How to search Google USA and other Regions from different countries

Google used to allow you to see the search results from any region or country by simply searching in the countries Google website, for example if you lived in the UK but wanted to see results for the USA, you simply had to go to Google.com and search.  The results would be from the USA index.  However, Google changed this a few years ago and now Google only show search results for the country your IP address is registered to, no matter if you search in Google.com, Google.co.uk or Google.de.  Very annoying for those of us who are developers and work in SEO.

So how do we get around this and get USA search results from different countries?

There are a couple of ways to get around this, a few of them are paid for, others are free and some will make you wonder how the hell you did not know about them in the past.  So sit back and lets make life a little easier and possibly cheaper!

1. Use a VPN

I have a VPN as I like to watch my favourite TV programmes when travelling.  Personally I use Nord VPN as it works with SKY TV, as well as Netflix, Discovery, HBO etc etc.

Method

  • Since I have paid for the VPN already, I can simply connect to the country server I want to get Google search results from, then go to that countries Google site, for example Google.com and when I search I get the USA search results.  This works for any country that your VPN connects to and is easy.

Nord VPN Search Google USA

As you can see, we can now search the USA Google index and get results as if we are searching from New York.

Google USA search results

2. Use an SEO Tool

If you have a subscription to SEO tools like Ahrefs, Semrush, Moz, Mangools, Ubersuggest or others, you can use these tools to search the Google country index easily.  Personally we use Ahrefs, Semrush, Moz and Mangools, so we have access to these when we need to check country specific rankings or search results when analysing keyword diffculty.

Method

  • Ahrefs have a tool called Keywords Explorer which allows you to search for a keyword from pretty much all Google country indexes.

Ahrefs Keywords Explorer Tool to search Google USA

  • Ahrefs will show you results from the last time it cached the results of that keyword search.  You do have the option to update the results to what Google shows today by simply clicking ‘Update’ at the top of the page.

Update search results.

Now you have the latest search results from the USA, UK, Spain, France, Germany or anywhere else you want.

Google search results from the USA in Ahrefs

Semrush

Search Google USA with Semrush Keyword Overview

Now you have search results from today for the USA, UK, Spain, France, Germany or anywhere else you want.

semrush Google USA search results

3. Use the Google Ads Preview Tool

If you use Google Ads, you can use a free tool to check SERPs from pretty much any location.  Even if you do not plan to use Google Ads, you can always sign up just to use this tool, as it is FREE.  The Google Ads Preview Tool enables you to view your ad as it would appear in Google search results without impacting your ad statistics. Importantly for us, you can use it to preview organic search results for any specific query from various locations and countries.

Method

  • Sign in to your Google Ads account. If you don’t have an account, you’ll need to create one.
  • Go to the Tools & Settings menu and select “Ad Preview and Diagnosis”.

Google Ads preview tool lets you search in different countries.

  • In the Ad Preview and Diagnosis tool, choose the target country and/or city, language, and device for which you want to preview search results.
  • Enter your target keyword in the search bar and click the “Preview” button.  The cool thing about this tool is that you can choose to search the Mobile or Desktop search results.

Google ads settings

You will now see what the search results look like for that query in your selected location. These results are not influenced by your personal browsing history or settings, providing a clear snapshot of local SERPs.

Google ads preview search results

4. Google’s Programmable Search Engine

Google’s programmable search engine is FREE, really easy to setup and use and hardly anyone knows about it.  If you want to perform searches on the USA, China or anywhere else, you can create a search engine in less than a minute and best of all, it is FREE.

Want to search for something in the US right now?  This will return the search results from the USA.

Or how about hosting your new USA Google search engine with Google.  No problem.

https://cse.google.com/cse?cx=0384b5158347d449c#gsc.tab=0

Do you want to search Google in the UK?

Again, Google will host this for you.  Cool, right?

https://cse.google.com/cse?cx=92788cee05f594979#gsc.tab=0

Method

So, how do we set this up, it must be complicated?  If I am selling this to you, oh yeah, it takes hours of work.  If I am teaching you, it takes less than 1 minute 🙂

Firstly, you need to make sure you are logged into your Google account and go to Google’s programmable search engine.  Now click on the Add button or Create your first search engine link.

Google Programmable Search Engine

  • Give your new search engine a name, I use the country name to make it easier to find the right one later.
  • Select ‘Search the entire web’ as we want to use this as a hack to get USA search results, we are not interested in searching a site.
  • Enable ‘Image search’ if you want to have that in your results.

Create a new Google Programmable Search Engine

  • Click on the create button to continue.

Create a new Google Programmable Search Engine to search the USA for free

Your new search engine has been created and it has taken about 15 seconds, if that, but you are not done yet.

