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Old 06-07-2004   #1
Nacho
 
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Should Search Engines adopt different results outside the U.S.?

A discussion about new directions to search engine’s algorithms for results focused on Multilingual Search Markets and Non-U.S. Engines.

Just recently (from these previous threads: Google Results Different Outside The US and Use of Regionally-Specific Domains) we have learned that Google.com and Yahoo.com are taking a new direction to their algorithms for the Multilingual Search Markets to show different results to those users searching outside the U.S. as well as when “search all the web” using versions of the search engines for a specific country, where they are favoring webpages from those regions without filtering results.

These are the key factors found so far that are playing an important role to the rankings:
1) Having a top level domain from the country you are targeting (examples: .de, .com.uk, .com.mx, .com.au, etc.).
2) Hosting your website in that country that you are targeting.
3) The website should have very rich content in the language you are targeting.
4) Getting inbound links from websites in the country your are targeting.
5) IP Addresses from where the user is searching from.
This topic is not only important for all users, but also for search engine marketers that have clients from other countries and when checking results (including using the Google API) they may be different, therefore causing confusion.

We would like to hear your opinions about weather this general strategy by some of the mayor search engines should be adapted to all search engines in effort to have better and more relevant results, or if you think that when you are searching in the .com U.S. version of the mayor engines (such as Google.com, Yahoo.com, MSN.com or others) results should not differ, please let us know your thoughts as well.

Rules:
1. “I like it” or “this stinks” posts without justification will be removed.
2. You must give clear concepts and examples of why it should or shouldn’t be adapted. For example, one member mentioned that hosting fees in other countries are 5x the same costs in U.S., therefore increasing investment costs to enter in markets outside the U.S.
3. If you know of other key factors that current search engines are using to differ results without filtering, please let us know and give examples.
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Old 06-07-2004   #2
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I think they should make the results as relevant as posible and localizing them does that.

People can search through proxies (or some other jazz like that) if they want their rankings in other markets.

Google's job is not to show webmasters their rankings, but to show users quality results.

Similar to the market entry bariers are the expenses to build a good linking campaign. In addition the use of a local domain also makes sites able to easier get local links in region exclusive directories, which offsets some of the costs.

If something is really good and is not locally hosted and has a .com domain name people can still link to it from that geographic region. I am sure if a site has enough links from the same location and mentions its location on the page then it can probably bypass many region based filters.
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Old 06-07-2004   #3
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If 20 sites had the exact same off-page and on-page seo factors, then I would have to say that Google should look at the location of the searcher when serving up results.

Don't you think that a Web site created in Sweden and hosted in Sweden, would be more relevant to a Swedish searcher, if in fact the other SEO factors are equal amongst the search query?

I do.
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Old 06-08-2004   #4
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I think it is very importaint for the se's to offer regional filtering of their index based on the country in question. It enables them to offer the same relevancy that the user would receive from a country specific se.

Google for example provodes this option on it's internationl homepages. I also think it is importaint to be able to search "all the web" although I think Many se's would do well to have the regional option set as default. as oppsed to "the web".

Lets be honest they provide regional ads so they might as well provide regional results.

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Old 06-10-2004   #5
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Cool It's coming..

I think this is a trend we can see coming right now. Gimpsy is doing this, for example. It's surely something search engine can easily improve relevancy... after all not everyone lives in NY.
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Old 06-10-2004   #6
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Webmasters aside, I don't believe users want no choice in the matter. From my location, if Google made all results relevant to Australia and regional surroundings for my search and Yahoo still had the "search the web" and "search Australia" choice, I would be using Yahoo. If I want a product or service from Australia, then I click that little box and get Australian results or search a purely Australian search engine. If I want to search the web, because Australia does not contain the information, product, service or is just simply too expensive, then I want to search overseas. As a general user, you wouldn't know how to do that around proxies and so forth, you just want it in your face to make the choice for youself.

