Many midsized IT companies sell in multiple geographies (e.g. USA, UK, Germany) but have their marketing organization centralized in their home country (e.g. India). If and when they ran search engine marketing campaigns, it’s a no-brainer that they’d want their ads to only show up in their target markets (that lie outside their home country). This means their corporate marketing would need to find a way to monitor their SEM campaigns running in different countries even though they’re based outside of them.
Many people tend to believe that, by using a country-specific search version of Google, they’d get to see the same search engine results page (SERP) – and ads – as their prospects and customers in that country. That is that, sitting in India, if you use google.de to run your search, you’d see how Google Search results would appear to people searching in Germany.
Unfortunately, this is not true. Google SERPs are determined by your physical location regardless of which country version of Google Search you use.
If you want proof of this, Google “plumber” via google.com.
Here’s what I see sitting in India:
As you can see, there are no ads on this SERP. Based on that, you’d think that Americans don’t see any ads when they search for a plumber. If you have someone in the US who can run the same search and send you a screenshot of the results, the deluge of ads on the page would tell you how wrong you are.
So, to reiterate, as long as you are doing a search from a certain country, you’d see results only pertinent to that country, whether you use google.de or google.com or google.co.in.
This is bad news for central marketing teams running SEM campaigns around the globe.
But the good news is that the problem can be solved with a free Chrome Extension. Called SEO Global For Google Search, this tool “allows you to see how Google search results appear in different countries, regions and cities.” With SEO Global, you can get authentic search results from different countries without bothering your friends to run them on your behalf!
Now, let’s use SEO Global to re-run the above search for a plumber. Here’s what you and users in USA will see:
As you can see, there are several ads on this SERP. So you know that Americans will be inundated by ads when they search for a plumber (unless they’ve installed ad blockers but that’s a story for another blog post!).
Now, let’s illustrate the use of SEO Global in a B2B technology context.
One of our products, SAP MAILING LIST, is targeted at SAP service and add-on solutions providers in the USA and UK. Accordingly, our Google Ads for this product are set up to appear only to searchers in those two countries (and not in India where we’re based).
When we use google.com without SEO Global, we see the following SERP page for the keyword “sap customer list”:
The lack of ads on this page doesn’t mean our campaign is broken. What it really means is that we’re not seeing the same SERP that people in USA are seeing although both of us are using the same google.com website.
Now, when we click the SEO Global button on the browser and select USA, the SERP changes to the following version:
Voilà, this page, which is also the one seen by searchers in USA, has plenty of ads. Since we can spot our own ad – #2 position on the RHS panel – we can rest assured that our campaign is alive and kicking (Of course, we can infer that even otherwise by looking at our Google AdWords and Google Analytics dashboards and from the email leads and social media shares we get regularly).
This hack should help central marketing organizations closely monitor the progress of their multicountry search ad campaigns running in different parts of the world.
PS: We only need to monitor our SAP Mailing List PPC campaign at the country-level. Therefore, we didn’t get a chance to use the city-level support promised by SEO Global. If there are marketers out there who need to track their overseas campaigns at that level of granularity, it’d be great if they try out SEO Global for different cities and share the results in the comments below.