For Chrome users: the advice in this post should take you two minutes to implement, and could save you loads of time.
How often have you wanted to search Google and see as ‘standard’ a set of results as possible, with no personalization, based on your location or search history?
It becomes even more necessary to do this when you’re trying to diagnose an issue, and want to see the kind of results that people in another location or country are seeing.
On Firefox, I’ve always been a fan of RedFly’s Google Global plugin, allowing you to quickly see search results from any country, with no personalized search results. But what about on Google Chrome?
A lot of what needs to be done can be achieved by adding new ‘search engines’ to the Chrome settings. This is a really powerful feature, and I want to show you how to use it to make your SEO life a little easier.
Adding New Search Engines
( You can click these images to zoom in)
Step 1: Click the ‘wrench’ icon, and then ‘Options’
Step 2: Next to your default search engine, click ‘Manage’ to see a list of the search engines available to Chrome
Step 3: Click ‘Add’ to create a new search engine, fill in the details (all the information about this is below) and then click ‘OK’. Optionally, you can make this your default search engine - it will then be used if you type search terms in the ‘omnibox’ or when you highlight words on a page, and right click to search for them.
The three attributes required are simply:
- Name: the name for this new search engine
- Keyword: allows you to access it direct from the omnibox; if I have Yandex set up with a keyword ‘yx’ then typing ‘yx hotels’ will perform that search on Yandex, rather than my default search engine
- URL: it should be clear that all ‘adding a new search engine’ really does is give you quick access to a particular type of URL. Add the URL of a search result page here, and use the placeholder %s to show where the query should be. (Chrome will do the job of converting spaces to + signs for you.)
Remove Personalized Search
OK, that’s how to add a new search engine; hopefully it’s already becoming clear how I use this.
To search Google without search personalizations, I simply use the following settings:
- Name: Google NP
- Keyword: gnp
- URL: http://www.google.com/search?pws=0&q=%s
The ‘pws=0’ parameter removes the search personalizations. I set this as my default, so all searches then return non-personalized results - or at least they’re not personalized based on my search history, though my location and other factors could still affect the results.
Quick Access to International Search
When we’re working with websites which have a presence in a number of countries, it’s convenient to be able to access localized SERPs quickly. The three key things to use here are:
- the tld of the Google site you’d like to search
- gl: to set the location you’d like to target with your search
- lr: if you’d like to restrict searches to a particular language (certain non-English versions of Google offer this option) - you can select from the list of supported languages
Here are examples of the setting used to get results from other countries:
For Google UK searches:
- Name: Google UK
- Keyword: guk
- URL: http://www.google.co.uk/search?pws=0&gl=uk&q=%s
For Google Spain searches:
- Name: Google ES
- Keyword: ges
- URL: http://www.google.es/search?pws=0&gl=es&q=%s
For Google Spain searches, in the Catalan language:
- Name: Google Catalan
- Keyword: gcat
- URL: http://www.google.es/search?pws=0&gl=es&lr=lang_ca&q=%s
This now allows me to use the shortcuts to to type things directly into the omnibox like:
- hotels (or ‘gnp hotels’): to see the non-personalized results for ‘hotels’ in my area
- guk pizza: to see the ‘pizza’ search results in the UK
- gcat estelada: to see pages about the ‘estadela’ in the Catalan language.
OK, it’s a simple tip, but it saves me loads of time, and doesn’t require any special plug-ins or add ons. I hope it’s as useful for you!