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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:
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.