Another Video From Matt Cutts?

Matt Cutts has released another video this time about .com websites ranking in different countries. Matt explains that Google looks at the location setting on webmaster tools when deciding which version of Google your site ranks in.

Most SEO’s know about this but maybe some of the Australian .com sites we have seen ranking in the UK have changed their location setting to the UK, which results in their sites ranking in the UK SERPs?

Watch the video, add any thoughts into the comments below.

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UKSERP Problem [travelodge waterloo] – Canada?

Greg Power (great name) pointed out this UK SERP  result for ‘travelodge waterloo’. Here the  the map shows Waterloo Canada not Waterloo London.

ukserp-travelodge-waterloo-canada

A quick look at the natural rankings the number two listing is travellodge in Canada, so the search ranking are wrong too.

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Is Didsbury in England or America?

Around half of the problems highlighted with the UK SERP’s are with duplicate locations. So you search for “flower shop didsbury” looking for a flower shop in Didsbury South Manchester, but Google thinks you are looking for a flower shop in Didsbury Alberta in the United states.

flower-shop-didsbury

Original – http://twitpic.com/jp8lk

This was spotted by @_Chappers_ an SEO who works for Fluid Creativity in Manchester. Well done the Google maps team but the 1st result is a site listing flower shops in the US. But there have been plenty of other cases of this with the maps at the top of the SERPs being incorrect for locations like Manchester, Washington showing locations over the pond.

We know that there are a few lcoations in American that share their name with places in the UK but how many? If there’s hundreds of duplicate locations then Google may be making a lot of mistakes in the UK SERP’s?

Zooming in just above Baltimore, Maryland (been watching the wire recently) I took a screenshot and picked out all the places that share names with places in the UK in a Where’s Wally style.

Click To Enlarge

uk-locations

From that one section I counted 13 locations.

  • Westminster
  • Manchester
  • Hampstead
  • Dover
  • Shrewsbury
  • Cardiff
  • Oxford
  • Aberdeen
  • North East
  • Leeds
  • Elsmere
  • Newport
  • Chester

and strangely

  • Little Brittan

This is one tiny area of the United States which is rather large country. So they must be 1000’s of locations from the UK also sharing a name with a town or city in the US. Are we being a little too harsh on Google when they get one result wrong?

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UKSERP Problem [long distance moving companies] – Multiple Sites

This UK SERP problem was pointed out by LukeEales on twitter, the search for “long distance moving companies” is the worst he’s seen, and I’d have to agree.

the-worst-uk-serp

So let’s break down the 1st page to check each site’s location.

long-distance-moving-companies-serp-1
long-distance-moving-companies-serp-2

I carried on going but there isn’t a UK based company in the top 7 pages.

What’s even more surprising is some of those sites appear in the from UK Results. There are UK websites that are relevant to the search query, a quick search with “long distance moving companies inurl:co.uk” shows a good selection.

Referring back to the post the early this morning about SharkSEO’s theory that Google is using related searches to generate some of the related searches for “long distance moving companies” does feature locations in the United States.

Related-searches-for-long-distance-moving-companies

Are related searches influencing the results in the UK? Even if the search data is from the US?

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SharkSEO found the source of the UK SERPs Problem?

SharkSEO posted last week a theory behind the problems we’ve been seeing in the UK SERPs.  For a full explanation head over to the post but the basic premise is that Google is using related searches to drive some of the results in the UK rankings.

shark-seo

So if a large number related searches mentions of foreign locations it could effect the results in the listings. The example given was “tennis courts for rent” where related searches included “tennis courts hire Singapore”,  “tennis courts hire Perth” and “tennis courts for tent Chicago”.

This then leads to Google preempting your 2nd search so they start to show related results already for the 1st search. The idea is to reduce the number of searches thus giving you a relevant result first time round. But it does not seem to working in the UK SERP’s if SharkSEO theory is correct.

Not all the problematic key phrases in the UK SERPS have related searches that include foreign locations. If you have a UK SERP overun with websites from abroad then check out the related searches. To do this click search options and then related searches.

related-searches

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UK SERPS now has a twibbon

The UK SERPs are still full of non relevant foreign websites and now rishil (yes the one who’s twitter account was suspended yesturday) has created a twibbon to give you the chance to add your support.

