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Change in the Way Google Serves Results on .co.uk
Seeing a weighting to UK sites on "all web" searches.
UK_Web_Guy




msg:719007
 2:06 pm on Feb 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

I haven't seen this mentioned anywhere else - surprised not - but has anyone else noticed searches on .co.uk "the web" searches are now giving different results to a straight search on .com

This has only been happening since this weekend - USA sites are dropped down the rankings and UK sites are bumped to the top.

 

jamsy




msg:719008
 8:04 pm on Feb 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

can't say i have noticed this in our sectors - results seem pretty much the same.

tomtomclub




msg:719009
 8:09 pm on Feb 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

yep - same in our sector (although very very niche and UK biased language-wise anyway!) although all the indexes still seem to be changing on a daily basis so I've not really been able to pin it down but the .co.uk 'the web' results are definitely more loaded with uk based sites.

Chard




msg:719010
 8:31 pm on Feb 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

Yes, I noticed this over the weekend too. It's as it should be, in my opinion. google.co.uk should show results useful to uk users, if people want US results they can use .com. Yahoo already do this, their .co.uk and .com results are similarly separated

pardo




msg:719011
 8:45 pm on Feb 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

We're running a web directory with most of the content in english. Website is hosted in the Netherlands and a .com domainname.

Historically we received most of the google traffic from the .com domain but recently a major change have been completed with by far many many leads from google.co.uk

I suspect that the Allegra update has everything to do with running different databases on different locations in stead of the old 1 database moved over many different datacenters.

Analysing our log files day by day last weeks I see results vary for different countries...

I think a relevant move and smart move by google and good in the user's perspective. It also is a signal that local search will be more important now and in the future.

Any thought on this view...?

Dayo_UK




msg:719012
 8:49 pm on Feb 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have not really seen this.

Interesting that a .com in the Netherlands is getting more UK traffic though. (and good for all of us who have UK targetted .com .net etc sites hosted in Europe - not so good if .com .net hosted elsewhere though :()

Total Paranoia




msg:719013
 9:20 pm on Feb 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

if people want US results they can use .com.

Not true - haven't you noticed that the .com version redirects to .co.uk if you are the UK? The redirect is a very good move IMO but the only way I can check .com is by using my toolbar or by inserting the I.P address direct to my browser.

HarryM




msg:719014
 9:42 pm on Feb 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

haven't you noticed that the .com version redirects to .co.uk if you are the UK?

I'm in the UK, and I don't see this.

What I do see is a big difference in the pages indexed for one of my sites. It's a .com site hosted in the UK, and I have been having problems with pages going supplementary or losing their snippets.

But this problem only shows up doing a site:domain search on google.com or "search the web" at google.co.uk. And there are other unexplained anomalies, for instance the same page can be listed as URL only or as supplemental, depending on how I do the search.

However the "pages from the UK" results at google.co.uk are absolutely accurate.

pardo




msg:719015
 9:47 pm on Feb 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

Did some more testing for a 2 word query I found in my logfile just a couple of minutes ago...

[64.233.161.99...]

and did the same with

[64.233.161.99...]

the first query returned 41.900 results and we're #38 (i'm searching it now again and 40.300 results were presented?)

the second query returned 29.300 results and we're #12...!

We have a .com website hosted in the netherlands with only english content. Another website than referred to in my first post...

something cooking...?

Edit:
[google.com...] returned 396.000 results!

DanG




msg:719016
 12:09 am on Feb 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hi

I've seen the same thing on a few of the more competitive sectors that I monitor, but on most of the less competitive searches the results are very similar if not the same.

Dan

zgb999




msg:719017
 6:07 pm on Feb 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

This behaviour has been around for quite some time on other google versions too.

Go to google.de and search for auto or other words that are the same in German and English. You will mainly get German speaking sites showing up. The same querry on google.com shows English sites of course.

Google tries to give the searcher what Google thinks they might be looking for.

Wizard




msg:719018
 7:00 pm on Feb 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

This is really stupid: we have "Pages from UK" option for geographic searching. The idea of internet is to be more independent from location, isn't it? If I have a multilanguage site, running on one DB and one scripts engine, why should I buy separate hostings in different countries? All I can do in such situation is to hope, that I will be able to achieve top position of international version of my site in all Google regional vesions.

