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Russian language results in Google and Bing UK search results

 12:00 pm on Jun 10, 2013 (gmt 0)


I have found that both google.co.uk and bing.co.uk are favouring Russian language websites in their search results for certain keywords, even when language preferences are set to English and when only "Pages from the UK" is selected. I have replicated the same results on multiple devices and browsers, so its not a cookie/location/language settings issue.

For some of my keywords 80-90% of the serps are non-English language websites, mainly Russian and Hungarian, but also French and Italian (the brand name we're selling products of is of Italian manufacture).

Example query: [google.co.uk ]

Is this due to the query being too specific, or is there something strange going on with Google and Bing?

Surely displaying a Russian language result to a user searching in English is less relevant than only returning a small handful of English-language results?




 4:05 pm on Jun 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

... and that's why you should use the html lang attribute, and search engines should read it. Two of the first three Russian-language hits for the search terms cited (which will probably be deleted by a moderator since you made the mistake of admitting a relationship to the product) say explicitly "lang=ru". Same for bing-- though they do come up with more English in the top 10.

The absence of a "lang=something-other-than-english" tag doesn't automatically mean the page is in English. But its presence should imply pretty strongly that it is not. :(


 7:50 pm on Jun 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

One should also question what language the browser is set up for. If it has only non-English or more than one language set up would the SE use that setting?


 8:44 pm on Jun 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Speaking for myself: I have a very long list of accepted languages-- more, in fact, than the browser is able to send. (Camino apparently puts English at the front of the list. Safari starts with my first-choice language.) But Russian is not on the list at all.


 11:23 am on Jun 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the replies - all my already pages have the lang attribute set to either "en" or "en-GB". However, I don't see how the language settings on my website would affect Google's (or Bing's) search results.

Maybe I should re-word the question: Why am I seeing non-English, non-Latin script results in google.co.uk and Bing UK searches for certain keywords even when searching for "only websites from UK" and when English is the only language set in both the browser and search engine?

Is it "normal" search engine behaviour to extend the geographical search "region" and deliver (what I consider to be) non-relevant results *above* those which match the search parameters?



 8:02 pm on Jun 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

I don't see how the language settings on my website would affect Google's (or Bing's) search results.

Not your OWN website language! The languages of the other sites that come up in search. The search engine doesn't necesssarily know what language a page is in.

If you look at the results from the specific search you posted, you'll notice that the search term itself is in Roman script even when the rest of the page is Cyrillic. Simplest explanation: the brand name is more popular in Russian-speaking parts of the world. Hm. Sounds like something you might want to capitalize on. How are you doing in Yandex?

Granted: Showing results that don't fit constraints which you explicitly gave the search engine, like language or region, is weird. It seems no different from offering pages from 2008 when you've selected "past month".

But "Accept-Language" is inclusive, rather than exclusive. It doesn't mean "send ONLY pages in these languages"; it means "if the page comes in more than one language, these are my preferences".


 11:27 am on Jun 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

I don't believe the filtering is particularly effective. google.co.uk has gotten worse over time, with many listings showing businesses that do not sell to the UK. It's pointless displaying them in the SERPs when specifically choosing UK only.

It may not be connected, however, personalised search does not help, so give the cookies a good clearout.

Also, searching for a term which is not an English language word will tend to bring in 'most relevant' terms, which, might be the issue in this example.


 3:51 pm on Jun 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

What does "most relevant" mean when the search engine doesn't know the language? Simply "largest number of occurrences nearest the top of the page"?


 4:39 pm on Jun 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

lucy24, the search engine's "most relevant" is likely to be different from our interpretation.


 9:00 pm on Jun 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Well, that's a general truth about all search engines all the time, isn't it. Does there exist an Official Explanation of what "most relevant" means?

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