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Now that Google is moving away from a “monolithic” index, it’s common for people in different geographies to get completely different results from a Google search. So when discussing search results with a client or testing geo-targeted adwords, it’s often useful to have Google show me the results as if I were in a different area.

To accomplish this only requires a little manipulation of the query string parameters.

For example, a normal query for mangos might look like this:
http://www.google.com/search?q=mangos

Note that the “q=” query string parameter tells us what the search term is. With the region parameters for San Diego, California added on the end, it looks like this:
http://www.google.com/search?q=mangos&gl=US&gm=825&gr=US-CA&gcs=San%20Diego

The parameters are:

gl = Country code (full list here)
gll = Lat & Long
gr = Worldwide region code (full list here)
gcs = City (but gr must be set to the same value. Full list here)
gpc = Zip code (only works if country code is “US”)
gm = Metropolitan areas of US (full list here)

A handy trick is to let Google set them for you via their Adwords preview wizard . Simply go to:
www.google.com/adpreview

Specify the region and hit search. Then click on the frame properties on the bottom frame and copy the GL,GM,GR, & GCS params out of the URL and paste onto the end of your search.

If you’re interested in manipulating the other query string parameters Google uses, check out this handy cheatsheet.

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