I was planning to write a post about using Region Tags on your web pages to help Google recognise your UK location.

Why are region tags important?  They help to geo-target content, and they will present additional information in the search page to help users to select the most suitable result.

The problem is I’m just not sure Google understands the UK.  Not really.

I live in Nottingham in the UK, but there is also a Nottingham in both Pennsylvania and Maryland in the United States.

A search in Google UK for “Nottingham potato” from a computer with a UK based IP address brings results in 5 of the top 10 positions being filled with American results for Potato Chip Factory tours in Nottingham’s in Maryland and Pennsylvania.

And worst of all, Google local brings up Derby as the top result on the Google map. Heaven forbid!

By the way, if you’re not impressed by my Nottingham Potato example, then scroll to the bottom of this post for some more serious examples.

Nottingham Potato Google result

Who ever thought watching potatoes get peeled and deep fried could be so much fun….

What did I expect to find when I searched for Nottingham Potato?

I would have expected to find lists of organic potato farming tips and ideas for people in Nottingham, or food wholesalers selling potatoes, or take away restaurant menus from Nottingham serving jacket potatoes, or catering suppliers.

Actually, what I would have liked to have seen is Bing’s results…

Bing Nottingham Potato

I know Nottingham Potato is silly example, but there is a more serious underlying issue:

it’s not so silly is when you search for Birmingham Airport, and as a UK user I’m served the Alabama results:

Birmingham Airport Location

How about a pharmacy in Boston, searched on

Boston pharmacy

4 responses to “Nottingham, Potato, and Google”

  1. Kan Grewal says:

    Tell me about it! How frustrating! And there doesn’t seem to be a specific avenue of contact to make Google aware of this problem!

    And you get Birmingham Alabama even when you select the radio button ‘pages from the UK’


  2. Just goes to show, computers are not as clever as people! Google local is so frustrating because it is completely automated by algorithm and they are only interested in major problems. Being based in the US they probably don’t see this as a problem.

    Only plus is that it is much better than Bing Local!

  3. Update: 8 months later Google has finally wised up that Nottingham and Birmingham are both locations in the UK and are showing appropriate results. Boston still continues to confuse, but at least it’s a step in the right direction.

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