Time after time, I've seen happy excited posts in forums from people
anouncing that they are on the first page of Google for something. And
of course, they aren't.
Google customises its search results to try and find the 'best' results
for you. It looks at search history (cookies, your gmail account), your
location, any saved preferences (for e
xample, when logged in to google
-e.g. through Gmail, blogspot you can 'rank' search results). This means
google.co.uk may bring back different results to google.co.nz and when
you are signed in to Google, it will bring up your pages first - because
you visit them a lot.
The BEST way to check your Google rank, and to find out if you are first
on google or fiftieth, is to search without cookies or Gmail account, no
memory or personalisation, and no customising to your location. This is a
to do manually - delete cookies, log out, fresh browser, different
computer, and you still can't be sure.
What you need is Scroogle.
Scroogle is a way to check where your links are really
ranking on Google! Designed to be the ultimate private search, Scroogle
- no cookies
no search-term records
- the access log is deleted within 48 hours
All of which means that your search results are showing the 'accurate' Google ranking. Oh, and no ads!
Of course, Google customises its search fir everyone else too... so it may mean that no-one is seeing this result anyway.
Things You Will Need
Obviously you need an internet connection and to know where to find Scroogle. Oh, and a search term! But apart from that, here's a quick overview of the browsers Scroogle supports and the other options for private searches.
Scroogle Browser Support and Add-ons
Scroogle works in all the major browsers. But what if you want to use Scroogle every time?
There's a Scroogle SSL search Firefox
and a few ways to tweak the search settings for the other browsers.
Firefox - many Sherlock and
OpenSearch plugins (not tested)
Microsoft IE7 / IE8 - paste
http://www.scroogle.org/cgi-bin/nbbw.cgi?Gw=TEST in their box
Opera - Tools > Preferences
> Search > Add. Pick a new
keyword ( "x"? ) and for the "Address"
use http://www.scroogle.org/cgi-bin/nbbw.cgi?Gw=%s Now x search terms
should launch a search
Chrome - wrench > Options
> Default search Manage > Add.
Paste the URL shown for Opera,
or better yet, use https://ssl.scroogle.org/cgi-bin/nbbwssl.cgi?Gw=%s
(Chrome phones home a lot)
You can also encrypt your search terms on
insecure Wi-Fi or from browser monitoring with https://ssl.scroogle.org/
- "Ixquick HTTPS" which doesn't record your IP address
- GoogleSharing, and add-on that lets you connect to Google via a
- Duck Duck Go.
Here's a recent example to illustrate matters. "The cake is a lie and the poor cube had to die for it" is a recent reference to the awesome game Portal that popped up online recently - my page about the Companion Cube
started getting hits. So I added a bit, posted in the Squidu forum and then went and blogged about it a bit.
First off, you can see that I've now got something in the top three out of four spots. Second, daaaamn, Google loves Blogger; it hasn't even indexed the updates I made on my lens, and it has my blog post from seconds ago ahead of it. Third, my thread in the Squidu forum is up the top. Awesome!
Or is it?
A quick, paranoid, check in Scroogle shows that actually, the Squidu link is nowhere near the first page - it's only up there because I keep visiting it.
It works by scraping Google search results (technically illegal) from
http://www.google.com/ie, a service for Internet Explorer 6 users. When
IE6 was discontinued on May 5th. this did cause some problems for
Scroogle, but it's working again now. It may not be a permanent service,
but has been running a long time.
It was originally launched in 2003 for just this purpose, after a
Google search algorithm change, but Scroogle has since developed around
preserving privacy - it grabs
random cookies from Google, uses Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption to
hide your search terms and your results (the same thing that's used to
hide your credit card number when you pay online) and makes sure Google
never sees your IP address.
Tips & Warnings
"We don't know enough about you." -Google CEO Eric Schmidt
Make sure you go to Scroogle.org
not Scroogle.com or Scroogle.net - they are nothing to do with Scroogle, and are an adult porn movie site, and a generic ad domain squatter, respectively.