There has been lots of talk recently about the UK search results and how they have been starting to show more results from outside of the UK region. Well, here is a partial answer to this from Matt Cutts.
I think that Matt got the wrong end of this question and answered it in a different way than it was possibly posed. I think what many people have been saying is “why are we getting lots of results that include companies who are outside of my region and can’t supply the thing that I have been searching for where I am?” There are still a few of these knocking around (some have been fixed).
I think the answer here is in what Matt said in that they worked on a changed that expanded the search results to include more (relevant) .coms. Whilst doing this they obviously got the filter somewhat wrong in the first iteration.
As we know the only truly universal top level domain is .com, this means that even though .coms should be associated with America, it is just as likely that the company concerned will be based in another region. Google’s problem is that because of the universal nature of .coms they sit outside of its desired way or delivering regionally based results.
There are many factors that Google looks at for regional based results for generic keywords. To improve their delivery in this respect they have had to add another level of analysis to the algorithm to supplement their long standing geographical determiners (hosting location, top level domain, usage, contact information on site, ownership details, webmaster preference, etc.). This is because it is still possible that the best and most relevant site for your query will not show well in your region because it is a .com and it is hosted in the US for instance.
These changes to improve regional searching for generic keywords seems to have skewed the results and I guess they have had to reappraise their initial approach.
In essence, Google makes hundreds of algorithm tweaks ever year, some go way below the radar and some are a bit more overt. This one obviously fits into the latter category.
Lastly, do you think Google sometimes gets it wrong? Yep, they do. But hey it is their search engine. Also, (could be a very long time coming, if ever) until Microhoo get their act together, when Google do get it wrong, we just have to sit and wait for them to make it all better again…