I received a telephone call today from an overjoyed client who was telling me that all the hard work had paid off and his site was number 1 for the money phrase.
I checked, and indeed on google.co.uk on a worldwide search, their site is number one! Happy days. Simply accepting it is not good enough though, as even though we have done a LOT of work on page and off-page with this site, taking it from obscurity to top 5 for the money phrase, the sudden jump from #5 to #1 was not yet expected. The top sites have massive inbound link advantage, and although the gap was closing this was simply to instant. Something else had happened.
I had a strange feeling that possibly Google had started to weight the ‘world’ search option towards UK sites, and my initial research tells me just that! In a search for a particular phrase, (client confidentiality insists I don’t mention the phrase), the SERP’s were littered by a combination of UK, US, Canadian companies. Today not a single non UK ‘physically hosted’ site exists in the top ten, nor in fact anywhere before #15!
While I discuss this little point, I should say that the meaning of the phrase ‘physically located’ has very little to do with where the SERVER is physically located. The Physical location of a website is wherever the IP of the server physically resolves. So it is quite possible for your website to be on a server in canary Wharf London, but be physically located in the US, as US hosting is cheaper and many resell US company IP blocks.
Too early to really say what has happened here, but the outcome for UK sites is good, and weighting them toward UK sites can also only be good for UK residents.