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Google has been championing its ability to understand user intent and to "personalise" the SERPS for many years now - but how true is this really?
I believe that Google's algorithm(s) are nowhere near as clever as Google would like to make out - with negative effects for both searchers and businesses alike.
Take this for example - a work colleague of mine went to Cornwall for his holidays in July and prior to going there spent some time researching where to go, what to see etc. All the things that you would naturally do before visiting anywhere.
So it came as a bit of a surprise that when back home in Manchester and logged in to Google that the following listings started to appear:
These are quite obviously completely wrong listings for the searcher's intent. If you are in Manchester and want to find a Boots Chemist, Google should be presenting listings for the Manchester area not Cornwall.
Further investigation has shown that Google believes that my work colleague lives in Manchester, does his banking somewhere in Bedfordshire and his shopping in Penzance. All competely wrong.
If Google wants to champion itself as being able to generate personalised local results that are useful, it needs to produce results that relate to real-time searcher intent and not to searches that took place months ago that are now irrelevant and, to be honest, probably never were.