Do Incognito Searches Affect SEO Rankings?


Do Incognito Searches Affect SEO Rankings?

Many of us have a lot of questions about SEO rankings and whether incognito mode affects SEO ranking counts. 

First published in the Search Engine Journal, this question bothers many SEOs. 

A person names Tahmine in Kashan asks – 

“Does searching on incognito affect SEO ranking? We are searching from my workplace with a shared network, would it affect too?”

To get the appropriate answer to this question, first, we need to understand what happens when you access incognito mode? 

The purpose of incognito mode is to hide your history from other people using the same device as yours. Incognito mode doesn’t make you totally anonymous. 

In order to get totally anonymous, you may need a VPN and TOR, unsecured wifi and a copy of Tails Linux running on a virtual machine. 

Even though having access to an incognito mode, Google and Bing can still access your – 

IP Address 



So using incognito mode does not stop you from getting personalized results based on the IP and location.  

Now Let’s Come To Another Point, Does Incognito Searches Affect SEO Rankings? 

SEO rankings are dependent on many factors – in fact, thousands of factors. 

Some of those thousand factors also include the basic information that Google can access from your browser. 

When you search on Google or Bing, it will have access to the country and language of the browser you are using. 

Additionally, if you have a Google cookie set, it will also have access to your search history. 

Accessing some of your basic information helps Google deliver you customized results – improving the user experience.  

If you modify your browser settings, you might get to see different results from others. 

Moreover, if you search for something that is relevant to a particular locality, it will also have access to your location to bring up a map pack. 

While showing a map pack to you, some of the things that are being considered, including the distance between you and that particular business. 

If you have ever attended any SEO conference and a professional SEO asks you to do a search and click a result, one can see that result show up higher. 

This is because people who are searching are all at the same place and accessing the same IP address plus search engine is customizing its result to thousands of past searches. 

So all of these is happening because of the ISP information and location and not because of cookies. 

Continually searching for a particular query and clicking on the same results, indicates Google and Bing about the relevance and usefulness of that page to users. This becomes more useful as people still tend to search navigationally. 

Now Comes The Next Question – Do Searches Affect Rankings? 

The question deals with the topic of click-through rate and rankings. 

According to Google, the click-through rate is not a factor in the typical ranking algorithm. To be more precise, we can say that when one takes away customization and history along with all the other types of stuff, CTR will no longer get counted in the algorithm. 

Having known this, we can conclude that search engines use your browser data to personalize the search results by analyzing your previous behavior. However, it does not impact the ranking position for other people. 

Ok, I got this idea, but what about patents and other statements? 

Although CTR is not mainly considered a prominent SEO factor, there are many other ways to use CTR in a legitimate way. 

CTR makes a good metric to see which variant performs better while you conduct an A/B test. 

Additionally, search engines also look at CTR to determine which result is best to show when people ask for a box or similar feature. 

Same wise, if search engines notice that the map pack is not receiving sufficient numbers of clicks, it will no longer appear in the SERPs for that particular kind of query.  

So, it can be concluded that search engines and particularly Google use CTR in various ways, but it is still not a major ranking SEO factor. 

To conclude, all of the written above shows that incognito mode doesn’t affect SEO rankings in a significant manner. 


Nevil BhattCEO and Founder of NFlow Technologies

Nevil is the owner of one of the fastest-growing digital agencies in India. Having a great knowledge of the IT field and business management, he decided to bring a revolution in the digital world by providing valuable and customized solutions across the globe. Whether it's real or digital, he knows how to handle sustainable relationships and meaningful interactions.

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