There is no doubt that Google is the top search engine in the world and it sends the most traffic compared to other search engines. When you are trying to rank for a certain key phrase or keyword Google can sometimes make it hard for a person doing SEO to find the real rank of a phrase. To be fair Google does it for a reason, it wants to show the best results to me based on where I am. This makes perfect sense, except when I want to know what the best results are for people in the United States.
To overcome some of this country bias that Google has there are a couple things you can do:
- If you are using Google Chrome open an incognito mode window to do your searches on Google.com. If you are like me and logged in to Gmail, Reader and now Google+ your searches are going to be personalized. By switching to an incognito mode window you get a more generic search experience.
- Google will still customize your Google.com search based on your IP address. Being being from Canada and searching Google.com I still get search results that differ from a US based searcher. To overcome this you can add an extra query string to the Google.com search address. Just enter your search in Google.com and after it is returned add &gl=us to the end on the address bar and hit enter. This should return the results that are for the geographic location of the United States. This accepts other two letter country codes, so you can check other countries as well. Some of my favourites are:
- &gl=us – United States
- &gl=ca – Canada (althought I get this one automatically usually)
- &gl=uk – United Kingdom
- &gl=au – Australia
- You can also use a web proxy. My favourite is HideMyAss.com. Easy to use and if you select the advance options you can select a server from the United States. Occasionally though I have seen Google still return the Canadian search results, so it is not perfect either and you still might need to use the &gl=us for US based results.
- If you are going to need US or another countries search results a lot, you can get a subscription to HideMyAss.com VPN service. That way you appear like you are from the country you want to be from and you can save a lot of time doing your search engine results look up. There are other benefits as well being from Canada and using a VPN in the US, but that is another topic.
Here are some of the different search results just for my name. LeeRobertson.com is my personal blog in case you were wondering.
It is important to know that there are different search results depending on where you live. Depending on what market you want to rank in. Something to keep in mind as you work on your SEO.
One thought on “Google Search by Country”
Hi Lee, good post. I live in Switzerland but my ISP is based in France and I usually want .com SERPs so for me it’s a nightmare, particularly when the NCR parameter seems to be ignored (most of the time). I therefore spend a lot of time building Google Search strings so I built a little tool to do it (accessible here; http://searchlatte.com/) which you might find useful.