For the last year, Google has been showing personalized search results– did you know that if you are logged in versus not, you’ll often see different search results? Thus, you may be thinking that you rank highly on a search term for you or your client– but really it’s because you search for that term all the time, skewing results. Just look in the upper right corner to see if it says “logged in”.
One way to handle this is to add “pws=0″(without the quotes) to the end of the search query. That’s a lot better than the drudgery of logging out to do searches and then having to log back in again. Try it!
Google is already personalizing search based on a whole bunch of factors, such as where you are, what your past search behavior was, and data from other Google services you use. Thus, the concept of ranking #1 doesn’t really make sense anymore. So what do we do now? We look at how much traffic we get, not what position we rank on.