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Massively Different Search Results on Google.com

Discussion in 'BlackHat Lounge' started by jimbo2087, Apr 13, 2010.

  1. jimbo2087

    jimbo2087 Regular Member

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    I was wondering if anyone has seen this before...

    I am seeing a jump of 9 places on the same google.com search. Market samurai reports the site as being at positon 5. But I am based in the UK and when I run a google.com search (yes it is google.com not .co.uk) the results are massively different and the site is as position 14.

    Ive tested it through loads of proxies and it looks like the 5th position search is only for US based machines, all of the other countries return the site at position 14. But whats strange is when I refresh the link from market samurai with my UK machine directly connected it returns the same US results (pos 5). But when I go back to Google.com and do a fresh search, its back to 14 again.

    I wouldn't be that bothered but its some work I have done for a a client and im getting paid when the keyword is in top 10 :)

    I am tempted to send him the link from market samurai and if he questions it when he searches himself just explain that its because were outside the US. He wanted to target google.com and most of his customers are US so I dont see what's wrong really? I expect 90% of the searches made outside the US are on country specific googles anyway. Any advice would be appreciated!
     
  2. casioforever

    casioforever Newbie

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    Well, if you are outside the US google.com still returns slightly localised results, so you are right in saying that most searches ex-US are kinda localised to that country.

    With regards to the main question, when this has happened with people ive worked for ive had to send them a screengrab of the google.com results taken through a proxy and write a MAHOOSIVE email covering localised search results before they question it, to try and stop them wittering at me.

    is his server based in the US or the UK? that can make quite a big difference to the rankings across different global search engines.
     
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  3. unmark

    unmark Junior Member

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    I've seen something very similar for searches done in Australia through google.com and .com.au
    A jump of 9 places is actually not so bad. In my case it was like 20-25 places difference
     
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  4. webcatpl

    webcatpl Junior Member

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    Sometimes .com is updated first and the rest of G datacenters follow later
     
  5. jimbo2087

    jimbo2087 Regular Member

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    I was aware that google did this, but I have never really noticed it so much. I usually just track the ranks of my own sites through M Samurai and don't bother googling it.

    His server is now based in the US as I moved it to my host, but it was previously in the UK. The keyword also contains the word "Europe" so I expect this might affect it...Hopefully the server move wont be an issue.

    At the end of the day he is ranking on the front page of Google.com in the most important country when it comes to Google.com searches right? Most people in Europe will use their respective country search so if he kicks up a fuss then I will just make this point to him.

    Just whether I bother to tell him that if he searches himself he wont see the results the same or not?

    I think I have to really as he will blatantly do it at some point and then it will look like its dropped. He is such a noob as well this is going to be loooonng...

    Does any one have any statistics on the worldwide usage of Google.com?
     
  6. elono

    elono Newbie

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    I would say that most of the traffic that goes to google.com comes from the USA, as I assume most other countries default to the localised version as the UK does.

    So as long as your clients target market is based in the USA it should be fine. That being said you should probably check out google trends to see where the term is most popular, if it is not the US it might be an issue as you client might not see any traffic even with the ranking.

    I would definitely explain to the client how to accurately see their rankings, as I am sure that googling the keyword is the first thing they will do and the second is call you when they don't see the ranking they expect.
     
  7. gregstereo

    gregstereo Elite Member

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    Hey man - I couldn't find any stats on geo-specific g00gle usage quickly, but I did find an article you might find interesting/helpful in explaning this to your client:

    http://www.seochat.com/c/a/Google-Optimization-Help/Geo-Targeting-Techniques-in-Google-for-SEO/

    And FWIW, I've seen similar fluctuating results from searching when using different locations via proxies. And yeah from what I've seen when surfing around via a proxy from a specific country, I get the geo-specifiic version of SE's (G, Y!, bada bing).
     
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  8. BrentH

    BrentH Newbie

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    Had a BHW member email me with an example today.

    Not sure exactly what is going on, but it does seem the .com version (when localized to the correct region/language) gives slightly different results to the regional version.

    We're keeping an eye on it.

    webcatpl raises a good point - we could be seeing the beginnings of a data centre update, and a new algorithm. But it's too early to tell.

    If you want to see what Market Samurai is seeing, click on the results you see to open them up in a web browser.
     
  9. jimbo2087

    jimbo2087 Regular Member

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    Thanks for the article Greg, I might post it to him if he comes back and complains.

    I went ahead and told him were on front page with a brief explanation of why he wont see it, i'll keep you guys posted on the outcome.

    Heres what ive noticed, take these two links (there were generated from Market samurai):

    This one is from the "all countries and territories" setting, notice the "gl=US" (EDIT:you have to view the link in your browser to see this)
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&gl=US&q=bhw+ftw&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

    This one is from the "New Zealand" setting, notice the "gl=NZ"
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&gl=NZ&q=bhw+ftw&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

    If you load both these links up side by side you can see the results are slightly different.

    Now try this, change the NZ or US in the link for something like FR or UK (france or the UK). Again results differ.

    Now for the real headfuck.

    So you would think if you go to google.com the search result url will just contain that little country code in depending on where your browsing from right? well no.

    I loaded up a proxy from Sri Lanka and went to google.com, did the same search, and check the url now:

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=bhw+ftw&aq=f&aqi=g10&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

    Its missing out little "gl=NZ" and has been replaced by the "source=hp". Whats EVEN MORE STRANGE is the returned results, on the last link (Sri Lanka) it is 171,000 and on the other two, it is 15000!! This is massive?! Im pretty confused right now. Anyone elses thoughts on this matter would be much appreciated.