Weird one

Discussion in 'Search Engine Optimization and Marketing' started by Edge, Aug 20, 2014.

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  1. Edge

    Edge Member

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    This has got me stumped now. For some reason we are ranking well on search terms such as 'web design liverpool' on google.com getting either #1 or 2. However on google.co.uk we get about #5.

    We've set our location in webmaster tools to target the UK so kind of puzzled why we do so much better on google.com.

    Bright ideas anyone?
     
  2. chrishirst

    chrishirst Well-Known Member Staff Member

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    Because rankings (that YOU can see) mean absolutely nothing.

    Does "web design liverpool" actually bring converting traffic from Search or is it just a "willy waving vanity" phrase?
     
  3. Edge

    Edge Member

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    When we have ranked in the top 3 for our keyword phrases which include 'web design liverpool' then we have got regular enquiries and we checked and yes buyers type in 'web design liverpool' - why? Don't ask me but they do. Now for some reason the rankings we used to get on google.co.uk are on google.com - mixture of #1s and #2s. I find that bizarre as we have done everything to tell Google we are UK focused - language settings, webmaster tools country setting, structured data etc.
     
  4. chrishirst

    chrishirst Well-Known Member Staff Member

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    Okay, so as far as you can tell, the phrase does bring conversions.

    So, the first thing that you need to "unlearn" is that 'rank checking' is useful, because it simply isn't.

    On the generic .com interface more weighting of the results displayed is applied to results that are "local" to the users IP, that is what the webmaster tools "preference" is for and does when the site is located on a generic TLD (.com, .net, .org etc etc.)
    It means.
     
  5. chrishirst

    chrishirst Well-Known Member Staff Member

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    so to continue, [after pressing the wrong button.]

    If you are using the .co.uk Google UI the user IP weighting is turned down because Google's system has already determined what "local / international" preferences should be used, so the results are filtered/weighted towards .co.uk ccTLDs and document URLs that indicate they ARE for a predominantly UK audience.

    Your site is on a gTLD and is almost apologetic about being targeted at a UK audience.

    If you want to get better results from UK searchers, make sure they know you ARE in the UK.
     
  6. Robert-B

    Robert-B Member

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    Google bases it on your location as Chris said, so it uses your ip as a location reference. The best way look at rankings is to clear all your history and cache, cookies etc. Then try using incognito or a vpn - https://www.hidemyass.com/
     
  7. chrishirst

    chrishirst Well-Known Member Staff Member

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    Then you would see results based on where the VPN IP is registered.
     
  8. Edge

    Edge Member

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    I use SEO rank checker to check the rank which doesn't work off my location.

    When you say 'So, the first thing that you need to "unlearn" is that 'rank checking' is useful, because it simply isn't' could you elaborate?
     
  9. chrishirst

    chrishirst Well-Known Member Staff Member

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  10. chrishirst

    chrishirst Well-Known Member Staff Member

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  11. Edge

    Edge Member

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    I checked the above two articles and they make the following assumptions:

    1. People are foolish enough to check their rankings through the search box on a browser whilst logged into Google
    2. People are so stupid that they try to rank for search phrases which don't drive traffic from buyers
    3. Rankings wildly fluctuate - they don't most of the time

    I find the articles above assume very little sophistication on behalf of people checking their rankings and because they do it in such a stupid way then therefore checking for rankings is pointless. I think it would have been more useful to argue that if you don't do it right then it's pointless.

    Both logic and experience tells me that when ranking well for keyword phrases that research and analytics has shown to be used by people looking for our services then enquiries come in by email and the phone rings a lot. We rank well on other non local phrases and it gets us business.

    Even if I was checking my rankings using the search box in my browser and therefore getting geo-targeted results it wouldn't matter. The search phrases were local and targeted at locals. It would arguably be a better idea as I'd see results that local people see Anyway, I've often double checked the rankings supplied by the ranking tool by doing a manual check. Occasionally you get a slight difference.

    One final point, I'd argue that when you start to rank well on a broad brush of keyword phrases associated with the services you sell it's probably a good indicator of how well you are ranking on similar keyword phrases which you haven't analysed.
     
  12. Edge

    Edge Member

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    I just thought I'd add - I get that results are personalised but only to an extent. On the whole for a broad brush of keyphrases I'd expect to see people across the UK seeing at least 'similar' results when they search. I don't think the whole personalisation thing is serving up radically different search results for each user but am open to being proved otherwise.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2014
  13. chrishirst

    chrishirst Well-Known Member Staff Member

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    "people" may not, but "SEOs" certainly do. The thing is, WHY do YOU need to know? You can tell if your site is being shown to people by looking at the site logs.
    Are YOU actually going to use Google to find your site???
    What are you going to do if Google doesn't show "your site" in one search but does for the same search an hour later?

    SEOs expect the 'home' page of every site they work on to 'rank' for every 'key' word or phrase, people want to find ANY URL that looks as if if may be a match for their query.

    SEO "experts" ARE stupid and have little sophistication, they have this dumb idea that they can know EXACTLY how search works from looking at one tiny little aspect of 'rankings'. The question that is STILL most frequently asked is "Where have my rankings gone"

    TEN years ago when everybody using Google were shown exactly the same results 'rank checking' was 'useful'; up to a point, but these days when Google will show a "pattern" searcher "different" results just because they can, it simply causes confusion.

    SEOs do not understand the newly discovered or updated URLs WILL ALWAYS be shown in the top five or six results for that particular datacentre (or server) and they mistake this for indicating that Google 'prefers' "fresh" or "updated" content.
     
  14. Edge

    Edge Member

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    461
    You've asked the question so let me reply. Traffic goes up and down and varies in quality based on the kind of content you produce on and around your site. You need metrics to to see whether the content you are developing is attracting the right kind of traffic. Having done your research you know that people looking for web designers will be using a variety of phrases usually with 'web', 'designer' etc in there. It's useful to know if said people are likely to see your site or not.

    Just doesn't happen (...much)

    I'm guessing the qualifier in that statement is the quotes surrounding the word 'experts' otherwise I'd say that was mighty dismissive and arrogant.

    Just to satisfy my curiosity, do me a favour and type in 'web design liverpool' into google.co.uk and screenshot me over what you see.

    You'll have to elaborate on that one as I'm not sure i'm getting you 100%. I know from experience of tracking rank and traffic that if I leave a site alone both rank and traffic drop (and enquiries too!).
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2014
  15. chrishirst

    chrishirst Well-Known Member Staff Member

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  16. Edge

    Edge Member

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  17. chrishirst

    chrishirst Well-Known Member Staff Member

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    Then you are in a fairly vulnerable position where your business is reliant upon something that you are not actually in control of.

    No problem, I'll run some sequences from different machines and browsers.
     

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