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Google thinks my website is in Canada
How do I make Google think differently?
Small Website Guy

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24060 posted 5:20 am on May 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Google thinks my website is in Canada. Maybe that's where my hosting company has its server? Who knows?

How do I make Google understand that I have a U.S. based website?

 

Mozart

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24060 posted 10:51 am on May 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

What makes you think that Google thinks that?

Do you have a .com? Or maybe a .co.ca? country code tlds are usually Google's first guesstimate where to geopolitically place a server.

Are your inbound links mainly from .ca domains? That would be Google's second attempt to sort you out.

(And yes, maybe your hosting company is from Canada and they placed a link to you as another hosted site. If they have a great PR and you don't, then Google might get convinced you are Canadian as well.)

Rumour has it that Canadian name servers might be enough to make Google think you come from that country.

So how do you make Google think of your site coming from country A as opposed to country B?

One way (takes a looong time) is to get a DMOZ listing that states your location as US.

You could get a country code tld, in your case .us (but I guess you would be the very first to change from a .com to a .us for that reason ;-)

And either reducing links from Canadian sites or increasing links from sites you have confirmed to be US-based or both should do the trick - after a while.

Mozart

Freedom

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24060 posted 12:40 pm on May 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Your first guess was probably the right one. Your host is in Canada.

Small Website Guy

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24060 posted 12:47 pm on May 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

I know that Google thinks the website is in Canada because if you do a Canada only search from www.google.ca, my website shows up.

My highest PR inbound link comes from DMOZ. I don't have any reason to think that my other inbound links are biased towards Canadian websites.

The only reason I can think of is that the hosting company has a Canadian IP address. The hosting company lists addresses in both the U.S. and Canada, and I have no idea where the actual servers are, and never really cared until I noticed that Google cares. I think that Google is not displaying some Adsense ads because it thinks that I'm not in the U.S.

Macguru

WebmasterWorld Senior Member macguru us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24060 posted 1:10 pm on May 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>The only reason I can think of is that the hosting company has a Canadian IP address.

You nailed it. Most search engine primarly rely on this for geo targeting.

Marcia

WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24060 posted 1:58 pm on May 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>You nailed it.

Big time! I've got some sites hosted with a company that has no address, but they changed their server to someplace in Canada. Not that it'll do anything but they're coming up for Canada only search.

ILuvSrchEngines



 
Msg#: 24060 posted 2:47 pm on May 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Is this just more proof that Google has gone insane?

If this is true, then it would not stop with just IP addresses of countries. It would also apply to IP addresses of states right?

This would mean that if you have a small business in Idaho with a web site IP hosted on a national hosting company in Florida you are screwed once again by Google. Because geo-targeting would see your site IP as a Florida site and not an Idaho site. So, by Google's logic you would need to find a hosting company in the exact city and state that the business is in or you won't be where you are supposed to be in Google.

Geo target should only affect the searcher, not the host IP address! I think maybe a couple of two year olds are at the controls over at Google, while everyone else is out to lunch.

Macguru

WebmasterWorld Senior Member macguru us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24060 posted 2:54 pm on May 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

ILuvSrchEngines,

Why point your finger at Google since it has (to my knowlege) the most advanced geotargeting feature? Why tell they got insane? They are just going by the numbers and doing an overall good job at it.

Most hosting sales rep I talk to are not even aware of search engine geotargeting. They are surprised of the reason I ask them where is the server located and what are the IP ranges. If some US host uses some Canadian IP, hes the one who screwed up hurting his clients, not Google.

If you can come up with a better solution for geotargeting, go ahead, search engines engineers are all ears. (please dont mention the location meta tag, 2 years olds know better) :)

ILuvSrchEngines



 
Msg#: 24060 posted 4:21 pm on May 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

If you can come up with a better solution for geotargeting, go ahead

I already told you, geo target should only look at the 'searcher' IP address.

.com .net .us .org. etc are traditional US, other countries have their own respective domain extentions. This isn't rocket science.

Where the server is hosted is not relevant. Ton's of companies use hosting companies all over country, if not all over the planet. Google should not assume people are hosting a website in their closet just so they can give Google a local IP address. It is not logical to use the host IP address to tell you much of anything about a web site 'geo'.

And, as in my example, how many web hosting companies do you think they have in Idaho? If there are no good hosting companies there why should Google penalize companies in Idaho that are hosting a website in Florida?

And what about a company in a third world country? They may have no hosting company. Should they be penalized for hosting their web site in the US?

Macguru

WebmasterWorld Senior Member macguru us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24060 posted 4:44 pm on May 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>geo target should only look at the 'searcher' IP address.

