Search for ‘Black Friday’ and related terms in Google UK and you’ll likely be returned a host of US websites in the results.
Below is page one of the UK SERPs (search engine results pages). As you can see, six out of the nine results are US sites.
Both Amazon US and UK rank well, as do Target, Groupon and Walmart.
Let’s look at some more Black Friday terms and see what the bigger picture is…
Top performing sites in Google UK for a group of Black Friday terms
Below you can see the top ten performers for a large group of Black Friday search terms.
Half of these websites are arguably irrelevant to UK searchers, selling only American brands in dollars and shipping from the US or providing information on US retail offers (blackfriday.com, dealnews.com, bestbuy.com, theblackfriday.com and amazon.com).
Let’s go on to look at a couple of these US retailers and how their rankings have changed over time for some of these Black Friday terms…
Open image in new tab to view at full size
Target has gained ground on a range of terms, rising more than 30 places for queries such as ‘Black Friday discounts’.
This graphs from Pi Datametrics shows the position of top returning URLs for a group of search terms (each colour coded) from December 2014 to October 2015. The column highlighted chiefly in green below the graph shows the movement of search positions for these top returning URLs. The green indicates a rise.
Target’s website has moved from the second page of the SERPs to the first for ‘Black Friday’ in the 10 months from December 2014 (position 14 to position 9).
Target – search positions for Black Friday terms (open image in new tab to view at full size)
Here’s Walmart with a similar success story.
Although for most terms the top returning URL has only jumped single figures over the year, this has generally been from page two to page one.
Walmart – search positions for Black Friday terms (open image in new tab to view at full size)
DealNews has been climbing, too.
Notice there are four search terms for which DealNews’ top returning URL has switched regularly in the last year (switching from 16 to 48 times, see the ‘Top URL Changes’ column). This suggests that with more work to ensure only one page is recognised for these specific and highly trafficked terms, DealNews could improve their rankings even further.
DealNews – search positions for Black Friday terms (open image in new tab to view at full size)
Why might this be happening?
The appearance, nay, prominence of US websites in Google.co.uk for certain searches is nothing new.
There’s debate about why this occurs. Of course, for Black Friday search terms the answer may simply be that UK retailers are a little immature.
Black Friday search volumes in the UK shot up only in November 2014 (8m searches) when the sales day finally crossed the Atlantic.
US sites will have already accrued plenty of link equity and ranking signals, with well-established pages for Black Friday. Some may argue that until recently, US sites were indeed relevant results for UK searchers.
Others argue there are more insidious (and unlikely?) forces at play, with Google wanting users to log-in, click on PPC ads or simply to ensure its most valuable users are catered for.
Have you seen more US results on Google UK? If so, let us know.
Related article: SEO & Black Friday: How are brands preparing their landing pages?