A few days ago Krumel told me about a weird ranking that he saw on the international Google search for the brand name “Skype“. Google lists the Russian version of the main Skype page in places 2 or 3 depending on the search location. This happens on almost any international or local search. The first result is always the correct result (correct site language) for the tested countries (UK,Netherlands,Germany,Russia). On the US version it did not happen always.
I started digging around and could not find anything wrong on the Skype site. They practically redirect the users going to http://www.skype.com/ to the correct version of the language, based on their IP.
- They have correctly implemented the rel=”alternate” hreflang=”en” that Google recommends.
- Their robots.txt does not say anything that could indicate something that puts the Googlebot in difficulty.
- The rel=”canonical” tag is correctly used.
- I was thinking, maybe the Google Algorithm decided to list another title and description in the SERPS based on its own algorithm. They do this from time to time, if they consider their selected title is better than the title that you have chosen for your own page. But this is not the case, because looking at the cached version of the page, it seems to have it in English and the Instant Preview shows the same.
- They also use the <meta name=”robots” content=”noodp” /> tag that specifically tells Google not to use the Open Directory Project title.
All these being said I remain at two options on this curios case:
1. The Skype.com webmasters did not set corectly the Geotargeting data in Google Webmaster Tools.
2. The Googlebot & algo is broken in this particular case. I would go for this version because too many things look correct and Google displays a bogus title and description on an English page when showing the Google Instant Preview and Skype.com has also a 302 temporary redirect to the local page based on the IP.
From the users point of view it does not make sense at all to view a russian page if they search from the UK or any other non russian speaking country. And it is listed top 3 too.
To conclude this I think that both Skype and Google should check this curios case of the main Skype Russian Page ranking top 3 on any international or local results. If I am correct in my assumptions regarding the Google Bug, there are surely more international sites affected by this.
Have you seen any of them ?
What do you think about this?