I guess that is what they use for adwords. Logical when an advertiser is looking for placement in a specific area. But when I need, as a searcher, to search for "blue widgets" in France, I go to Google.fr and check the "Pages : France" radio button. I dont see where I search from on the planet has to do with it.

>>.com .net .us .org. etc are traditional US, other countries have their own respective domain extentions. This isn't rocket science.

I care for hundreds of .com .net and .org. TLD that are Canadian sites, and their are millions of them from other countries. In fact, the TLD can weight in for some countries with regulations about it, like France. I guess using TLD alone would do a far more rougher job than IP alone.

>>Where the server is hosted is not relevant.

I guess it is. When some professional know what Google uses for searcher queries, he tend to go with the program for his own good. When one of my clients tell me the US host is 50 $ cheaper, I ask him if it's worth loosing 12 % of his traffic.

It is suprising how many multinational companies didn't get that right yet.

>>penalize companies in Idaho that are hosting a website in Florida?

You have and option to search by State from your end? Google local isn't exacty mainstream yet...

ILuvSrchEngines



 
Msg#: 24060 posted 5:41 pm on May 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

I guess it is. When some professional know what Google uses for searcher queries, he tend to go with the program for his own good. When one of my clients tell me the US host is 50 $ cheaper, I ask him if it's worth loosing 12 % of his traffic.

I agree it would be your job to tell a customer all of the facts and let them decide. But in case Google is not paying attention, people are not going to do back flips for them any more. So maybe it is time for Google to get with the program.

In your example all the company would need to do is buy a domain extension for the country they wish to show up in, and do business in, and then create a mirror or point to their main web site. (spare me about how Google would penalize for dup sites, I know they have very little else to do these days but dream up new penalties rather than fix what they have broken over the past year)

As far as state geo..why wouldn't they? They do it for country why not by state and county, or region? Are they above doing that too if they are not already doing so?

Macguru

WebmasterWorld Senior Member macguru us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24060 posted 5:59 pm on May 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>In your example all the company would need to do is buy a domain extension for the country they wish to show up in, and do business in, and then create a mirror or point to their main web site. (spare me about how Google would penalize for dup sites, I know they have very little else to do these days but dream up new penalties rather than fix what they have broken over the past year)

I absolutly recommend to my multinational clients to buy their domain names in each country they want and host them locally. Mirrors are not a good idea for the reasons you mentionned, so I will spare you the techniques dealing about this. It's a basic of marketing to better serve customers so a web site adressing a French audience will certainly not be a mirror than one adressing a Brezilian audience.

Bottom line is IP/nameserver location is probably not perfect, but is still statistically the best method around.

>>As far as state geo..why wouldn't they?

They started working on it months ago.

Please do a site search [google.com] about "Google local". There are plenty of discussions about this beta.

You can play with it here :

[local.google.com...]

jmccormac

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 24060 posted 6:44 pm on May 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Why point your finger at Google since it has (to my knowlege) the most advanced geotargeting feature? Why tell they got insane? They are just going by the numbers and doing an overall good job at it.
To the best of my knowledge, Google's geotargeting is simplistic cctld and IP based targeting. Google is probably going on the 80:20 rule. The results are good enough for 80% of its users. It would cost too much in terms of resources and expertise to go any deeper. The payback may not even justify the costs outlay.

Regards...jmcc

Small Website Guy

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24060 posted 8:22 pm on May 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

This is pretty dumb that Google thinks my website is in Canada and there's nothing I can do about it (except change hosts).

The hosting company is pretty big, they claim to have a very large number of sites hosted there, and I'm sure that most of them are United States based.

hamster77

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24060 posted 10:46 pm on May 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

So why is it that when I do a UK only search from Google UK I get piles and piles of US sites showing up? I doubt they're hosted in the UK.

It's quite tricky to force most search engines into ignoring US sites - even when they should be searching only in the UK. The best at this used to be Alltheweb. Even without a UK Only option it used to bring back almost only UK sites if you stuck UK at the end of the search term.

Marcia

WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24060 posted 11:13 pm on May 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Aside from having an EXTRA bonus listing for the site with Canada only search, where's the loss? Sites still turn up for regular search just the same.

Seems to me like net gain rather than any loss. What's the problem?

Macguru

WebmasterWorld Senior Member macguru us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24060 posted 11:35 pm on May 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>Seems to me like net gain rather than any loss.

Exacly, every US based sites should be hosted in UK, NOT in Canada. :)

Chris_D

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24060 posted 1:36 am on May 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have a '.com domain' which Google correctly identifies as an "Australian site", as do many of my clients.

