Posted by Dec18
The listings you see in Google’s Search Engine Results Pages are different in each country and also depend on which version of Google you are using. Here I will take the UK and the USA as an example.
As we all should know google.com is the main version of Google’s search engine and it searches the largest number of sites as it focuses on the USA and is the default search engine for all surfers in the USA. If you are in the UK you can also use this version as well just by typing google.com in to the URL box in your browser.
In the UK the default is google.co.uk, but you can still use it in the USA if you want by entering the url in your browser.
So what is the difference and why would you use either?
Well the answer is quite simple as it depends on exactly what you want to search for and where you want Google to look.
Google has different data centres for different areas and those in a particular country will focus on data for that country.
In the USA the default is google.com and most Americans will always use this as their searches are always going to be USA focussed. However if they look for something in the UK, say hotels, then they will still be able to find what they want, but most of this information will tend to come from USA located websites rather than UK ones. This is because it is much harder for a UK site to rank in the US against US competing sites.
In the UK the default is google.co.uk and the same applies but in reverse. Again by default google.co.uk will search mainly UK located sites and any USA sites will be lees likely to appear in the SERPs. This is especially true if in google.co.uk the surfer selects “pages from the UK” instead of “the web“.
Apparently less than 20% of UK web surfers actually use “pages from the UK”, which means they are are not really targeting the UK sites, which might have the information they actually want.
If you are in the UK then you really should use “pages from the UK” as it will focus more on UK only websites.
If you are searching for something outside of the UK then “the web” is the better option.
If you own a UK located website or blog you are going to find it hard to rank well in the USA and google.com.
If you want to target USA customers then you really should host your site on a server located in the USA and not the UK or anywhere else.
Always check with your web hosting company where their servers are located, because it may not be where you think and it could drastically affect your ability to get your website ranked for your target audience.
By not hosting your site on a server physically located in the country you are targeting you are making your website promotion task ten times harder!
Here is an example of a recent post ( SEO Lies and Why Search Engine Optimisation is Easy )
from this website and how it ranks in the different versions of Google mentioned above for the term “SEO Lies”.
This website is hosted on a server located in the UK.
 GOOGLE.CO.UK - “pages from the UK”
Here it has a number one listing for a UK only search.
 GOOGLE.CO.UK - “the web”
Now it has a number 6 listing as it is competing with some of the better ranked sites in the US.
Here it is down on Page 3 with a number 24 listing as it is now competing against all the US sites and is considered less relevant because it is not located in the US.
A similar scenario can be seen for the Adword adverts that Google serves up with the search results, but that’s another story!
For more on this topic and to see how Google and others are trying to help with this situation check out the following interesting articles: