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Different rankings in .com and .de

My rankings defer from google.com to google.de



1:37 pm on Jul 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


just at the moment I noticed, that my site is #1 for keyword on google.com but only #7 on Google.de. As my site is a german site it should be the other way round.
As far as I understand Google, there should be some datacenters on which I am #1 and some on which I am #7, so the #1 seem to be served to .com and the #7 dc's to google.de

But there are no dc's (from the one's I know) where I am on #1, so what is it what makes me #1 on .com (and all non german googles) and #7 on all german googles (.de, .at, .ch)?

I thought rankings are related to the position on the dc's and not to the tld's?



5:40 am on Jul 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hm, some more details/additional information:

It all seems to be realted to the language parameter in the URL.
I am #1, also on
BUT the standard german search URL is
and on this search query I am on #7.

So it all seems to be related to the "hl=" parameter.
Does anyone know what it exactly is?

I can think of the following possibilities:

1.) Geo Location
very unlikely since my server is located in germany.

2.) Google thinks my site is in english
also very unlikely because when searching for "german sites only" on google.de it comes up

3.) TLD
hm, can't imagine this to be a factor, but who knows?
My tld is .info , top of me there are only .de sites.

4.) smth. on my site that makes google to rank my site lower on de searches.
pfff, what could that be? I have no idea at all.
meta "content-language"?

But all in all it makes no sense at all to me to reduce a site's ranking on the searches of the language the site is written in, while in all other languages the site ranks higher.

any ideas?


6:54 am on Jul 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

>>so what is it what makes me #1 on .com (and all non german googles) and #7 on all german googles (.de, .at, .ch)

Good question, and, as I've been harping on about for a while, one which illuminates other areas of the algorithm.

IMO, it's one of the confirmations for the whole disputed area of things like neighbourhood, related links, semantics, etc.


7:06 am on Jul 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


so do you think that google assumes my site is more useful to english - langauge users because of links from english websites for example?

But my site is written completely in german, so although I have some links from english websites most links are from german sites.

All websites above mine have the meta langauge tag in the header.
I have added it yesterday, can't be wrong but to be honest I can't imagine that this helps.
There is another site which is #8 on google.de?hl=de and #2 on google.de?hl=en. So this site has the same problem as I have. They also have no language tag on there site.
When disregarding our 2 sites the rankings are completley identical betwwen google.de?hl=de and google.de?hl=en



7:26 am on Jul 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Everytime you perform a search with google.com or any other geo variety, google will generate the SERPs from one of their datacenters. Different datacenters will return slightly different results (or sometimes significant if they are doing some testing on one of the servers or updating the entire database).

So I believe the reason you see different results is because both are fecthing from different datacenters. I believe you will continue to see different set of SERPs each day which different slightly.


7:49 am on Jul 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

that is what I thought at first.
But when you go to a datacenter and perform the searches I have posted above you will also get the differences when chaning hl=en in hl=de
So it does not depend on the datacenter, eevry datacenter seems to have 2 sets of indexes one for queries with hl=de and one for queries hl=en

example: returns my site #1 returns my site #7

So this difference is not related to the load balancing datacenter thing



8:00 am on Jul 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Maybe You should see it the other way 'round:
Your competitor sites might simply perform better in german G than your site, maybe depending even on where the inbound links are coming from.
I could assume that G gives different rank to different links in different local Googles simply because they are much more specific in that language.


8:31 am on Jul 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The only thing which I can think of are links.
Links from german sites could count more for the german index as for the english index.
I have many links from german site but many of them do not have a .de - domain. Some have .info, some .com and even .tv .

So now we come to another problem, how does google identify a german site?
Does the TLD really play a role? I can't imagine that! We live in a global world, and good domains are rare so it would make no sense to discriminate domains with german content which are on a non german tld?!?!

Does anyone know how google determines the language of a website?
I would guess they do it by comparing text from the website to a dictionary?!?!

But then the tld would have no influence.


2:25 pm on Jul 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Google might just consider your site with English content more relevant to "international" searches. Your competitors are probably just focusing on the Germnan speaking markets.

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