The mystery of the UK SERPS - updated

Wed 10 June 2009 11:06, Bas van den Beld

The mystery of the UK SERPS - updated

For a period the UK SEO's last week were talking about one specific topic. Not the wedding of Jon and Lisa was the 'talk of the town' but UK SERPS were a UK trending topic on Twitter and some blogs. What was the case? Some SEOs noticed big differences in the search results.

It seemed as if US results are mixed in with UK results. Google.co.uk usually only features "English" results. If you want them combined with US results and results from other English-speaking countries you normally have to go to Google.com. Now the US results seemed to have 'entered' Google.co.uk.

Kevin Gibbons was one of the first UK bloggers to notice the differences. He posted on SEOptimise that he spotted UK results mixed with US results. On Twitter the talk continued with some noticing differences and others not.

Mystery
What is going on seemed to be somewhat of a mystery. Obviously Google is testing out something. Maybe they are testing a new algorithm or maybe Google UK is just doing a search engine ranking update in the UK. The results were mixed for a couple of days and now seemed to have settled down.

Googleuk-result

Though the UK English is slightly different from US English a mix of results could be logical. However, with for example local search in mind the .co.uk- site really should have the UK-focus. Do British people want to see US results? Probably at some type of keywords yes, on others no.

If Google would really be mixing up the results this could have a major impact on how to optimize for English results. However, as we can see it now it is not going to be that. It was either a hick up or a test.

Have you noticed the differences or made a screenshot? Leave a comment!

UPDATED:

Thanks to Both Rob in the comments and Wendy from Edinburgh on Twitter we got some examples about the results still being mixed up. And not just with US results, but apparently also with Australian results. The mystery isn't solved yet...

UK_SERPS_exmpl1
UK_SERPS_exmpl2

  • Comments (21)
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Comments (21)

 

  • Hmm, not sure I like this. It means UK SEO's will have to start competing with US organisations that frequently have vastly larger budgets for this sort of thing. And when searching for 'car insurance comparison' is a UK user really helped with American search results?

    Wo 10 jun 2009, 11:21


  • One of my key terms is still messed up - with a 5yr old tech page from a finish university ranking above us - so from my POV its looking like Google playing with a) geolocation and b) the whole "trusted domains" issue

    Wo 10 jun 2009, 11:30


  • @Rob, do you have a screenshot?

    Could probably be something with the trusted domains, especcially since its not gone. If it would be a test it would be long gone by now I guess...

    Wo 10 jun 2009, 11:43


  • http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=adsl&pws=0&hl=en&num=10
    If you look there - results 8 & 9 are odd (pushed me down) in that they have few links (2 & 4 respectively), and aren't UK based.

    But have been around a LONG time (1996 & 2000) and are from "trusted" domains (.edu & finish university), however they only ranked in this recent change (not the previous "trust" one).

    Wo 10 jun 2009, 11:57


  • Over the past week I've not really noticed a mix of non-UK and UK results in my search terms but have noticed huge fluctuations in results for many sites that I analyse.

    Changes are occurring almost hourly and it can only be related to Google algorithm tweaks/testing.

    Wo 10 jun 2009, 23:29


  • Hi,

    We are based in Melbourne, Australia and we have noticed significant changes in the SERPS for google.com.au.

    We have experienced some droppings in rank with some of our clients, being outranked by websites from the US and the UK.

    Do 11 jun 2009, 02:00


  • I'm seeing this all over the place now - had noticed some changes in rankings but hadnt realised that it was US sites jumping in. Seeing it on UK searches for SEO and SEO Company - lots of US results there at the moment.

    Another example is "family homes kent" http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&rlz=1T4GGLJ_enGB246GB247&q=fa... - top results are all US based.

    I sincerely hope that this is something that is being tested - at the moment this is going to have a big impact on UK sites ranking well in Google and could seriously drop their relevance.

    Do 11 jun 2009, 11:55


  • This algo change or whatever has totally messed things up for my site on the phrases SEO and link building, I was 1st page on both, now I am down to page 3 for SEO. This sucks, why on earth would anyone from the UK want to visit SEO.com?

    Do 11 jun 2009, 18:19


    • Davey

    I have also seen a huge problem with Australian SERPs changing. Seems like some big banks here in Aus rank on the front page for highly competitive keywords even though their websites completely disregard all basic SEO.

    For instance, one bank can now rank for a highly competitive 2-word keyword despite having no mention of the keyword in the title, URL, meta desc, meta keywords, h1-h6 and only having the keyword 5 times in the body.

    Also, we're seeing a raft of USA and UK sites and blogs flood the SERPs. I wish Google would stop fiddling around with the algo, rollbacks or whatever they are doing.

    Ma 29 jun 2009, 03:54


  • Davey you have spotted some more evidence pointing to a brand update.

    Ma 10 aug 2009, 15:06


  • I sincerely hope that this is something that is being tested - at the moment this is going to have a big impact on UK sites ranking well in Google and could seriously drop their relevance.

    Za 29 mei 2010, 01:30


  • That's all depends on Google algorithm. But this will make a lot of impact on UK sites rankings.

    Do 3 jun 2010, 08:16


    • Commenter

    This mixing of results continues to pop up and is definitely bad news for UK SERPS. Thanks for drawing this to our attention with this article.

    Ma 2 aug 2010, 23:48


  • I know this is an old article but noticed this last year also

    Vr 15 okt 2010, 18:20


  • I don't know whether there was a Google Dance or what, but during the last couple of weeks the results have been all over the place without any consistency whatsoever.

    Wo 6 apr 2011, 14:52


    • Web optimisation

    Google has definitely changed its preference format and results will be harder to come by, but hopefully that helps get rid of the cowboys

    Zo 14 aug 2011, 23:56


  • This still happens now. With the Panda update there was alot of movement in the SERPS here in the UK.

    Wo 30 nov 2011, 21:32


  • Since the recent panda and penguin updates the rankings seem to move and fluctuate more that ever, I also see some really spammy stuff ranking making me think Google is just sending out false indications that it works and people will fall into the trap, all very strange and lost of dancing rankings, hopefully thing will settle before long I believe the most recent update is a slow update that they have been rolling out over an extended period of time hence probably why there has been so much fluctuation

    Vr 12 jul 2013, 22:05


  • I don't know whether there was a Google Dance or what, but during the last couple of weeks the results have been all over the place without any consistency whatsoever...

    Wo 2 okt 2013, 10:25


  • I don't know whether there was a Google Dance or what, but during the last couple of weeks the results have been all over the place without any consistency whatsoever...

    Wo 2 okt 2013, 10:25


  • I don't know whether there was a Google Dance or what, but during the last couple of weeks the results have been all over the place without any consistency whatsoever...

    Wo 2 okt 2013, 10:25

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