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So let’s say you are searching for pizza stores in Saint Moritz, Switzerland – does that mean you live there or you are about to travel there. Google’s John Mueller said while Google does try to understand where you are searching from, it does not differentiate between “living in X” from “traveling in X”.
Here is the post on Twitter from John Mueller of Google on this:
Google does try to determine language / locale / geotargeting automatically, sometimes the URL parts help. However, we don’t differentiate between “living in X” from “traveling in X”.
— 🍌 John 🍌 (@JohnMu) August 3, 2020
So yes, if you search for pizza near me, Google will show you pizza that is near you now – if it can detect where you are. But if you are searching for pizza stores, and you want to find pizza stores in St. Moritz but you are currently in the Bahamas, then you better be specific with Google and add the location to your query.
This may be obvious but it is an important distinction.
The thread on Twitter gets into a lot of location based on SEO topics, including hreglang.
Forum discussion at Twitter.