It is probably one of the most bizarre issues we have ever dealt with as a company…. skewed Google results.
As a company, Root Level Technology provides web hosting, VPS, Dedicated Servers, and cloud-based solutions. These products are used for a wide variety of purposes, from development instances to hosting websites, to VPN and proxy services.
One of the most interesting issues we have ever encountered is using VPN’s and proxies to perform a google search. Sometimes, when connected to a VPN or proxy and performing a Google search, the results would be for Google Indonesia, Google India, or even Google Taiwan. Since the IP being used for this is located in the United States, there should be no reason for these kinds of results.
We did a wide variety of tests to isolate the issue when we first noticed it. The IP’s were “physically” located in Los Angeles. Geo-IP data from sources such as Maxmind correctly reported the location information for the IP. Even a trace-route properly routed to a data center a block away. Yet, if you went to google.com in a browser, you would display a site such as google.co.id. There was no logical explanation for the results.
Our team of admins began researching the issue to find a resolution. While there is a great deal of information on Google when it comes to things like Search Engine Optimization, there is very little information on the inner workings of how Google does what it does. Conceivably, Google would use geo-IP to assist with load balancing and network routing. However, after research, we were able to determine that Google uses their own Geo-IP database. The reasons and purpose behind this are unknown.
This then begs the question, “What do I do if Google decides to route my search queries elsewhere?”
You can submit this form to request that Google correct their Geo-IP information.
The form allows you to submit the city, state, and country where the IP should be located, and what google site it is currently being redirected to. Unfortunately, you will never get a response from Google. We have seen two types of results:
- Google will fix the redirect.
- Google will not fix the result.
Since you will not receive a response from Google, you must keep testing the IP to see if it is fixed. If Google decides to fix it, it can take anywhere from three weeks to two months. Generally, if it has not been fixed after two months, you will need to resubmit the IP and/or range again. We have found that if a resubmission is required, it is fixed after the second submission. That is until they decide to redirect it again.
While one can not argue that Google should not release information on internal processes and decision practices, details on methods of determining and fixing redirect issues would be most appreciated.
Has this happened to you? If yes, let’s have a knowledge exchange about this bizarre issue. Leave us a comment below!