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Google geotargeting in action


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#1 JohnMu

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 06:53 AM

Do you know how strong geotargeting is a factor in Google's search? Which searches do you think would change if done from different locations / countries worldwide? Do you think the use of local Google domains (eg google.de vs google.co.uk) play a role in your favorite search results?

If you want to know for sure - try my new tool: http://oy-oy.eu/google/world/

It puts two sets of Google results right next to each other - taken from different corners of the globe, even in different languages if you want. Compare the results of your own local search to the results in China (or Switzerland). See how the results change (or not), see how the PPC advertising changes.

It's hard to work out queries that make sense to be highly geotargeted. We looked at numeric queries (eg, "1", "2", "3", etc.) here in the forum a while back, those certainly change a bit. I tried somethings that should at least target different ads ("law", "lawyer", etc.). What else would make sense to target?

What I found highly interesting is that there seem to be only a small number of regions with different, geolocation adjusted results and all other regions share the same results. Previously I thought the results were always slightly geotargeted, but it does not appear to be so.

Let me know what you think! Give us some interesting queries if you notice anything :).

John

#2 JohnMu

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 07:19 AM

Something interesting I noticed... I'm not sure if this is something I should have known about already :). I noticed that sometimes Google does NOT use the page title as the link-title in the results. Is that normal?

I just have a query for "2" open for www.google.com with USA vs China and it's showing an entry as:
"Spider-Man Movie" (USA)
vs
"Spider-Man 3" (China)
(strange that it should rank #2 for "2", but I suppose that's from the last version of the movie)

Is that new? or am I just late to the game?

John

#3 MadLuck

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 08:55 AM

Hmmm,
As a US based site, I found it interesting that I ranked higher on the UK datacenter than the US one. Of course this could be the general variation across datacenters that I've noticed before and not related to geotargeting???

#4 JohnMu

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 09:03 AM

MadLuck, try specifying a specific datacenter in the dropdowns (instead of google.com, either one of the numeric IP addresses or one of the oy-oy names) - that way you can be certain that the results are from the same datacenter with the same settings.

John

#5 MadLuck

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 09:27 AM

Oops, I didn't see that option the first time ;)

So I came up with the same results for US, UK and Canada - way down the line for China. The other few countries I tried returned with an error :) .

Another fun "toy", thanks John :applause:

#6 krumel

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 09:35 AM

Nice tool.
You have on Datacenter google.ro (for Romania), but on location the is no "Romania" listed.
Or I misunderstood something.

Anyway..great tool, thanks for sharing.
:)

#7 JohnMu

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 10:04 AM

Hi Krumel

With google.ro it just uses that domain for the requests from whatever location you choose. "Google.ro" could also be mapped to different datacenters (it's slowly getting too complex to track :)).

For the main part, I am using anonymous / transparent proxies that I have tested to work and that access the web from their known IP addresses. Many of the proxy servers available partner with other proxies and the requests exit from some other IP - I removed those from my list (and about 99% of the other proxy servers as well for various reasons) of servers since they might issue their request from some other country. With the proxy servers it also means that if they should stop being available (which seems to happen every now and then) then that will result in errors (as you've seen, MadLuck). I try to have multiple servers per country, but you take what you can get :).

In order to stop being that dependant on third-party proxy servers I have created a simple PHP and ASP.NET scripts that also proxy requests to Google from my other servers. However, I don't have servers all over the world, so I can't cover it all by myself :D.

If YOU have a server where you would be willing to host a copy of that script in Romania (or elsewhere) - please contact me, I'll give you the script and at the very least set up a link to a site of your choice as a thanks for the hosting the proxy. I assume the traffic would be minimal and the URL would remain private for this tool only (only Google + co accesses, nothing else).

John

#8 krumel

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 10:14 AM

I`ll see about the server.

`till then...can you put this tool on your firefox extension tool?
That will be great.
I`m using it a lot.
Thanks.

#9 JohnMu

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 05:04 PM

Just added it to the extension (and cleaned up some of the other tools as well), good idea, Krumel: http://oy-oy.eu/firefox/se/ (does it notify the update for you? I'm still not sure if I have that part right ;))

John

#10 JohnMu

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Posted 21 September 2006 - 02:44 PM

I just added language choice as well - another one of those things you could check and try to optimize for -- it sets the user-interface and results-set language (if possible; pseudo languages like "hacker" and "Elmer Fudd" don't bring back translated results :D).

Looking through my logs, one thing surprised me a bit - very many accesses from China. I knew chineese queries would be tried often after the adjustments Google made, but I did not expect that users from within China would want to check results from elsewhere (but it makes sense - it's a sort of "highlighter" for them to use to compare results from elsewhere and to determine the items that are filtered). How long until the server is blacklisted / blocked from China? :D

John



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