One of the fun challenges of international SEO is that we don’t all use the same Google.
When we’re looking at, and optimising for different countries we tend to always look at competitors and the verticals we’re entering, and who Google is ranking – and then try and reverse engineer why.
The question we don’t ask often enough however is are the thousands of ranking factors being weighted the same? The answer is often no.
Google has to cater for different markets and user expectations the same as we do when we look to expand a website into multiple locales and territories.
What’s the difference between Google US and other Google locales?
Google US has historically been deemed to hold the highest standards. Panda and other core algorithm changes are made in the US first and the changes are monitored.
Changes are then typically rolled out globally after engineers are satisfied with that they won’t cause negative user experiences.
Another factor is the competition within Google.com tends to be many times higher then most other countries.
If you use Google.fr you are mostly competing with French focused companies, where in Google.com you are often competing with not only companies in the United States, but a lot of companies also offering products and services in the US market.
Google Personalised Search
All searches on Google Search are associated with a browser cookie record.
Then, when a user performs a search, the search results are not only based on the relevance of each web page to the search term, but also on which websites the user (or someone else using the same browser) visited through previous search results. This provides a more personalised experience that can increase the relevance of the search results for the particular user.
Such filtering may also has some side effects, such as creating a filter bubble.
Changes in Googles search algorithm in later years put less importance on user data, which means the impact of personalised search is limited on search results.
Can I replicate searches in other countries?
If you’re looking to emulate searches from different countries as part of your international SEO research, you need to do more than change domain.
It was announced in 2017 that you’re no longer able to emulate different search results by changing domain [Source]. Instead you need to use a VPN, or a tool such as TechnicalSEO.com’s Local Search Emulator.