How to de-localise new google results


Just a quick post on the latest algo updates you’ve probably noticed/ read about by now.

To cut a long story short Google has started serving up localised results in normal SERPs (not places) on generic queries.

For example a search for SEO agency, for me in Brighton will now show a bunch of pages from Brighton agency sites who weren’t ranking before. If you did the same search outside of Brighton you’d get different results.

Google now showing local businesses in normal search results

Click to enlarge - Google now showing local businesses in normal search results

The implications of this are far reaching if it’s a permanent change but for now this is just a workaround for showing you how to remove the localisation and see where you’re ranking without local personalisation. Bear in mind that if your results are being localised then the value of measuring non-local results may be limited but for the sake of consistency it’s handy to compare like for like results before and after the update to see if your relative rank is improving or declining.

This is actually very simple to do.

Do a search, ideally in chrome using incognito mode. Maybe add the pws=0 parameter to the end of the URL if you find this makes a difference. Doesn’t ever seem to do anything for me.

Google will try and guess your current location in the sidebar.

Just hit change location and enter ‘united kingdom’

That should set your results back to how they were looking before the local algo update.

Those Brighton agencies have now disappeared again

On mobiles you need to go to settings in the footer of a results page and change device location to ‘do not allow’. Then clear ‘recent locations’ and set that to ‘do not save’. Save Those settings at the bottom of the screen and you should be back to normal.

Switch off localisation in Google mobile settings

Switch off localisation in Google mobile settings

I’ll be interested to see how rank checking tools like Raven handle these changes. Also maybe some of our friends from the US can let us know I the same thing works for you (entering “United states” as your location).

On the whole I think this looks like a pretty good feature for users, but it’s still useful to be able to turn it off for checking rankings.

6 Comments How to de-localise new google results

  1. tahire

    hi john,

    first time reader but sincerely loving your blog, just signed up to text broker as well, so thanks for that link.

    Okay, now down to business, I am a freelance seo that has just incorparted a company to trade under and I have a dilemma that perhaps you could help me with.

    I noticed that you have split your main site and your blog, is it not better to have your blog as part of the doimain of your main site so that it passes linkjuice etc ie or even

    I only ask as I have bought new domain to go with my new trading name and i am struggling with do i move my blog there or do i keep my blog and my new site seperate?

    what do you think is beter for seo and if you have limited time and resource being a underpaid lowly seo as myself?

  2. Neil Cartwright

    Thanks John

    Localisation is such an integral part of the Android search experience that SEO will need to quickly evolve to cover it. Probably most important is to ensure your Google Places information is correct for every location you manage?


  3. Chris Reynolds

    Hi John, I’m suprised adding &pws=0 does nothing for you. This tool (disclaimer; which I built :-p) adds it to the URL and seems to work, even when logged in.

    Living abroad I find it insanely frustrating that navigating to instantly redirects you to my local (.ch) domain even when using the ncr redirect.


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