DamonHD




msg:719019
 9:39 pm on Feb 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hi,

I am now running replicas of a .org site in both the UK and the US in the (probably vain) hope that Google will consider them "close" to both those countries and their wider area, though it has always ranked me reasonably IMHO anyway.

Rgds

Damon

UK_Web_Guy




msg:719020
 10:03 pm on Feb 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Whilst i can see some benefit for products/services that are regionally specific - I'm not convinced that Google is simply using location of sites hosting to determine whether or not a site is UK targeted - hence showing it as high on .co.uk searches as they do on .com searches.

I have seen a few UK hosted sites, not on .co.uk domains that are now not showing well on "the web" searches on google.co.uk

GoogleGuy if you are around, maybe you could chip in with the official word on what enhancement has been made to google.co.uk on this subject and what webmasters must do to stand a chance of their content being served to UK surfers - obviously if they have a valid claim that it should be.

In the past to show on "uk pages" searches you had to either have a .co.uk domain or have your site hosted in the UK - this doesn't seem to be the case anymore for any search on google.co.uk - regardless of whether "the web" or "uk pages" is selected.

HarryM




msg:719021
 10:03 pm on Feb 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Go to google.de and search for auto or other words that are the same in German and English. You will mainly get German speaking sites showing up. The same querry on google.com shows English sites of course

That's probably a language issue. But if you try a neutral word that doesn't have a specific German or English meaning(such as Horace) the results are virtually identical.

But the language issue isn't there between the US and the UK. I still don't see any significant differences in serps.

nuthin




msg:719022
 8:08 am on Feb 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

just noticed this, same thing is happening now in Australia (.com.au)

i think it's a great move, clients can now try and hit those competitive keyword phrases. Heck we had one client that now hits a popular "single word".

:)

they would just need to find the right balance and mix.

garyr_h




msg:719023
 8:43 am on Feb 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

So if I have an american site.. how come I can't do a search specifically for other american sites? I can only do an all the web search on .com..

Sad ;)

Just Guessing




msg:719024
 9:11 am on Feb 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

USA sites are dropped down the rankings and UK sites are bumped to the top.

I am sure this is not happening in quite the way suggested.

What I am seeing is identical SERPS except that a few specific UK sites are filtered out of the google.com SERPS. When you look at the google.co.uk SERPS these sites appear in the results and all other sites, both UK and non UK sites, are pushed down, but the sequence of the SERPS is identical apart from these few sites coming in. As a result my UK site ranks lower in one google.co.uk search than in the same search on google.com. Many other searches give identical SERPS.

It's probably just a tweak to the index that hasn't rolled out across all datacenters yet.

haven't you noticed that the .com version redirects to .co.uk if you are the UK?

This is controlled by a cookie. If you click the "Go to Google UK" or "Go to Google.com" links on the relevant Google home page, the cookie setting is toggled so the redirect is switched on/off.

Chard




msg:719025
 9:19 am on Feb 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

garyr_h - I can see what you're saying, perhaps Google is going a bit like Yahoo.com, which seems to be very US-orientated (i.e.Yahoo News, which is basically US News). I always used to think of .com as being "all the world" - I think it means ".us" now.
If Google sticks with this (if) it would suit sites like mine, who primarily sell to uk customers, but sites that sell worldwide will struggle to reach the right audience
However, the downside for us is that we can also sell to other EU customers, but I assume that we will not feature well on Google.fr, Google.de etc - better check that!

PaulPA




msg:719026
 12:25 pm on Feb 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

I just noticed that while I'm #3 on a major keyword in .com I've moved to #5 for the same keyword on .co.uk. The two listings that have moved ahead are both UK sites and both are outside the top 10 on .com. I have not followed this closely in the past to tell when this started.

zgb999




msg:719027
 12:29 pm on Feb 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Sorry if I am getting specific again but I just tried a querry for "dating" because I think this would be a term where people from the UK would preferr a dating site from the UK and not from the US.