If you really want the 'country' to be corectly identified:

1. Get a domain name in the country TLD
2. Host the site on a server, and on a nameserver, in that country.

If you can't do that - then make sure:

1. Get your site listed in dmoz in a regional category which indicates the country the site is about;
and/or
2. Use a nameserver in 'your' country, even though the site itself is hosted in another country.

That seems to work for us

Best

Leosghost

WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24060 posted 11:14 am on May 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

For those who would wish to get a domain name tld in France ..
The business must be registered in France ..and thus submit itself to the french system ..this means aminimum outlay of 5000 or about 6000$ and giving up in mandatory yearly contributions to the state welfare system approximately 60% of gross income ( we are taxed on what's left ) ...
French servers rent at 3 times USA cost ....
Whilst I am not particularly impressed by some of the "antics" of google we host about 16000 sites in USA of which at least 12000 are french ...they have no problem showing up on google searches in googles .fr engine ..
I personally have sites which are number one in both French and English searches via the respective interfaces ( think that should be interfacii ..anyone? ) ....and which are on servers we use in different areas of the USA ...
On a technical note ..if you dont know where you are hosted or how to find out I suggest you are in the wrong business and should think about... carpentry for example : )

Macguru

WebmasterWorld Senior Member macguru us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24060 posted 11:40 am on May 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

In fact, the TLD can weight in for some countries with regulations about it, like France.

See message # 10.

>>On a technical note ..if you dont know where you are hosted or how to find out I suggest you are in the wrong business and should think about... carpentry for example : )

Leosghost, most site owners or even hosting sales reps, I talk to, are not aware about local searches or geo targeting. There are plenty of 'hosts" out there who simply put are just resellers or foreign hosting companies. They may also submit the site to 10 000 "search engines" for an extra 19 95 $...

So I guess about 95 % of people in this business are in the wrong business. :)

Leosghost

WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24060 posted 12:30 pm on May 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

Macguru ..
What I mean is that if you didn't take the trouble to do a "trace back" on where is your site being hosted ...and you want to derive your income from it or at least a substantial part of your income then at the very least you should know where the site is actually being hosted ...
On this you don't trust the Hosting provider ( as you say they are frequently just a reseller )
..but you do get yourself a copy of "traceroute" or similar and use it on a regular basis to see if your site is still hosted in the same area or country where it was the last time you looked

Sites which suddenly get lower positions in "g" etc can often trace their troubles to having been moved to other servers to increase the profit margins of their host or the reseller who is hosting them ....

...Knowing how to spot this this is not IMHO because of geotargetting but simply that if we can make a comparison to the "realworld" ...a great deal per square foot on a "store" in rundown area of your hometown is not so good as in the biggest "mall" ( depending obvoiusly on your type of customer )

...Also do you with your mom and pop type site want to be hosted on the kind of server that also has loads of IRC and pron sites ( and therefore attracts more "script kiddie wars" and h@ks and subsequent downtime ) ....

Where you are hosted and on what spec machines and with what OS etc etc ( not to mention the security level of the installed OS )is far more important to you for other reasons than just your geotargetting requirements ....
Would you like to be hosted on a "Russian" server just to have google consider you to be more European than if you were hosted in the USA.....
Either you accept that your "web presence" is like any other aspect of your business and so needs your full attention to all it's details ....or you go the angelfire et al way .....
Or you pay a "pro" to do all of that for you ...

PS ..small website guy ...if you care to sticky me your URL ..I'll tell you where you are being hosted ..and I wont try to sell you hosting ..I swear ..

sidyadav

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24060 posted 12:38 pm on May 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

You can just where your site is hosted at Whois.sc. Just query your domain name.

As for the geo-targetting, one of my servers is based in France, and it still ranks the same in google.fr as it does on google.com. Why is that?

Sid

tantalus

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24060 posted 4:13 pm on May 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

I've only scanned this thread so this may have already been said but one way would be to get yourself a local ODP listing, you can keep the host then. :)

idoc

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 24060 posted 2:46 am on May 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

From what I have seen from adwords anyway, the geo targeting is a direct lookup of arin records for US sites. When I surf from Roadrunner, from Florida... Google shows me Virginia Ads because my ip traces to VA. When at the day job, from one T1 line the think I'm in Texas...from another T1 they think Georgia. All along the way, I'm in Tampa :) *If* they are using geo targeting for locality searches... it might explain a whole lot of sandboxing, filtering etc. theories... because the targeting is nowhere near perfected.

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