure of that business. There is therefore no harm in asking them what their track record is like. Asking this question is one of the best ways of ensuring that you protect your business.


Computers In Business: Are You Maximizing Your Potential?

There’s no denying it: we live in a digital age. From a business perspective, embracing the modern culture is essential if you want the company to thrive. After all, if you can’t beat them, join them.

In 2016, it’s almost impossible to find a venture that doesn’t utilize those computing facilities in one shape or form. However, it’s even harder to locate one that is seeing the full benefits of what those digital communications can bring.

Regardless of your industry, computer systems can become the heartbeat of your entire business. Follow the tips below to maximize the impact, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly your company reaches the next level. Let’s get started.

office security


When it comes to business, safety comes first. Modern tech can be used to protect your staff, customers and assets alike. As such, it should be the very first item on your agenda. Even if some of the items won’t come into place until you’ve made other investments, possessing the right strategy now is vital.

Using wireless CCTV can boost the protection of your business premises. However, it’s equally important to think about virtual security too. Keeping data safe through the right firewalls and antivirus software is essential. Meanwhile, you’ll want to be sure that passwords aren’t easy to guess either.

Security needs to be a 24/7 job, which is why many companies benefit from outsourced IT. Protection is far from being the only advantage of using external experts. However, knowing that your business is safe from attacks is key. Similarly, avoiding potential lengthy outages will ensure that you’ll see greater productivity.

Perhaps most importantly, this will help you build trust from the clients. Without this, you’ll be destined for failure. For that reason alone, attending to this issue should be a priority for all modern companies. Do not forget it.


Team Assembly

Every entrepreneur should understand that teamwork makes the dream work. Employees are your most valuable asset, and if computer tech can help you gain more from them, you should grab the opportunity with both hands.

Online facilities can allow you to hire freelancers for a specific job. This can reduce staffing costs as well as equipment expenses. Meanwhile, using internet communications for posting and filling full-time vacancies can work wonders too.

To see the full benefits, you need to be sure that employees are trained in using those modern facilities too. Aside from ensuring that they perform better, it will help the entire group follow standardized practices too. After all, operating as a cohesive unit can only have a positive impact on proceedings.

Either way, a stronger team will drive your business to far greater results. Embracing computer tech to unlock those possibilities is a must. It will be great news for your employees, your business, and your personal endeavors. What more incentive could you ever need?



Using computers to build a great team will provide a solid foundation. However, it’s equally important that those facilities actively promote greater productivity. It’s not a difficult equation; the more you put in, the more you’ll get out.

Advanced computer tech can transform offices into well-oiled machines. Using the latest and greatest software can speed up various admin processes. Whether it’s using Excel spreadsheets to manage data or accounting packages doesn’t matter. Time is money, and making the most of those facilities can only be a step in the right direction.

Organization is a key element of any business operation. This is especially true when dealing with both online and offline sales. Managing your inventory with automated computer systems will make life a whole lot easier. Better still, it will prevent the embarrassment of selling items that don’t exist. Refunding a customer because an item is sold out could potentially sever all ties.

Greater productivity will lead to increased profitability. In turn, this will inevitably accelerate your growth too. But as well as having the right software, just remember to keep your computers in great health. There’s nothing more frustrating than waiting for faulty hardware to complete those processes.


Everything you do in business should essentially be geared towards increasing your customer numbers. A larger client base will bring a greater volume of sales. But before converting those sales, you need to gain interest from the customers. Given that we live in a digital age, it should come as no surprise that computer technology can be your secret weapon.

Even if the business doesn’t take online purchases, your audience almost certainly uses the internet on a daily basis. A well-designed website can become your greatest marketing tool, especially when you use a blog to keep readers coming back for more. Building familiarity with the brand can help you generate sales both online and offline. Moreover, it’s another factor that can help build trust.

Gaining the full benefits of embracing the digital world should be your goal. Therefore, you must also capitalize on opportunities gained from external platforms. Improving your visibility on Google can give the company a more professional vibe. More importantly, it will be seen by more people, which should lead to more visitors. Assuming the website and core features of the business are fine, this should help generate far greater revenue.

And if you can get people to leave positive reviews of your business, either on your site or others, do it. Those words could have a huge influence on the decisions of others. If it converts interest into sales, this could be the most important element of all.


First and foremost, computer technologies were built as a communication tool for business. If you aren’t using your facilities to perfect the links throughout your operation, you’re making a mistake. Changing this should be one of the key items on your to-do list.

video conferencing

By now, you should be aware that cloud computing can help productivity. But it’s also a great way to encourage better collaboration and ensure that every member of your team is working as a collective unit. If the staff is split over several locations, video conferencing is another door that computers can open. Either way, a team that works together will always produce far greater outcomes. Better still, it should ensure that the customers receive a consistent service too.

