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    "Regional" SERPS - any clues on how they work?


    This last dance has left me puzzled, and the key appears to be something to do with regional results. Why am I puzzled? Well, I've been using the handy google-dance tool to watch the SERPS change across all 9 data centers...and lo and behold, I'm number 1 for several of my target KW combinations, across all datacenters.

    So, break out the champagne, right? Wrong...I talk (okay, gloat) to a colleague, and...he can't see me anywhere in the SERPS, not even the top 25, on any of the 9 datacenters! Whats up? I ask myself...I'm based in mainland Europe, my colleague is in the UK, and we're seeing different results. Not just on www.google, but across *all* dc's.

    Now, the KWs I'm targetting are regional - they are in the UK. My server is in the UK. My target market is browsers from the UK. The only variable not in the UK is me! What I'm trying to understand is how the SERPS can vary so wildly - the top 25 is totally different, depending on if you check from Europe or from the UK.

    So, I'm looking for as much info as possible on Google's regional results. There are three "regional" concepts - the first is whether you search on e.g. google.de, or google.com. The second is whether your actual search term contains a regional word, such as a town name. The third is whether the SERPS are affected by the searcher's physical location. I'm concentrating on the latter two interpretations.

    I can understand how if you search for "shops selling green socks", then you would prefer to see results for shops local to where you are - sensible geo-targetted SERPS. What I can't figure out is why, if you search for "shops selling green socks in London", the SERPS actually vary depending on where you are searching from!

    Any help, thoughts, advice, or pointers much appreciated...not to mention donations for my phone bill, which will be expensive if I have to dial up a UK ISP in order to see the UK SERPS!
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    re: regional SERPs


    Regional SERPS would be interesting indeed. Just for fun, living in NYC, I plugged in "local pizza place" into google, and a got a link to "Cheap Eats: A New York Pizza Place" ... needless to say, I was stunned! The only problem is that the pizza place is in Seattle! hah! :-D

    Seriously though, the way google is set up, there is internal load balancing within each datacenter, if different segments or shards in that datacenter are running different versions of indexes, that would explain different results coming from different places, depending on what shard you were directed to.

    I just ran a test locally in two different browsers. Each doing the same searches on all 9 data centers, and guess what, different results! The searches were performed within a second of each other and got different results!

    Normally, Load Balanacing also uses something called "stickyness" that keeps you going back to the same machines. This would expain why you wouldn't get variations by just clicking refresh.
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    I don't think it's load balancing - there are quite clearly different SERPS depending on where you dial in from. These SERPS are more-or-less identical across all 9 data centers, and has been this way for over a week now. No, this is something new to me...

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