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Google now delivers the same search results regardless of your location!



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Google now delivers the same search results regardless of your location!

Google just had a massive update regarding what results are shown when using different Google domains.

For example, if you were located in Italy and wanted to use google.it for local searches and google.com for international searches, Google used to deliver two different search results, one for google.it and one for google.com.

After this update, ALL results will be the same no matter what Google domain you are using. In other words, the results will be the same both for google.it and google.com, which makes me wonder why Google is giving us the option to access these domains anymore.

It also doesn't matter if you turn the browser location detector off, Google is still going to figure out your location based on your IP address.

This SUCKS for a lot of reasons, both it will definitely suck for SEO specialists that have international clients and simply need to see direct and real search results for those specific Google ccTLDs.

This is the official message from Google:

"Today, we’ve updated the way we label country services on the mobile web, the Google app for iOS, and desktop Search and Maps. Now the choice of country service will no longer be indicated by domain. Instead, by default, you’ll be served the country service that corresponds to your location. So if you live in Australia, you’ll automatically receive the country service for Australia, but when you travel to New Zealand, your results will switch automatically to the country service for New Zealand. Upon return to Australia, you will seamlessly revert back to the Australian country service."

John Mueller (Google Webmaster) said the following on Twitter:
Google now delivers the same search results regardless of your location!
Of course, I believe all of this to be false. This will undoubtedly have an impact on SEO and overall search results.

Not to mention the fact that Google is kind of breaking the privacy laws when ignoring your request NOT to be tracked by your location.

I first noticed this update when a big client of mine from the US got on the first page of Google with the website I'm optimizing. That website was previously on page 3 of Google Search Results and I was slowing climbing it up for 6 months now for a highly popular keyword.

Because this was a very big client and I had only one keyword to check, I used to do it daily, manually from google.com in incognito mode with the location turned off. So abruptly the website I was optimizing got on the first page, of course, I got excited and contacted my clients letting him know the good news.

Unfortunately, he told me that every rank check he did the websites was on the second page (it still climbed up).

So I implemented a US proxy and had a look myself. Indeed the results were different and what I was from my IP address on google.com was identical with the results on google.ro.

As I said, these are bad news for every SEO expert out there with international clients but also for the ordinary folk who just wants to see google.com results and not results tied up to his location or country!

I mean, I personally prefer English based content from popular international websites. I don't want to be forced into seeing only local results.

I wonder if Google understands how they put up borders on the Internet with this update.

What do you think about this change and does this update affect you in any way?

The natural response will be to install a VPN or use proxies. This is will probably be the logical choice for me since I really don't have another alternative. I need to see true international results.

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anwebservices

Ohhh Google..... Pain in the but Google now delivers the same search results regardless of your location! As soon we get used to something they change the game rules, as usual. In some way i see it very useful from some point of view, wile in the other hand it's real crap... Once again i feel like we don't build websites for our self or our customers, but just to play "Google game" and be slaves of their global monopoly...

Even if we (as SEO freelancers) use proxies to see international search pages, it's hard to know what our customer's visitors going to see when they search for something. Kind of messy right now, or i have to shake my head better to put all this in function LOL Google now delivers the same search results regardless of your location!




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Cristian

I fully agree! I think this is the ultimate proof SEO is not dead. Not dead but it is becoming harder and harder to be implemented! Ranking with the help of software and junk black-hat type backlinks is a thing of the past! Now even the black-hatters need to adapt or fade away.

Google is making it highly difficult for SEO specialists but also any type of online analyst out there.
It takes me now more than 5 minutes to figure out an accurate rank behind a proxy when it took me a few seconds just a few weeks ago.




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Corzhens

For an SEO worker, yes, I’d say you have been working for Google since Google is always changing the rules. But come to think of it, do you really believe those talks about changes in policy? Even if it was Google that released the statement about policy changes, are we sure that it is true? I have a feeling that Google is trying to confuse the users so we would try harder in our SEO methods.




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gamergurl

I guess you mean *regardless ;)

Anyway, I do agree with you that while maybe for the end user this doesn't matter the slightest, for someone having their bread and butter depend on this it's a major change, and not for better. I really don't see the point in not simply using country-specific operations, because doing this won't really save you (or well, Google) anything in any shape or form.

Well, maybe something good will ultimately come out of it.




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potentialwriter

That is the best way to make the most out of Google. Getting targeted traffic from Google helps a lot in achieving your money goals. Using the Google search console helps you track all of the search results for your niche website, check which of your web pages have been indexed by google and other search engines, and choose your target location.




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kgord

Well that doesn't sound good at all. I guess the best bet is try to be located in local search directories and pages if possible. I wonder what the rationale is of Google to do this. It doesn/t seem especially fair especially to internet entrepreneurs.




