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Totally different SERPs between Israel and the US

 5:57 pm on Apr 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hi guys.

I'm from Israel, and I'm seeing strange thing on a query search results.

One result is #2 in google when searched from the US (or through a proxy, or the Ajax API...). However this result is about number 45 or so from a search I make in Israel.

How come that is possible?

Just for more info, this is behaving like this for at least 3-4 months if not more... at first I thought it was different data centers, but it doesn't make sense that it takes google *so* long to change algorithms. Also my query gets around 20,000-30,000 searches a month (my estimate) - so it's a good keyword...

Any ideas?




 7:11 pm on Apr 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

This is not only possible, it's Google's standard operating procedure called Geo-targetting. Search results are even tailored by specific city these days. For some informative discussions, see the Hot Topics area [webmasterworld.com], which is always pinned to the top of this forum's index page.

Here's a comment I made in another recent thread [webmasterworld.com]:

There are many variants that make rankings a difficult metric to count on these days.

1. Some data centers use different data sets. Google's load balancing alone can give you changes.
2. Filtered by location (even down to the city or part of city)
3. Different browsers sometimes get different results
4. Personalized search results while logged in
5. Some "personalized" results even when not logged in, such as recent search history and geolocation
6. Rankings that vary time time of day.
7. Presence or absence of various universal search entries - images, news, books, video, maps, products, scholar, knols, etc. These are not always consistently present or absent, depending on the particular query term.

There's probably more that I haven't thought about. The only bright light for a metric at the moment is Google's change to include ranking data in the referer string [webmasterworld.com].


 5:43 am on Apr 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks Tedster.

I guess it's really difficult to really know what's going on at Google search with all those different parameters...

I think the Geo-Location might be the thing, although I'm not sure why that specific result is more relevant in the US than it is in Israel. oh well ;-)




 7:25 am on Apr 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

I travel a lot - the Google results are different all over the world. I would have expected this as Google tries to serve "better" results to searchers based on geotargeting.


 9:33 am on Apr 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

It confused me the first time I came across it. In my initial ignorance I thought that google.com would give the results that an American user would see when I used it from the UK. Then I discovered webmasterworld and learned about geo targetting


 1:25 pm on Apr 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure why that specific result is more relevant in the US than it is in Israel

If this search is more relevant to Israel than to the US, then it explains what you're seeing:
There is more competition in Israel for this search term, and therefore more relevant sites that Google is presenting to the searcher, pushing the site you're looking at further down the list.


 5:38 am on Apr 30, 2009 (gmt 0)


It doesn't really make sense... it just seems that this particular entry has gone down about 40 positions, otherwise the search results seems pretty much the same.

maybe this result is more relevant in the US than in Israel, that seems like a reasonable thing to assume, even though it doesn't really make sense.

Anyone feeling Google is just getting more and more complicated? I'm not sure that as a user I'm really getting better results than I did a few years ago.



 6:42 am on Apr 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure that as a user I'm really getting better results than I did a few years ago.

Given their battle with ever more sophisticated spammers, just that much is a pretty good achievement, wouldn't you say?

There's no doubt Google has become quite complex - and that will probably continue. We need to grow a more and more effective toolkit to market effectively through organic search.


 7:02 am on Apr 30, 2009 (gmt 0)


Hey, I haven't thought of that. I agree... so many people trying to scam google. Maybe I was being too hard on them.

Still, sometimes I think google is just a way to get a pointer to the right wikipedia article - they always come on top ;-)



 1:44 pm on Apr 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

Wow! I just tested this, and geo-targetting is more extensive than I ever expected. I tested different keywords on Google.com here in Canada, and then ran the same search on an anonymous online proxy based in the United States. Depending on the search term, the difference can be mild or astounding.

So just in Canada, the SERPs can be completely different for:
1) Google.com (from a Canadian IP address)
2) Google.com (if using a US IP address)
3) Google.ca "search the web"
4) Google.ca "pages from Canada"
5) Google.ca (French) "Rechercher dans Web"
6) Google.ca (French) "Pages francophones"
7) Google.ca (French) "Pages : Canada"


 1:47 pm on Apr 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

I used to have a page on a .uk site that for a particular search on .co.uk came higher for "search the web" than for "uk search".


 4:36 pm on Apr 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

I used to have a page on a .uk site that for a particular search ...

The ecom I work for has better positions on co.uk for "search the web" over "uk search" on almost every term.

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