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Google.co.uk SERP Changes - June 2008

     
5:06 pm on Jun 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

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We're going to try an experiment here. We have a lot of members from the UK or who target the UK - and it seems that google.co.uk is, increasingly, a different critter from google.com.

So this month we're going to try one thread just for google.com and general Google SERP changes, and this thread - dedicated to observations for Google's UK flavor. So what do members see going on with the google.co.uk search results this month?

8:16 am on June 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I have been working with a client <in a very competitive market> for two years and we focus 99% of our efforts on Google.co.uk

When I first started they did not fair to well, after a lot of work and a lot of UK links their up fighting with the best of them. UK specific links (hosted in the UK, with .co.uk) are key.

[edited by: tedster at 1:58 pm (utc) on June 23, 2008]

9:01 am on June 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Click-through rate is one of the primary drivers determining you position on AdWords, so it makes sense for Google to optimise the organic results in the same way.

Higher clickthrough rates increase revenue. If they get a 10% CTR on a 1.34 bid, then they will make more money than a 1% CTR 10.21 bid. It has nothing to do with relevancy.

Don't forget that page load time is now a factor in much of Google's ranking.

In adwords only, and again for financial reasons. Fast loading PPC pages increase revenue, there was a thread on the report but I can't seem to find it.

9:18 am on June 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

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So if click-throughs are ordering the serps and users favour local tlds, it should follow that the uk google.com results should show .co.uks.

Exactly.

Kinda steps on your own clickthrough rate theories then doesn't it?

Not my clickthrough rate theory, IH, hence why I gave that example ;)

How can it not negate everything you stated about tracking CTR? You say that they are using CTR to determine rank therefore that would mean UK sites would be clicked more on Google.com for UK specific searches which means they would rank higher. And the whole point of this argument is that they don't rank - you even said that yourself.

I believe that Google must put additional effort into the UK market as it sees it as important.

Personally, as places like Indian and China have opened up I think the UK with it's tiny population comparitively is being reducing yearly in importance to Google. Very, very small fish now.

10:27 am on June 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Higher clickthrough rates increase revenue. If they get a 10% CTR on a 1.34 bid, then they will make more money than a 1% CTR 10.21 bid. It has nothing to do with relevancy.

They also increase the user experience by demoting the less popular ad (and possibly site) and promoting the more popular, and therefore more relevant ad and site.

In a Google documentary produced in 2006, Marissa Meyer said:

The search information we retain we do so for quality purposes. We review it only in aggregate. We do aggregate computations and try to understand how to make searches better. So for example if you search for football, and click on result number three, we want to use that information, so next time we take result number three and make it number one.
12:56 pm on June 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Here's some weirdness I've been mentioning for quite awhile now.

Doing a search for [widgets] from Canada, Toronto to be specific brings back 8 out of 10 UK/AU sites. 3 out of these 8 are using .co.uk domains, while the others are using .com, but are clearly either UK or AU entities.

Do the same search from the US, produces completely different results, results that actually make sense given both the topic, and location of the sites.

Do anyone see US/CAD sites showing up in the UK results? Maybe someone has them setup backwards at the plex...

[edited by: Receptional_Andy at 12:35 pm (utc) on June 26, 2008]
[edit reason] Removed specifics [/edit]

7:42 pm on June 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

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marketingmagic no such results when searching from a UK IP address. That search brings up 7 .co.uk's and 3 .com's in the top 10.

I think the problem could be a combination of ISP proxies in some places (are you sure Google are seeing a CA IP address when you search Google.co.uk?) and the fact that Google does not have a huge urge to make Google.co.uk results that relevant to CA searchers.

Out of interest, how do you search Google.co.uk from Canada. When you type in Google.com doesn't it redirect you to the .ca version?

7:48 pm on June 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

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creative craig - that is what i want to hear!

internetheaven - you got to delete googles cookie. cant remember how. maybe somebody else can help?

12:33 pm on June 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I'm not talking about search .co.uk, I'm talking about searching .com from Toronto, Canada. Definetely a CA IP.

Doing the exact same search, but using a US based proxy browser, none of these UK and AU sites show up.

I could see a couple of these ranking, but 8 and sometimes 9 out of 10? Something's clearly broken. I've emailed G several times over the last fewe months, but it's not changed.

Sounds like you're getting more .com's showing up in the serps then we are here in Canada, lol.