Ultimately, keeping the customers happy should be one of the chief priorities. Interaction is a crucial concept, and using computer technology is key. Social media platforms like Twitter can be a great way to offer customer care on a 24/7 basis. Adding Live Chat facilities to your website is another fantastic solution. If it helps you provide the best service possible, you should not ignore it.

Greater communication will promote increased confidence from the client. In turn, this can boost your hopes of repeat business significantly. Giving them a better insight into the personality of your brand by using Periscope and other cool features can help build excitement. If that doesn’t boost your chances of turning a profit, nothing will.

Financial Control

It’s difficult to run a business without focusing heavily on the chase for revenue. However, all company owners need to appreciate that your expenses have a massive impact on your overall finances. Essentially, if you want to gain maximized profits, you must make the operation cost-effective.

Online price comparison sites can be a godsend. Whether it’s insuring a fleet of business vehicles or finding cheaper energy rates, those savings will make a difference. If you’re going to borrow money, learning about crowdfunding and loan alternatives is vital too.

Another top trick is to find guides and tutorials. In many cases, cutting out the middle man to complete tasks yourself can be a great way to lower those monthly overheads.

Income and savings

In many situations, it is possible to gain help from governing bodies and business schemes. Whether it’s making the office more eco-friendly or gaining relief on loans, a few hours of research could save you thousands.

Secondary Income

As a business, using computer technology to maximize your core incentives should always be the main aim. However, those facilities can also earn secondary forms of revenue. Quite frankly, you’d be a fool to overlook the benefits that it can bring.

In addition to being a fantastic marketing tool, social media can earn you money. Monetizing a YouTube channel through adverts is easy while Google Ads will generate funds through your website too. Likewise, Instagram and other social media platforms can be utilized to gain additional costs too.

Alternatively, if your company has expensive facilities that you don’t always use, they can be rented out. Whether it’s lending filming equipment, office essentials or other items doesn’t matter. There will always be a demand for those products on the internet. You could be earning money for old rope.

Ok, those additional funds aren’t going to be the difference between success and failure. Nonetheless, they can boost your cause, and it’s an opportunity that you should capitalize on. When combined with the core features above, your company won’t go far wrong.

All modern businesses should be using computer facilities to their full potential. Make the necessary upgrades immediately, and you will reap the long-term rewards.

Does Google Show the Same Search Results to Everyone?

You have optimized your website to perfection. It’s Google friendly, mobile friendly and user friendly at the same time. It’s perfect from a SEO point of view, with all keywords in place, and all links and schemas in order. You do a Google search on your own browser, and your website shows up on the first page. You’re happy to see that you didn’t work in vain. But when you go to a friend and do the same search, your website is nowhere to be found. You are desperate, thinking you did something wrong. Actually you did – you relied on your own browser for search results.

Google Personalized Search

Google Personalized Search is a feature introduced by the search giant in 2004 as a beta test, and rolled out to all users in 2009. It was integrated into normal Google search in 2011. But what does it do? Let me quote WikiPedia for an explanation:

All searches on Google Search are associated with a browser cookie record. Then, when a user performs a search, the search results are not only based on the relevance of each web page to the search term, but also on which websites the user (or someone else using the same browser) visited through previous search results.

To put it simply, if you search for Royal Vegas online casino as a registered user, or someone playing there a lot, it will appear further up in the search results than normal. The same goes for the website you build and optimize at home.

Your location

But Personalized Search is not the only thing with an influence on the search results you see. Today’s technology allows Google and other search engines to know your location – based on your IP address, or the fact that you allowed them to access it in your settings. This will alter the results any search engine you use will display depending on where you are, to serve you with more relevant results.

When you search for “restaurant”, “pizza”, “gym” or “taxi”, the search results displayed by your preferred search engine (usually Google) will be relevant to the place you are at. The reasons are obvious: someone in New York will not be interested in finding a restaurant in Bangkok, and a man standing in the pouring rain in London won’t want to find the number for a Yellow Cab from Brooklyn.

How to turn all these features off

To get a better idea about how your website actually ranks in Google’s results, simply do a search in a new window with a private browsing session. In Chrome, this is called “Incognito”, and you can access it by pressing CTRL+Shift+N, while in Firefox and Internet Explorer the shortcut key is CTRL+Shift+P. This way your Google account, your search history and your cookies will be ignored, and the search results you get will be as unbiased as possible.