Google Questions [en]

[fr] Comment Google détermine-t-il (1) le pays d'où provient un site et (2) la langue d'une page? Pourquoi les résultats d'une recherche en français sont-ils différents, selon qu'on utilise ou

So, I’m writing up a document for a client about search engine placement. Not really an SEO thing, more a “good search engine placement results from popularity and success, not the opposite” thing. Like, (gosh, am I being eloquent right now,) setting objectives like “be in the first three results for this or that keyword combination is not very realistic.”

Anyway, I’m stuck in the part about limiting seach to one country or a language (which is a “big thing” if you live outside Anglophonia and ambition to reach the local population). I realise that the way Google manages these different searches is not quite clear to me.


If you go to you can choose to do a search for “pages from Switzerland” (I’m using my name as a search term example). Or with, “pages from France” (language set to English both times so you can compare). My assumption (thanks shastry) is that they use server location for that. But is that all? (My server is in the US, so that explains why CTTS does not show up as a “Swiss” site.)


If I select French as the search language, I get different results whether I use or I assume Google uses language detection — but why are the results different?

Thanks for any explanation which can help me see a bit more clearly.

7 thoughts on “Google Questions [en]

  1. Google tient apparemment compte de l’emplacement physique de l’hébergeur (ou plutôt des serveurs…). Le nom de domaine (.ch, .be, .com,…) peut aussi avoir une certaine importance.

    J’ai pu constater des différences, mais il est difficile de mesurer l’importance de chaque paramètre.

  2. Browser language can be set to a great number of different ‘French’s’, depending on the browser. At the office I use IE 6, which is set to French (Switzerland). Try searching for ‘elysée’ and you get what Google thinks is most relevant to where Google thinks you live and are referring to: the museum, the palace or the place in paradise. It is in practice quite hard to over-ride these settings to see what a Parisian would see if you are sitting in Lausanne. I would install different browsers on your computer and make sure they are set to different languages and never change them; I’m not sure if this works as far as the machine cookies are concerned.

  3. L’adresse IP du serveur indique où se trouve le serveur. Le nom de domaine n’a pas grand chose à voir là-dedans (sauf pour les .ch et les .fr).

  4. Il existe des domaines en .fr qui ne sont pas hébergés en France. C’est le cas de qui est hébergé en Grande Bretagne.

    En vérifiant, est également hébergé en Grande Bretagne.

    Concernant le choix de langue, il serait intéressant de voir si les résultats varient entre et

  5. Actually, just there I’m more interested in what this means for people who are concerned about their search rankings.

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