Google improves location services based on the country you’re visiting

Location searches in the country you are not resident

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There has been a change which has recently come into existence on Google searches. Now unless you are going abroad, this probably won’t affect you, but even so, we think that it is quite an important change and therefore one worth blogging about!

Google has changed the way its country searches are conducted on desktop and mobile platforms. Google has decided to make this change because it has found that roughly one in five of all searches are location based and therefore something needed to change to not only take account of this, but make searching more effective and relevant.

What does this mean?

Previously something called the ccTLD (country code top level domain name) applied when opening a google search using a domain country of say or .fr, .es etc. What will happen now is the search will default to the domain based on the location country where the person is in.

A more straightforward example please?

If you are from the UK and are going on holiday for Christmas, you might be going down under to visit relatives. Being from the UK you will automatically receive the version whilst you are in this country, but when you arrive in Australia and open search there, you will automatically get the .au (Australian) equivalent, reverting back to the version when you return home.

To some this will be a welcome and common sense change. If you are visiting somewhere and need to find information, it may be better and more informed to get that from a more ‘local version’ than the same search would bring you at home. Often however people will search things while away related to home. Imagine you are on holiday in America and planning a trip to the theatre when you return home. If you searched “best theatres in Birmingham” while away, you would get results for Birmingham AL rather than Birmingham UK, even though your phone is ‘UK based’ and the ccTLD would be the version.

Like everything not all changes always work for everyone, nor do they cover every situation, so if you are planning to go abroad at any time in the future, be aware of the potential to get some strange search results if you do not realise what is happening. Luckily there is a remedy for this if you don’t like the default change, as by going into settings you can change the country of browsing if you are not happy with the one selected. Further, if you scroll right to the bottom of any Google search page, you will easily be able to see where it recognises your location to be, so it is an easy find.

In this change, Google have recognised that not only is quality and accurate information essential, but this should be based on someones location also to bring more precision.

To find out more about searching and SEO generally, including why your business needs an SEO strategy visit our informative section which will provide you with expert detail.

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