Don’t Do It: Googling Yourself

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I know.

I know how it feels. You want to see yourself on the search result page. You want to see your ad. You want to see your brand. And you probably want to check up on whether what your agency is telling you is true, or that what you’re paying for is working.

The good news is: you’re not alone. This is how everyone feels. However, you shouldn’t google your own business. If you do, what you will see will not be an indicator of anything other than Google’s extremely curated experience it builds, just for you, in that instant.

But wait, you say. I will search in incognito mode! That will show me search results that don’t know me, and are completed in a vacuum, and they will be an exact representation of how my ad campaign or organic content campaign is working!

This is also wrong, because Google will still create an incredibly tailored experience based on what device you’re searching on, where you happen to be conducting the search from in that very second, what time of day it is, and (literally) millions of other factors. The truth is, it is impossible to simulate a search experience that is remotely representative of the average search experience of your potential audience,

because you don’t actually want to buy something from yourself,

and did not arrive at the instance of searching for your own business in a way that is representative of how an actual potential customer would.

So, we have established that it isn’t possible for you to learn anything useful from googling your own business. That should be reason enough for you to not do it. Cool.

Or, actually, one more thing: it is bad enough that you won’t learn anything real or useful from googling your own business, but you will actually degrade your own brand’s organic search rankings and ad account performance.

It’s true! Google’s ranking software, RankBrain, before anything else, respects and amplifies relevance. It learns something new with every single search. So if you google your own stuff and don’t click on your links, you teach RankBrain that it showed you your business by mistake and that the results it showed you weren’t relevant. This will instruct RankBrain to make your business show up less for people like you, and at this time of day, and from your geography - and that goes for all of those factors separately AND in conjunction with each other.

If you are actively running ads through the Google network, googling your own business can affect ad performance. When you do this, you are faced with 2 bad choices if your ad appears:

  1. You can click the ad, proving relevance for the search but costing you money for that click and, by not following through to actually purchasing or completing the desired conversion, you dilute signals that machine learning software uses to find good paying customers for your business.

  2. If you don’t click the ad, you are effectively signaling Google that the ad – YOUR ad – is not relevant for the search you made for YOUR business.

And while your Google Ads campaign might totally be working properly, your ad might not show up for you no matter how hard you try, again because of that whole “instantaneously generated search experience” thing. You may not be included in the targeting, or your ads might not trigger because they are limited by budget.

So, in short: don’t google yourself. Don’t do it. I know you want to, but absolutely nothing good can come of it.

(So don’t.)