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Ranking based on language settings
Different SERPs due to interface language

10+ Year Member

Msg#: 15085 posted 11:03 am on Jul 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

I don't know if this is new but I have never realized it before.

Depending on the language settings you have chosen for Google, the SERPs for the same query differ from each other. Pages in your language rank relatively higher in the SERP than pages in other languages. This is not about restricting results to one language (the "meta" parameter), neither it is about geolocation or which data center responds. It is all about the "hl" parameter that controls the interface language.


When the interface language is german, google.de ranks at # 3. When it's english, google.de ranks at # 9. (At least for me.) Note that both queries go to the same data center.

Is that new or have I missed something?


jeremy goodrich

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jeremy_goodrich us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 15085 posted 7:44 pm on Jul 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

One of the moderator's here, msgraph I believe, noticed this some time ago (can't recall the date).

It does make sense, for them to geo target the SERP as well as the AdWords (since after seeing the country specific adverts, they obviously have the technology).

However, it makes it a bit annoying when you are routinely communicating with somebody in another country and you say, "see my website at #1?" and they say, "no, it's not there! It's #3" :)


WebmasterWorld Senior Member ciml us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 15085 posted 8:03 pm on Jul 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

I find the variations fascinating. Starting last Autumn (August or September I think), there was a significant correlation between server location and the results with different interface languages. It relaxed one index later, and seemed pretty constant for some time after.

Now, it seems to be more complex; as with the "allin[something]:" searches.


WebmasterWorld Senior Member heini us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 15085 posted 9:19 pm on Jul 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

What Ciml says. Lot's of speculation, but no hard results afaik. I just don't see any consistency in the behaviour, which would completely justify the geotargeting label.


10+ Year Member

Msg#: 15085 posted 9:40 pm on Jul 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

There could be three different things having this effect. Ip, interface language, and browser's accept-language settings.

I did notice that for some searches having the English-language-only setting rearranged the rankings of english pages in relation to each other (in other words, google didn't just drop foreign pages, it did something else as well.)

I guess to get the exact same result as a person in another country you'd have to:

1. set your browser's accept language settings (tools/internet options, click on language)
2. set interface language on the google site (preferences.)
3. go to findproxy.com or some similar site, find a transparent proxy in that country, then enter that as your proxy in tools/internet options/connection/settings or lan settings.

Number 3 above lets you see adwords as they appear in other countries.



WebmasterWorld Senior Member rfgdxm1 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 15085 posted 10:42 pm on Jul 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

From a US IP using google.de, on a certain SERP a German page comes up #18 on www, and #7 on .de. Thus, .de give a boost to German pages no matter where your IP is.

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