You are the exceptions to the rule and there may be several others however I very much doubt that anyone launching a brand new web site not using a UK based server would rank very highly, if at all, in .co.uk.
Which rule? None of my domains are hosted in the UK, and quite a few of them are .co.uk and I've just sat here testing them - they seem to show up nicely in uk-websites-only SERPS as well as the norm.
There have been several threads about this here and it nearly always concerns 1&1 which is understandable since they are #1 in Europe I believe.
I host with ev1servers (Houston based), so US, no question about it.
As a matter of interest how old are your sites?
I run one very large one. It has thousands of pages owing to spiderable community contributions etc. I've had it running and SEO'd to an extent for the last 2.5 years or so.
When did you first submit them and did you submit them through google.co.uk or .com?
I didn't submit them anywhere - you really don't have to you know. I made sure (where I could) that they made it into their respective dmoz categories etc. You know, the usual stuff. Then I just made sure that my main one was so damn good that people would naturally link in; and they have :)
It's very awkward making generalisations however petehall has been doing this for 5+ years and I have been doing this for 10+ years
Sure, and I'm not knocking anyone, but amount of years doesn't necessarily equate to wisdom/intelligence. I'm always suspicious of people when they start placing their (ahem) 'assets' on the table ;)
and I would guess that both of us, BTW I don't know him, have experimented with all kinds of configurations and locations and experience has taught us both that the safest and, more or less guaranteed method, is the UK based server.
Sure, but I burn just over 1000Gigs/month on my main site alone (yes I mean 1 thousand). The cost of hosting my operation in the UK would be prohibitive. I can't be on my own on this one. Surely if a search engine can detect it's UK centric that's enough. Why rely on where it's hosted? That seems mad to me. Especially since there are so many great hosting deals in the US compared to the UK. I can't be the only one doing this.
If you're succeeding, great:-)
And don't think I'm trying to misdirect others into failing... I'm just saying it like it is. Just trying to add my bit of experience to the intelligence base here.