chrislloyd515 - 1:44 am on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)
Regarding the localization aspect of this debate, we have a significant amount of information that this is the case and google is desperately trying to profile sites, we have a large number of sites that all need to rank for localized terms.
I suspected something like this could be happening, but we want our sites to rank worldwide, not localized to a specific country/area, so we took two approaches.
The first approach was to try and remove anything that google could use to tie us to a specific area, the idea being that they would just not localize us at all (and hopefully we would be seen worldwide)
The second approach was to use different techniques to localize us to a specific areas, this was done through different techniques, including the company address on varying pages, including clients addresses on different pages (client address would be in the area we were targeting, the company address mainly isn't)
So essentially the first lot of domains can't be localized, the second lot (which is made up of sub groups with different addresses in different places on the site) can be localized.
A few headlines from the data so far:
1. On Google.com from the US the Localizable domains FAR FAR FAR outranked the non-localizable domains, essentially group 1 never ranked at all without impractically large amounts of inbound links
2. Both sets rank equally well on all other worldwide google variants, including google.com from anywhere but the US, indicating that this isn't worldwide fully yet.
3. The domains that ranked the best included the full zipcode of a client on the homepage, we tested different forms of address and it seems that the most important factor is the zipcode, if that is missing then it seems that the results are closer to non-localized than localized.
4. It also seems that it's better to just have 1 address on the homepage, that makes sense as it's more likely to be your own address if there's just one (even though it might not be!)
So yes in my mind google is definitely trying to profile sites, and it will reward sites when it can if your trying to rank for localized search terms.
Hope this is helpful, it certainly was for us!