Search engine results appear to be wrong

If Sitebeam reports different results from what you see in Google, Yahoo, etc. you should read this page.

Possible explanations, listed in descending order of likelihood:

Your Homepage URL is wrong

The Homepage web address you enter when you test the website will be tested to see if the domain matches what is found in Google. E.g. if you tested www.yahoo.co.uk and uk.yahoo.co.uk (together, as one website), Sitebeam will only look for www.yahoo.co.uk in search results. Where your site is split over several domain names, ensure the most important one is first.

You have been comparing personalised search results

Some search engines have started to personalise search results, tending to show individuals results which are customised based on their browsing history. As a result, you may see your favourite sites appearing higher on your own search engine than others. An easy way to check for this is to use another computer, or clear the cookies from your web browser. In these cases, Sitebeam is reporting the correct ‘default’ results.

Sitebeam tested at a different time from you

Results can change quickly, and at the time of testing you might have been somewhere else. Two people can use Google at the same time on different computers and get different results (Google itself serves results from different webservers, and so results can fluctuate). Most of the time this is just ‘normal’. If your results are slightly out (e.g. Sitebeam says I’m #3, I see I’m #2) this is very likely.

Sitebeam tested at a different location from you

Sitebeam runs tests in the UK. Some search engines may show different results based entirely upon this, even though we ‘instruct’ them to give us results from the location you request.

A search engine has changed how it presents results

Sometimes a search engine will change the way it returns results. In these cases, Sitebeam may need an upgrade to understand the new format of their results. This is extremely rare but can happen. If you suspect this, please contact us with details of what you were testing.

Further reading

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