Google, if you're listening, fix this as it's driving me nuts. :-)

1:41 pm on June 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Hi,

I represent a site that had a position of 28 in Google uk for several months for the single keyword phrase conservatories, in June 2008 (around the 11th) this position improved to position 6. I initially thought this was a blip but after 7 days the position remainded constant so I happliy accepted the improvement.

The site was indexed again on 20th June and then dropped back to position 20.

I have thought that Google indexed rankings once a month on a four week basis? So I am more than a little confused to see two separate ranking updates within the same month?

Also has anyone else had this kind of fluctuation in their serps within Google this month...positively or negatively?

I wouldn't mind but there has not been any seo activity for this site in June full stop so to say I am confused by a drop of 14 places is an understatement!

I have identifed that the priorities withion the sitemap file have not been set but as Google state that this does not affect rankings I cannot see why this fluctiation has occured.

Any help at all would be appreciated.

cheers

De badger

2:01 pm on June 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Google stopped their monthly update cycle in the Summer of 2004 (or was it 2003?).

They moved to a more frequent and continuous method, and have changed it in many ways, many times, since then.

3:16 pm on June 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for that info, is that the same premise with their link index as I don't see that being updated regulary. In fact recently I have waited for over three months for a link to be indexed.

Having said that the main problem I have is that in June the site increased its position by around 14 places and within two weeks has dropped by 10 positions. From the Webmaster account there do not appear to be any new links indexed in this period, no new pages have been added or removed.

It has taken a considerable amount of time to get this client moving up in the serps but to see this kind of change is very odd, particulalry if no one else out there is ahving any issues this month.

Again any ideas?

5:53 pm on June 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

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bouncing between 28 and 14 is a non-issue. You seem to be talking like there is one index like the old days when actually there are multiple indexes and you could be varying wildly among them. Changing by 14 positions is actually quite stable in reality.
8:15 am on June 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I think you may have misread my point, I had already checked the data centres beforeI even posted to this forum.

The site has dropeed from position 6 to position 21, accross all data centres that I have checked.

What I am asking here is has anyone else had this kind of fluctuation with their own serps results in June 2008?

Of course it may just be that Googl made an error with their indexing a fortnight ago and are just repairing the situation, the site was originally in position 24-25 before it ranked at position 6-7, now the site ranks at 20-21.

So any other ideas SEO Community? "You are my only hope"

De Badger

11:21 am on June 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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marketingmagic thats a bug that sort of related to something that I find odd.

I'm in the UK, our main site audience is UK based and the site ranks ok on .co.uk which is pretty much how it should be.

Now if I change the search from;

google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=widgets

To

google.com/search?hl=en&q=widgets

I get different results and the site is nowhere, I haven't checked the results from a USA IP but it does seem odd, as if Google is trying to serve up different results to the UK would it not make sense to show the same results for both of the above?

11:31 am on June 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Symbios - Try using a proxy browser, something out of the US - do a google search for proxy browser. Then compare the results to your google.com search from the UK, and google.co.uk.

I'm sure you'll see the results are completely different. That makes sense though, the results should be different.

The bug I'm seeing, is when searching "[widgets]" from Toronto, Canada, Google is serving up 8 or 9 UK or AU sites out of 10 results. (first page serps)

This is clearly what we'd call a "broken" and I'm surprized they are ignoring the issue.

[edited by: Receptional_Andy at 12:36 pm (utc) on June 26, 2008]
[edit reason] Removed specifics [/edit]

12:47 pm on June 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

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All my UK results have came back today, for how long is anybodys guess.
I have made a few changes so that users stay on the site longer this helped to get my bounce rate figure right down. I don't know wether this has helped though.
1:57 pm on June 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

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All my UK results have came back today,

Funny! My are gone. Also my AU traffic is completely gone, but I got 4 times traffic from NZ
And now I have an headache.....
4:59 pm on June 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Well ours still hasn't come back so we have done a complete site redesign along with...

Removed the majority of relevant keyword anchor text links from each relevant pages.

Changed anchor text which links to each page from keywords to what ever we use in the title tag of that page.

Added a page description under every navigation link to give visitors a better idea of what page they are going to be clicking on.

Split big category pages up so all linked to pages are not on one single page.

Improved the user experiance by giving the site a built in search engine style search.

< continued here: [webmasterworld.com...] >

[edited by: tedster at 5:48 am (utc) on July 1, 2008]

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