Is Google Messing with Location?

By January 31, 2013Blog

At Turn The Page, we are always trying to figure out what Google is up to and how we can benefit our clients.

As a full service online marketing agency, we work in both the Paid and Organic arenas.  Duane Legill guides our paid search department, as one of his many hats.  Recently, he started to notice a strange trend in paid search results.

Geo targeting was providing conflicting results based on IP address.

Confused Paid Search Targeting

You can see from the image below, something is not right on the paid search results.  When the searcher chooses a location (here, we selected Chicago) the results returned include results from both Kansas City and Chicago.

Our experience is that this is a change from the usual results under this circumstance.  We expect to see all results match the selected search location.  We talked to Google about theses changes and provided the following data.  Their repeated response was there has been no change.  Stating that “The Kansas City Results are visible because we are searching from a Kansas City locale.”

SERP Example showing change in GEO results

Testing or Glitch?

Our experience is that Google will occasionally test new SERP environments on the search platform before rolling it out.

In this specific instance, we can’t see the benefit that this would provide either in organic or paid.  Actually, this change implemented would lead to more unwanted clicks.

If a searcher selects a location for search results, it is that location where they want to see the results.

The most likely explanation is this is a glitch of some type.  We will keep monitoring the situation.

Update

As of today search results have returned to normal.  We have already experienced a flip flop prior and that is why we are wondering if Google is running some sort of test.  We will provide further insight as we become aware.

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