"Pages from the UK" is an advanced feature that not everybody uses. In my eyes Google is doing what the searcher is expecting. If you are from the UK and search for dating why not bringing UK sites on top?

Otherwhise many SERPS would be dominated by US sites all over the world and people outside the US would start complaining that Google is too much US focused.

PaulPA




msg:719028
 12:46 pm on Feb 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

zgb999 - The keyword I referred to is a general business search keyword and not a keyword that should have obvious geographic effects such as the dating term you used. Clearly almost all keywords could result in local results of some kind but then again, as someone pointed out, what is the purpose of searching the Internet if you end up with a result that is not supposedly the best result on the Internet?

I would have liked to have been in a room to hear G's discussion on this. Maybe something like: "Let's return the best results with the exception of giving greater weight to local sites even though these sites would not be the top sites if all things were equal."

Just Guessing




msg:719029
 12:55 pm on Feb 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

There is much more to this than I thought, and my previous post was wrong. Some, but not all, UK orientated sites are being given a boost in the google.co.uk results.

There are two things I can't figure out:

1. I can't find any google IP address / datacenter that matches the google.co.uk results.

2. What differentiates the UK sites that do get the boost? It's not just a UK IP address or .uk domain. There are .com sites without a UK IP address that get the boost, and .com sites with a UK IP address that don't. It's not just an on page reference to the UK, either.

Elmo




msg:719030
 1:00 pm on Feb 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

How do results from the web and pages from the UK differ?

As we all know Pages from the UK are served based on being a UK domain or being hosted in the UK

Pages from the web however in my opinion are being filtered based on analysis of the page or site.

My guess would be it is something to do with backlinks. i.e. a large number or percentage of links from UK sites = possible interest to UK surfers.

I have one .com site hosted in the US which, for our main keyword, was about 50th in the web SERPs and not in the pages from the UK SERPs at all. The same site is still not in the UK SERPs but has jumped up to 20th in the web SERPs.

Bob_Trotta




msg:719031
 1:09 pm on Feb 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Not true - haven't you noticed that the .com version redirects to .co.uk if you are the UK? The redirect is a very good move IMO but the only way I can check .com is by using my toolbar or by inserting the I.P address direct to my browser.

When you get redirected there is a link under the search bar that says: Go to Google.com

Click it and you will start seeing what the US sees.

g1smd




msg:719032
 1:47 pm on Feb 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

When I click it, it takes me to www.google.com/ncr/ which redirects me straight to www.google.co.uk again.

The only way I can use .com now, is to re-use a bookmarked search and enter new search terms there.

zgb999




msg:719033
 1:48 pm on Feb 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

"My guess would be it is something to do with backlinks. i.e. a large number or percentage of links from UK sites = possible interest to UK surfers."

This would make perfect sense. Google treats links as votes for a site. Site example.co.uk (or even example.com) might be number 20 (or whatever) for google.com but if somebody uses google.co.uk and example.co.uk has more links (votes) from UK sites than the other sites then it will be number 1 for the UK.

I did not test it but links from UK sites should help and can explain why .com sites hosted in the US still get the UK boost.

[edited by: zgb999 at 1:49 pm (utc) on Feb. 24, 2005]

irishaff




msg:719034
 1:49 pm on Feb 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have noticed this in my sector , it seems that relative placement stays the same as on .com but with more foreign sites filtered out of the .co.uk serps. I think they are moving towards regional results.

Good for me as i work in that local market , but bad for people who work internationally.

Looking forward, i think it will be important to have a tld of the country you are targetting or at least to be hosted in the target country.

nuthin




msg:719035
 1:52 pm on Feb 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

link pop i think could play a part with what sites get filtered through and which don't.

they still would want to find the right mix of local sites and international sites, so there only filtering through a few and not all.

would be interested to see the overall effect this has on our clients traffic.

i can only see an improvement from this.

so *thumbs up*.

first time i seen google take something out of Yahoo's book, Yahoo.com.au has been doing this for years / year or so. mixing in results in the default.

quite nice.

GerBot




msg:719036
 2:51 pm on Feb 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

hmmmm. I don't know if I like this.
I can see why Google would be trying to move away from a US centric result set but it is called the World Wide Web for a reason.

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