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We SEOs love a good conspiracy theory. In fact, everyone loves a good conspiracy theory, they're usually the only interesting thing in the news. I've been considering one recently and although there maybe a lack of evidence to prove it at the moment, I felt it was one worth sharing.
Recently we have been seeing some odd results in the SERPS. The general occurrence has been Google showing lots of pages from the US in the UK search results (google.co.uk). You could argue this is nothing new, but it's the volume of these pages compared to what there was, and the sheer irrelevance of them that is bothering. Take a look at the screen shot below of a search conducted for 'pet surgery':
The first four results (outlined in orange) are American sites, which disappear once you select the 'pages from the UK' option. Why would I want an American pet surgery when I live in Sussex? Answer: I wouldn't. Nor would I want American glass vases or American perfume or anything else presented in dollars for that matter. Not because they are of inferior quality but because I don't want to have to have everything I buy shipped over from the States. Furthermore, the UK does not seem to be an isolated case either, the same has been reported in Japan, Australia and other countries.
Here comes the conspiracy bit -
Everyone is well aware of the global recession and the fact that the US in particular is up the creek without a paddle when it comes to its economy. Google is, at its roots, an American company and has vested interest in the financial state of the country. Is it inconceivable then that a conversation took place at some point between the US government and Google to alter the search results in favour of US sites, thus increasing traffic and also sales for them? What a simple way to boost the economy, just adjust what other countries are seeing in their search results and offer American products instead of domestic ones.
For those of you gasping, rolling your eyes or shaking your head right now at this outrageous allegation, just cast your minds back to the last recession that hit America in the 80's, where presumably in a 'light bulb moment' they decided to just print more money in the hope this would sort things out...which of course it didn't...it actually made things worse...duh!
If anyone has seen similar results in Google's SERPS and/or agrees/disagrees with my damming hypothesis of the "do no evil" search engine, please speak now, or forever hold your peace.