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google.co.uk - different algorithm or just an additional filter?

 12:01 pm on Aug 20, 2007 (gmt 0)


I've been trying to work out why we and other pages get a boost for some terms on .co.uk.

For example for one two word term I'm at #3 on google.com and #1 on google.co.uk a competitor page is at #6 on .com and #2 on .co.uk.

One of the two words is semantically quite different in UK English than US English. For that word both my page and that of the boosted competitor have a higher density and prominence than the two pages that are pushed back. Also my page uses stems of the word whereas the other competitor pages do not.

When I do a keyword analysis in the top 10 words apart from the target keywords and stems all of the rest are the common English joining words ie the, and, you, are, that, for, your which I think makes the page fit natural English usage better than competitor pages.

I am therefore working on the theory that there is a different algorithm on .co.uk which uses a somewhat different sematic dictionary to base its semantic indexing on.

I would be interested to hear if other folks have similar or completely different experience. I think that those of us in the UK need to try and better understand the difference between google.com and google.co.uk. It is a much smaller thing than trying to understand the whole .com algorithm and therefore should be easier to understand and do something about.




Receptional Andy

 8:26 pm on Aug 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

The regional search engines are nice topic of their own :)

A few observations on regional Googles:

- Regional differences look to be based on which google, rather than on visitor location: a geo-redirect, not geo-cloaking
- Keywords that are regional seem to have a big impact on results, including keywords that are likely to be regional, either because of the visitor language, or the visitor location
- This corresponds to websites whose content is also likely to be regional
- I don't have a lot of info on links from sites in the same region, but it's a fair bet it is or will have an influence

There are quite a few other things my 'regional criteria' list, although some of them are pretty tricky to test reliably, audience location/CTR might play a part for instance.

Of course, there's also 'the web', 'pages from...' and per language results that are all different too ;)


 6:15 am on Aug 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm seen similar things on google.com.au. For example, on a 3 word term, I rank 73 on google.com, but 12th on google.com.au.

Of the 11 that are ahead of me on google.com.au, only about 5 are actually ahead on me on google.com. In fact, I'm seeing sites ranked 500+ on google.com outrank me on google.com.au, which I think is just crazy.

The suggestion that is popular here is to increase local (Australian) links, however, based on experience, I think A LOT more to it than that. I think CTR plays a huge role in determining rankings in cases like this. This is why I'm just about to update my CSS to make my site prettier and add more content related to that 3 word term.


 8:02 am on Aug 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

A while ago I took a look at "web design" on the various English language Gs and found that local sites were returned based mostly on the allinanchor results from "pages from Ireland/UK/Aus".

Didn't manage to discover whether "local" anchor text played a part or whether it was simply down to the sites being "local" though...


 2:37 pm on Aug 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

All of the major search engines give a great deal of weight to geo-location, even when the user does not request a country-specific search. This is why the search results vary from one incarnation of Google to the next, and also why it is very important for webmasters to be aware of how geo-location operates. The major search engines use two common criteria in determining geo-location: (1) the presence of a Country Code Top Level Domain Name (or 'CC TLD', as in "somesite.co.uk"), or the physical location of the server that hosts the site based on its IP address. Forget about trying <meta> tags or incoming local links - they do not affect geo-location. Unless you have a County Code TLD, you need to have your site hosted in the target country or you're working with a significant competitive handicap in the rankings.


 11:43 pm on Aug 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Google thinks co.uk domains are more relevant than .com , .net domains hosted on UK ips... I mean most of the UK big companies/organizations have registered a .com to be out ranked by a poor qulity co.uk domain...


 12:55 am on Aug 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

It's much more than a simple binary question of whether a given site is or is not a UK site. ALL the regional Googles seem to have somewhat different result sets. In other words, even US sites may get listed in a quite different order on country-specific Googles.

My gut feeling is that the difference has to do with where your links come from. Additional factors could be where your traffic itself comes from, what sites you link out to, and the language/terminology you use on your site. I doubt there are actually multiple different algorithms, just different inputs to the same algorithm, but it's conceivable.


 8:23 am on Aug 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

Google thinks co.uk domains are more relevant than .com , .net domains hosted on UK ips... I mean most of the UK big companies/organizations have registered a .com to be out ranked by a poor qulity co.uk domain...

Disagree very much on that one. I don't think there is a huge difference based on actual tld, here is my thoughts on the ranking brownie points:

.co.uk + UK IP address = 1 ranking brownie point
.co.uk + IP address outside of UK = 1 ranking brownie point
.com + UK IP address = 1 ranking brownie point
.com + IP address outside of UK = 0 ranking brownie points

the only tlds that seem to get extra brownie points on UK regional searches would be:

.org = 1 ranking brownie point
.org.uk = 4 ranking brownie points
.ac.uk = 2 ranking brownie points
.gov.uk = 6 ranking brownie points

Legal notice: I claim all rights to the ranking brownie point marking system that I just made up without any scientific data to back it. If you wish to use the term please send a cheque for 1million to ... ;)


 11:03 am on Aug 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

IMO there are no ranking points for TLD/hosting you're just either in or out with ranking dependent on "traditional" factors....

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