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TimothyAlex

As I understand it, Google has increasingly been incorporating local proximity and relevance into their algorithms. So, it kinda makes sense the different national specific versions of Google would start using the main results. This will ensure that the search user is receiving the best, most reliable search results for their query. While the specific user may not see a difference in results between google.com and google it, two different users (on in the US and one in Italy) are receiving different results depending on the specific search and searcher. So, today, SEO must be focused on the target audience and search intent, not just a keyword and a formulaic list of on-site elements.




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Judas2018

Yeah this was always spoken about as an issue with google. People in the states or North American territories, getting different search results from those in Europe, Asia, etc. I guess this is a good thing because it will help boost traffic for some sites. Also it kind of puts the whole world in sync. So we're all receiving as close to the same information from google as possible.




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Baburra

I didn't even know that Google.it was an option and I find it unfortunate that I'm only finding about this now when it's too late because I definitely would have liked to have been able to play around with this to see my local searches. However, I guess this is alright since people around the world would get the same experience and this way we all get to share our findings more accurately with each other.




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overcast

I am not sure what made them change. I find the global results not so relevant. I mean business with same name and different locations can be one issue. I guess google needs to rethink their set of the actions. And I am sure that would surely help in many ways for the delivery of the quality of the search. Not many google users are aware of this part. You can see that quality results definitely be helpful in that context.




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augusta

Saw this update a while back and I was like it a bad market for SEO experts. Even a blogger friend was complaining seriously.

It might be the right to do according to Google and there's nothing we can do about it than to follow their rules or we decide a means with a proxy or VPN.




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Cristian

No, it is not right, not even by user standards. Why would you force me to see only local results?
I may be interested in national level businesses or global news, why on earth would Google force ONLY local results on me?




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DarthHazard

I guess it's a good thing for the end-user because we now will see the best results for a certain keyword no matter which version of Google you are using. I have never really used anything other than Google.co.uk, does the Italian one return results in Italian or is it still in English unless they change the language setting?




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Everett

I can totally see some down sides to this, but Google seems to know what it is doing and has been doing their thing for almost 2 decades. I agree with some previous repliers that it will boost traffic for some sites which seems like a great thing however some sites may see a decrease in traffic.

I loved how Google had multiple domains, and you could go to those domains to view how searches are for particular countries. This gave you an insight into how you were ranking via Google in other countries. With this new update, this is based upon IP address I am assuming as well and whether or not you have location settings on or off. I also wonder if Google could potentially know that you were spoofing your location and gave you the correct results based upon the real country you are in. This would seem like a bad thing if users were only allowed to use one search engine based upon their location and they could detect if the location was spoofed, that would be devastating for people in the SEO field that have international clients that want to rank for other country results.




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Cristian

Exactly! So why even keep those domains around anymore, why would Google still allowing us to access them when we're still going to get the same results?
Maybe a redirect type thingy will follow.

To tell you the truth I hope Google comes back from this after a few weeks of tests and unhappy customers. They did stuff like this in the past, coming back from updates and bad decisions.




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cmoneyspinner

"I wonder if Google understands how they put up borders on the Internet with this update." Your thought has me thinking. It sounds so ironic. After all, the beauty of the Internet is that it supposedly eliminates borders. I confess that the impact of this update on my use of the search engine is negligible. Of a truth, when I Google something, all I know is what I see in the results. The location never really mattered to me if I got the information I was looking for. But I can understand the impact on you. At least you figured out a "workaround".




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jeiss

Oh, thou mighty Google! Always having something up her sleeves. I just hope this updates doesn't affect SEO. Why did Google acquire all these country's domains in the first place?




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mildredtabitha

I also would not want to be forced into seeing only google local results. I prefer when google displays results which are best and to the point regardless of the country or location. I also want to see international results and you are right in saying that this update will disadvantage many SEO experts with international clients.




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vinaya

I have noticed the difference in the search results when I used google.com and when I used google.com.np. If google is going to display the same search results for .com and .com.np or any country for that matter, how does the benefit for the searchers? If there are any disadvantages, what are they? Does this matter for a person who does local SEO?




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Corzhens

I am not aware of what Google I am using when I do a search because I just click on the icon in the favorites on my browser and Google will instantly appear. And the search goes. So to me, it is transparent whether the search is done using the international version of Google or the country specific version of Google to our place. But maybe there is a different in the search list since a local search will be more focused regarding the location. So maybe it depends on the purpose of the search on what kind of Google to use.




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jaymish2

I agree that they show the same search results wherever you are. However I think that your local search results will come up first then the rest. So if you are in the USA and you google something, they will show your local results first, followed by any relevant international ones. So confusing. Google ranking is a very complicated area especially for some of us. I wonder what tricks you would have to use, to rank on the first page in another Country?




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DanielLee888

Google shows the same results even when you use VPN services .. I travel a lot and to use proxies or VPN to get an access to certain web sources, but search engines still define my geo location.




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