A twibbon adds a little ribbon to your twitter picture, you may have seen the one supporting the NHS on many accounts. Now you can get one on your own profile to spread the word about the problems with the UK SERP’s.

twibbon-ukserps

If you want to join the campaign head over to the UK SERP’s twibbon.com account which has been set up by rishil.

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UKSERP Problem [nursing *] – Multiple Sites

After a little quiet period another problem with the UK SERPs was highlighted yesturday by  ismepete a SEO team leader for Verticle Leap. In performing some key phrase research in the nursing home industry Pete noticed that Google is way of the mark with some of their results.

UKSERP-Problem-[nursing--]---Multiple-SitesIn total all of the following key phrases returned some American sites on the 1st and 2nd pages.

  • care services jobs
  • elderly care providers
  • nursing home help
  • family nursing
  • home senior care
  • elderly services
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How does Google Determine your Website’s Location

Many SEO’s think that the current problem with the UKSERP’s is to do with Google’s ability to determine your websites location. So how does Google determine your location? Well Google uses a number of factors to calculate where you are located, the easiest way to show how is with a flow chart.

google-locationflow

So if you have a country specific domain e.g. domain.co.uk, or domain.jp the search engine knows that you are located in the country associated with the domain. No problems for the search engine as you make the decision for them, the other factors below then shouldn’t have en effect. For example this site is hosted in Ireland which is no problem for the site ranking in the UK as the site is a .co.uk domain.

If your a .com, .net, etc then Google then looks at several different factors as no country is associated with those domains. There’s a priority to these factor which is up for debate, I’ve put them in no particular order in the flowchart above but from experience it something along the lines of:

  1. Google Webmaster Tools location setting (if set)
  2. Location of hosting
  3. On page content (e.g. having UK in the title and postal address in footer)
  4. External links
  5. Address of registrar

If you think different please add your order in the comments adding any other factors.

With the current problems in the UK SERPs is this where Google is having a problem? So Google might be taking Australian and American sites and coming to the conclusion that they are based in the UK? If that was the case then they wouldn’t be ranking in their local version of Google, you can’t be based in two locations. Let’s look at an example of “conference lanyards” where www.freshpromotions.com.au a Aussie site ranks at number three in Google UK, is that the case in Google.au?

conference-lanyards-au

Yes,  so it looks like Google don’t have a geo targeting issue at this point. This theory is back up by Matt Cutts who advised in a video that they have just considered more .com website to rank in Google.

But…..

and here is the major talking point, are they doing a second geo-targeting check on the .com sites ? If they are it looks like that check at time’s isn’t making the correct decision, yes it might be letting UK based .com rank but it’s also letting foreign based .com site rank in Google UK which at times isn’t relevant.

Any thoughts? or just jiberish?

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UKSERP Problem [life insurance] – New York Life

Today another little problem in a competitive search result life insurance.  This time evilgreenmonkeyRob Kerry felt like it was time to migrate to Bing due to the problem with New York Life ranking in Google UK for life insurance.

life-insurance-tweet

Now those who think that I’m just ganging up on Americans I’m not. I’ve nothing against any other them, there’s one down at my snooker club who’s a thoroughly nice chap. The problem is you can’t buy life insurance from New York Life if your based in the UK * (I think this is the case tried to find out but their FAQ isn’t great).

Jaamit Durrani tweeted later today that New York Life had since been removed from the UK SERPs. Another mystery solved, wonder if evilgreenmonkey will migrate back to Google?

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UKSERP Problem [home furnishings] – Pottery Barn

Our first case study was found by Jaamit Durrani an SEO who works for Fresh Egg he noticed that for the search term [home furnishing] American based Pottery Barn had managed a ranking at number 1 . He tweeted Matt Cutts on Aug 28th to see if he had an answer.

potter-barn-tweet

That post was then retweeted a few times and then Jaamit noticed today that Pottery Barn had now gone from the rankings, Ikea is now ranking.

So it’s great that little issue is resolved but it looks like it took a manual edit to make the change and it’s not as if we can point out every problem in the UK SERPs to Matt Cutts….. can we?

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