  • Click on the ‘Customise’ button to complete the setup.

Customize the Google Search Engine

  • Set the region to your desired country, we have chosen the USA in this example.

Set the region for the search engine

  • Select a language if you need to drill down to local results.

choose a language for your google programmable search engine

  • You can now either embed the code in your page or use the public URL for your new Google search engine to display the results from your chosen country.

All done

Easy, free and extremely helpful.  Much like this guide!

5. Google Search URL Parameters – FREE Method

This method is perhaps the easiest to use and all you need to know are the correct search URL parameters.

Method

  • If you want to search the USA index, just copy the below URL into your browser and change the keywords to what you are searching for.

https://www.google.com/search?q=how+to+advertise+on+facebook&gl=us&hl=en&gws_rd=cr&pws=0

  • What about the UK?

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=how+to+advertise+on+facebook&gl=gb&hl=en&gws_rd=cr&pws=0

Tip:  This works for every country index, all you have to do is replace the Google site, gl and hl values with your country and language of choice!

For example, this is the search in India – https://www.google.co.in/search?q=how+to+advertise+on+facebook&gl=in&hl=en&gws_rd=cr&pws=0

Do you want some more free methods?

6. Websites – FREE Method

If you prefer to use a website form to complete the search URL parameters for you, then you are going to want to use the Valentin.app website.

Method

  • Go to the https://valentin.app/ website, enter your keywords and country and click on the ‘Search’ button.  There is no need to add an address unless you want to search from a specific city or location in a country.  If you need this, enter all the details and click on ‘Geocode’.

Valentin App allows you to search for free

A new tab will open and the correct search results for the country you chose will be displayed.  If you take a look at the URL, it is using the Google search URL parameters we discussed in the previous method.

Ahrefs Keyword Rank Checker

Another option is Ahrefs free keyword rank checker.  The only limitation I have found using this tool is that they do not have results for every keyword, just keywords which are more popular.  For example, I got no results for ‘koh lipe review’ but I do for ‘how to advertise on facebook’.  It is worth a try as it is free.

  • Go to the https://ahrefs.com/keyword-rank-checker website, enter your keywords, country and website you would like to see is currently ranking in the top 10 and then click on the ‘Check rankings’ button.  I used the website bbc.co.uk as it does not matter what you use when you know you do not rank and only want to scope out the difficulty of the keyword for a specific Google country index.

ahrefs keyword rank checker

If Ahrefs has info for that keyword, it will show you the results.  It only gives you full information for the top 3 but that is OK as I just want to see who is in the top 10, which it does show me.

ahrefs keyword rank checker results

Brightlocal

Brightlocal give you 10 free searches per day in pretty much most of the Google country indexes.  Obviously this is not as good as Valentin.app but it is a good option if that site is down for any reason.

  • Go to the https://www.brightlocal.com/local-search-results-checker/ website, enter your keywords and country and then click on to the ‘Check search results’ button. There is no need to add an address unless you want to search from a specific city or location in a country.  If you need this, enter all the details and click the ‘Check search results’ button.

brightlocal google search

  • You then get the option to view the search results from Page 1 to 10.  Clicking on a Page will open the search in a new tab.

brightlocal google search results

As you can see from the actual search results pages, all Brightlocal are doing is taking your keyword and adding it to the Google search URL parameters as I showed you in method 5.  So you can always go back to that after 10 searches, or you could even create a really simple form that passes the keywords from a form on your own site and add it to a Google search in a new tab.  Lots of possibilities.

Small SEO Tools

The last option I am going to walk you through is Small SEO Tools keyword position checker.  The reason I am including it in the list is because it allows you to search up to 10 keywords at once from your chosen Google country index, which is pretty cool.

  • Go to the https://smallseotools.com/keyword-position/ website, enter your keywords, country and website you would like to see is currently ranking in the top 10 and then click on the ‘Check Keyword Position’ button. I used the website bbc.co.uk as it does not matter what you use when you know you do not rank and only want to scope out the difficulty of the keyword for a specific Google country index.

Small SEO Tools rank checker

  • You then get the option to view the top 10 search results for each keyword.

Small SEO Tools rank checker results

  • Clicking on the button will open the search window showing you the results.

Small SEO Tools rank checker search results

As you can see, there are numerous options to see the search results from the USA, UK or any other country you want.  If you have a VPN already, you can use that, if you have access to SEO tools, they usually include the ability to search country specific indexes.  If you are just starting and money is scarce, you even have numerous free methods to get the same results.  Personally I love Google’s search URL parameters but Valentin.app is also excellent and super easy to use.