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Categories: Bad reviews, Internet. Tags: ,

Replace suspension cost: more rubbish UK search results

January 4, 2010 6 Comments

I wanted to know how much it typically costs to replace a car's suspension (not mine, fortunately). The results are another good example of why the UK search results are often rubbish. And with this example, I'm completely stumped as to what Google thinks I should be searching for to get the answers I need.

Gives rubbish results

Gives rubbish results

I typed "Replace suspension cost" into Google and I got these answers as the top 10 results:

  1. Replacing a suspension system averages about $1,000 -$2,000,
  2. £67.85 for anti roll bar bushes and £244.37 for rear axle bushes
  3. A repair shop gave me an estimate of $1800
  4. You are looking at Sears when they have a sale on strut install and alignment for $200 to $300 for the front and the same for the back
  5. various indy places (I never asked the dealer) were all over the map, from around $850 to over 1,200
  6. Around 700.00 dollars
  7. The retail for the Lexus Air Suspension shock is $1,150 each.
  8. Our staff is available 7 days a week, from 8:30 am to 10:00 pm (Eastern) to take your calls.
  9. Special Price: $247.00
  10. no personal experince but i hear about $1800

So that's nine American results and one UK one (well, Wiki Answers isn't a UK site, so maybe I was just lucky that this particular result was in pounds).

Rob Green recently argued that the UK SERPS are fine:

If you search for a query that is much more commonly used in another English speaking country, you are going to get a lot of results from that country. Whether or not you think this is the way it should work, that is the reality.

I do see his point. And the Google trends data appears to suggest that this is not a search term much used in the UK (can this be true? What the hell do people search for in the UK?).

google trends shows "replace suspension cost" is not a common UK search term

google trends shows "replace suspension cost" is not a common UK search term

However, as Dave Naylor pointed out recently, Google is influencing our search terms via autocomplete:

Google autocomplete suggests the search term I used

Google autocomplete suggests the search term I used

Where I disagree with Rob is that, if Google knows I'm in the UK (which it ought to - I'm using Google.co.uk) AND it's suggesting "replace suspension cost" as a search term then why is it giving me US-based sites?

And, more importantly, what on earth am I supposed to type to get relevant results?!? I literally cannot work out what I should be searching for to get the answers I need. Any suggestions welcome ...

Update SharkSEO pointed me to an excellent, relevant post of his on Google's UK results:

If the query looks like a “buying” search term (like “buy playstation” or “buy xbox online”) then [Google] will try to show local pages, because users generally want to buy things from inside their country. If, however, Google thinks it’s an informational query (like “playstation specs” or “fix broken xbox”) then it doesn’t really need to show you sites that are based in your country – as long as it’s in the searched for language, it might be more useful to users to show them the best information, even if that means it’s from Australia, America, New Zealand or South Africa.

That seems to be the case here. Google might, however, want to think again if the search term includes the word "cost" - where a local result is surely wanted?

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