Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 3.231.228.109

Forum Moderators: Robert Charlton & goodroi

Google Geo-location

     
10:36 pm on Apr 5, 2019 (gmt 0)

New User

10+ Year Member

joined:Nov 29, 2003
posts: 33
votes: 0


I am located in Canada would like to be able to track my site on Google without being geo-located to my home region, in other parts of the country and in the US. I have tried using Google .com and .ca but it doesn't make any difference. I tried using a VPN to to other regions but I still get local listings.
Thank you...Michael
12:02 pm on Apr 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 7, 2006
posts: 1136
votes: 140


You need to disable geolocation in your browser (and if using a wireless connection, turn it off in the device too). However, results will still be tied to the VPN provider's IP address.

You could also try a browser that uses a proxy connection and stores no personalisation (e.g. Tor), although the proxy IP location still applies. This will show you the extent to which personalisation and geolocation affect results, but isn't much use otherwise, as very few real-world users browse that way, or will see those results.
1:14 pm on Apr 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 5, 2004
posts: 609
votes: 98


Surprised using your VPN from an IP of the country you want didn't work.

I am from Canada and when checking the SERPS I use Google Chrome in incognito mode and then I make sure to search using the following

https://www.google.com/?gl=us


This returns the organic results from the United States point of view (not the ads though). On trips to the US I have confirmed by checking the results that it does work.

Remember though that results by location can be modified not just by your country but at the city level, etc...
2:21 pm on Apr 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 7, 2006
posts: 1136
votes: 140


@JesterMagic

Chrome isn't my default browser - I only use it for compatibility checking - but on looking at it,
https://www.google.com/?gl=us
works with or without Incognito mode as long as Location Tracking is Off (which is my default in all browsers anyway). In Chrome:

chrome://settings/content/location

On checking, if I turn Location Tracking On, in Incognito mode
https://www.google.com/?gl=us
still gives me a lot of UK Ads at the top of results, which implies that it is the location setting, not Incognito mode, that makes the difference.
2:45 pm on Apr 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 7, 2006
posts: 1136
votes: 140


...and on checking again, I'm still getting UK Ads - obviously based on IP address - whichever way I go in Chrome, and although the results using ?gl=us are not what I get from google.co.uk, they are not all US-based either.
6:45 pm on Apr 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

New User

10+ Year Member

joined:Nov 29, 2003
posts: 33
votes: 0


Thanks so much for the guidance. It is interesting what worked and didn't. I turned geo location off in Firefox and chrome and it kept track of my location. I tried the URL [google.com...] which did work and located me in the US. I changed the =US to =CA for Canada but my location remained local. I turned of location service off in Edge and it did work.
8:12 pm on Apr 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 5, 2004
posts: 609
votes: 98


Chrome isn't my default browser either. I only use incognito mode as this insures a fresh browser.
9:25 pm on Apr 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

New User

10+ Year Member

joined:Nov 29, 2003
posts: 33
votes: 0


I tried using Chrome incognito mode however it still locates me in the city I live in.
I find it even more bizarre that a VPN is the same.
12:01 am on Apr 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:Apr 15, 2003
posts:958
votes: 33


Go to google.ca and select "Search Settings" from the "Settings" menu. At the bottom of the page you'll find "Region Settings" which will allow you to be treated as a user from the region you select.
7:09 pm on Apr 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

New User

10+ Year Member

joined:Nov 29, 2003
posts: 33
votes: 0


With Canada set as my region and even in incognito mode the search results are still local.
7:21 pm on Apr 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member brotherhood_of_lan is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Jan 30, 2002
posts:5040
votes: 57


There's a uule parameter that you can append to URLs to get geo-specific results down to the city. It's been in use a long time, just a bit of a pain to create the uule param.
9:09 pm on Apr 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 7, 2006
posts: 1136
votes: 140


@Midas67

What device & OS are you using?
9:53 pm on Apr 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

New User

10+ Year Member

joined:Nov 29, 2003
posts: 33
votes: 0


Windows 10 and also IOS.
10:04 pm on Apr 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 7, 2006
posts: 1136
votes: 140


If you haven't already done so, you could try turning off geolocation in W10 (Settings - Privacy - Location, which is under App Setttings) and iOS (Settings - Privacy - Location Services).

Let us know what that does, if anything!
10:24 pm on Apr 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

New User

10+ Year Member

joined:Nov 29, 2003
posts: 33
votes: 0


geolocation is turned off in both devices.
10:37 pm on Apr 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 7, 2006
posts: 1136
votes: 140


OK, so you are left with the question of what is telling Google where you are. I'm confident that if you use Tor you'll see results based on whatever IP address Google is getting (currently, for me, it is in Oklahoma), so if you're still getting Canadian results through a VPN my guess is that the leak is browser-based.

Interesting that you're seeing it in iOS too. Do you have Google accounts set-up on both devices?
11:22 pm on Apr 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

New User

10+ Year Member

joined:Nov 29, 2003
posts: 33
votes: 0


I have Google accounts on both devices.
8:12 pm on Apr 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 7, 2006
posts: 1136
votes: 140


That might be a contributing problem, especially if you are logged in while doing the search, but a central obstacle is Google's obsession with personalisation (in which geolocation is a core component). EU privacy law (GDPR) hasn't deterred them, and their services - including search - are designed to gather information, not to impart it. The longer their titbits keep a rat's attention, the more they learn about the rat.

Tor, using
https://www.google.com/search?gl=us
or any other country code, definitely works if you can't do it any other way, and if you haven't done so then I recommend you give it a try, if only to see messages like:

"YouTube Privacy Warning

YouTube (owned by Google) does not let you watch videos anonymously. As such, watching YouTube videos here will be tracked by YouTube/Google."