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Depending on the language settings you have chosen for Google, the SERPs for the same query differ from each other. Pages in your language rank relatively higher in the SERP than pages in other languages. This is not about restricting results to one language (the "meta" parameter), neither it is about geolocation or which data center responds. It is all about the "hl" parameter that controls the interface language.
When the interface language is german, google.de ranks at # 3. When it's english, google.de ranks at # 9. (At least for me.) Note that both queries go to the same data center.
Is that new or have I missed something?
It does make sense, for them to geo target the SERP as well as the AdWords (since after seeing the country specific adverts, they obviously have the technology).
However, it makes it a bit annoying when you are routinely communicating with somebody in another country and you say, "see my website at #1?" and they say, "no, it's not there! It's #3" :)
Now, it seems to be more complex; as with the "allin[something]:" searches.
I did notice that for some searches having the English-language-only setting rearranged the rankings of english pages in relation to each other (in other words, google didn't just drop foreign pages, it did something else as well.)
I guess to get the exact same result as a person in another country you'd have to:
1. set your browser's accept language settings (tools/internet options, click on language)
2. set interface language on the google site (preferences.)
3. go to findproxy.com or some similar site, find a transparent proxy in that country, then enter that as your proxy in tools/internet options/connection/settings or lan settings.
Number 3 above lets you see adwords as they appear in other countries.