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European Search Engines Forum

Local domains / local hosting in Europe?
What's the current status?

 9:41 am on May 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

Inspired by the recent thread "National and international domains in Google [webmasterworld.com]". I wondered about the current status of local domains and hosting in Europe. We know that Translations will get you top rankings in major engines [webmasterworld.com] - but is that still valid? IMO, yes it is - but you need to look at all the variables nowadays.
So posts your answers to:

1. How important is local domains (ccTLD's) to ranking in local search engines/local versions of the major ones?

2. How important is local hosting to rankings?

The obvious answer is probably that the local serps are filled with local sites on local domains - but that would be common sense. However:

- what if you put local language on a .com domain and host it in the US?
- what about hosting in another country than the one you're targetting?
- what do you do about local domains that require local presense?


troels nybo nielsen

 5:50 pm on May 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

That translation-thread is *very* interesting. I believe that lots of newer members might learn something from reading it.

Your questions:

1. My own experiences as a webmaster and surfer are very limited here but do not suggest that having an international domain (or a country specific domain from another country) is a disadvantage in searches that specify Danish language.

Nor does it look like an international domain - if hosted in Denmark - has a disadvantage when a search specifies Denmark geographically.

2. Again my personal experiences are limited but do not suggest that the geographical position of hosting is important.

> - what about hosting in another country than the one you're targetting?

Some of my websites in Danish have moved to a host outside Scandinavia. That does not seem to have harmed them.


 9:55 pm on May 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

I cannot comment on anything translated, as everything I am involved in targets English speaking customers.
Translation to me is more than just words, I need to be sure I am translating a culture too. I apply this to the US market in that they say things in a different way to how we do in the UK :)

So simply, I target UK with .coms hosted in the UK, and .co.uks hosted in the US. But if I put a .com in the US, I find it impossible to show in local UK serps.
About 12 months ago, a friend moved his .net to Germany for hosting... he was unaware it was happening, and he dropped almost instantly from the UK serps. ( I found the hosting change for him, it was one of the bigger hosts moving their data centres).
Where Google think they can be sure a site has nothing to do with a location, it is dropped.

I cannot say I have seen "difficulties" or "penalties", just clear cut in or out. Nor can I really comment on Yahoo.


 10:22 pm on May 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

There are two types of regional searches:

1) Search pages in "Language"
2) Search pages from "Country"

For both types it is possible to find TLDs that are not from the country in question in top SERPS.

Also, the classification is not 100% accurate, so it's possible to see pages in another language ranking high for a "Language" search or pages from another country ranking high for a "Country" search.

>> - what if you put local language on a .com domain and host it in the US?

No problem, afaik. Lots of regional sites are on ".com" domains or some other domain. There are eg. lots of Swedish sites on .nu (Niue) because Swedish rules for domain ownership were pretty strict for a long time.

>> - what about hosting in another country than the one you're targetting?

Server response time would be my biggest concern, not SE's.


 6:41 am on May 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Can you clarify you views on:

>> - what if you put local language on a .com domain and host it in the US?

When ever I do this, it shows only in the US version, not the local one. (To clarify further, it shows on google.co.uk, but NOT google.co.uk pages from the UK)
Fine, if I have example.co.uk, host it in the US, I can get it in the US results, .co.uk results, and the pages from the UK results.

However, I have never put Swedish, French etc on a site.

troels nybo nielsen

 6:55 am on May 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

George, I would be interested in Claus' comments too, but in my opinion the difference may simply be in the language. Search engines have several different tools to decide which "family" a website belongs to. Language detection is one of them.


 7:22 am on May 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Here's what GoogleGuy had to say about this not so long ago:
Forget ccTLDs - it's local hosting time [webmasterworld.com]
Just to chime in on this, Google can determine a site is in France by the .fr or by using other information about the site. But a .fr TLD is reasonable assurance that the site is relevant to French users. I think just about every other search engine only goes by TLD, so TLD is still an important factor that site owners should take into account.


 9:59 am on May 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanks for pointing that thread out again Bill. Later on GG says reg. German dot-de domains:

.de is usually a good indicator, and I think we would always use that. Never hurts to host locally, but TLD's are a great signal about whether a site is relevant to specific users.

Claus I agree that hosting a local Danish language site in the Us shouldn't be a problem. However I sometimes hear about people moving hosting and getting dropped from local searches. Howver I recently heard about a US .com site that moved hosting to Canada and got A LOT more referrals from Google.ca.

Go figure..?


 2:50 pm on May 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

>> clarify

Uhm... countries with very similar languages, like:

1) English: UK, US, AU, NZ, IE etc.
2) French: CA, FR, several african countries
3) German: DE, CH, AT etc.
4) Spanish: ES, PT, MX, BR etc.

-will be harder for a SE to detect correctly on a generic domain (com, net, org, biz) than, say, a Swedish page on a .co.uk domain.

Ie. a search for "joke"(*) in Swedish language returns these domains in top 100:

- .nu
- .com
- .se <-- Sweden (some of these pages are not in Swedish)
- .fi
- .st
- .eu.int
- .net
- .org
- .dk
- .de
- .at
- .biz
- .id

(*)(means: joke. Non-commercial SERP)


 6:41 pm on May 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanks for that.
So it seems they look at domain extension, language and hosting country.
So is the switch on/off, or by degrees?
Either way there has to be an optimum domain extension/hosting country for any particular target.
The nugget is working out the best for each site :)


 2:57 pm on May 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have tried everthing about this.
Local domains are a great choice, very diffrent serps with a .com and a .se in sweden.

What do you do when you not can registate a domain in a diffrent country? Ask around in WebmasterWorld and iam sure you get your domain.

Local hosting. I have not seen any diffrent more about that then my own paranoia about this topic,

But i dont thinīk its a bad idea to have it.


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