I access plenty of things from around the world, and so does my wife and kids. I know how to access other engines, my wife and kids do not. Without the choice on the search engines to select regionalization or global, then the search engines could technically be limiting a regions choices for quality results IMO because we would have to fight through all the Australian regionalized results to get to the content we wanted overseas.

Users must be given the choice, not assumed that they just want it shoved down their throat IMHO.
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Old 06-11-2004   #7
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Outside the US? You mean outside France?

Funny how the US is assumed the centre of the Net, and the rest is 'outside' it

The way I see it, the single factor in determining 'good results' from a search engine is relavancy. I define this elusive term as 'pertaining to the perceived needs or wants of the user'. The problem with the criteria used by Search Engines (SE) to determine geographical relevancy are so flimsy, that the best they can do is usually far from satisfactory.

Let's examine the possible factors that a Search Engine (NOT a directory) can look at (taking them from Nacho's post - bar the links...)

1. The hosting country
2. The domain name of the site
3. The language of the site
4. The searcher location (or his ISP)

None of them actually help much...
1. Anyone with any business sense will host the site in the US or Canada. It's by far the cheapest and most reliable.
2. Domain names are not a good indication. A german site may well cater for Australia and and a Swiss site for Italia. Or, perhaps closer to 'home' a Canadian site would consider the US as a natural marketing target.
3. If the language is English - it can be any of the many countries that speak it. But even if it's French, German or Spanish - the site may or may not be relevant for a particular location.
4. The searcher location is really a bad indication (for filtering results). Let's assume that the searcher is coming from Canada. Let's further assume that the SE wants to show Canadian sites. But the only way the SE KNOWS what is a Canadian site is... the first three parameters! In other words, the Searcher ISP can only be used for 'auto filtering' of results and NOT for deciding WHAT those results should be, which, as I understand, was the original question

Unfortunately, Directories are not doing much better... First, I find that labeling all the world (outside the US) as 'regional' is patronising. For example, did you know that there are just 7,300 sites in the US? That's what the Yahoo directory claims...

But even if we accept that, the decision that the Editor is making in allocating a site to a 'region' is fraught with difficulties. Where would you put a .co.uk site where tourists can book tours of London, even before they arrived theres? Tricky... Or a .fr site that sells French wine, has both an English and French section and ships only to EU countries? Tricky...

The only directory that tries to break the mold is indeed Gimpsy, as mentioned by Alavina. The criterion there is called 'coverage': Which country or area in the world is SERVICED by the site. Thus, in the examples above, the first site will have a 'World' coverage (anyone can book the London tours from anywhere in the world) while the second will have a EU coverage (anyone in the EU can get cases of wine from it).

The problem with Gimpsy is that it has no place for sites which are informative - but do not provide an online SERVICE. Perhaps the idea can be extended - but I am not sure how.

Cheers

MC

Last edited by mrdch : 06-11-2004 at 07:51 PM.
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Old 06-11-2004   #8
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Bloody well said MC....Bravo and congratulations all round.
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Old 06-12-2004   #9
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Which reminds me of an old satirewire story........

Quote:
Funny how the US is assumed the centre of the Net, and the rest is 'outside' it
<aside> Which reminded me of one of the funniest pseudonews stories I have ever read:

"Sensing a market opportunity, Net Nanny, makers of Net Nanny filtering software, announced this week it will introduce NetNarrow, an English-only product that automatically filters out content that appears to be international....... "

"..... You'd think these Internet people would know that," Barker added. "I mean, that's why the Internet is called America Online, right? It's supposed to be about America."

Its from satirewire.com - about 4 years ago.

http://www.satirewire.com/news/0010/international.shtml

</aside>
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Old 06-12-2004   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrdch
The problem with Gimpsy is that it has no place for sites which are informative - but do not provide an online SERVICE. Perhaps the idea can be extended - but I am not sure how.
use the word "research"
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