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UK site nowhere to be seen
Does Google rank german hosted sites as German sites?
Panic_Man

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 26949 posted 8:29 am on Dec 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

We have had a .co.uk for two years, granted it only has 64 backlinks but it is PR6 which knocks most of the competition off page 1 BUT it is still nowhere to be found. The US site ranks page 1 and 2 for our main keywords and although the content is different, the keyword saturation etc is similar.

All our sites are hosted with 1and1 which has its servers in Germany, typing in 'panic attacks' on google.de puts our main site in position 1 which seems to imply that google sees us as a german website.

Does anyone have any ideas about how to get our Uk page to rank in the UK?

 

stever

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 26949 posted 5:47 pm on Dec 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

Panic_Man

Listen to glengara, as he's talking sense. If you don't like his advice, listen to the many other posters in the European and UK forums where this has been thrashed to death over the years.

I share a US-based server with someone from the UK. His co.uk sites rank on UK-restricted searches. My local TLD sites rank for local-restricted searches.

muesli

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 26949 posted 2:04 pm on Dec 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

BeeDeeDubbleU, have you tried going to google.de and searching for your keyword using the 'seiten aud deutschland' filter? Do your pages rank higher than they do on google.com by doing this? In theory, your pages shouldn't be there at all.

flawed argument. a site with a .co.uk domain hosted in germany will appear as "pages from germany" due to its IP and as "pages from UK" due to its top level domain.

Iguana

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 26949 posted 5:43 pm on Dec 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have looked for .co.uk in the German Sites results and I can't see any (and one of my co.uk sites has a German IP) - so I think they are filtered out.

Panic_Man

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 26949 posted 5:37 pm on Dec 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

All I can say is that for some totally unknown reason, the .co.uk site is excluded from results. Why that is is a total mystery to me and my developer. I have looked at PR, backlinks, duplicate content etc. etc. but can't find a satisfactory answer.

Thanks all for you help with this.

petehall

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 26949 posted 8:38 pm on Dec 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

I advise UK hosting and then please post your findings on here.

Good luck...

stever

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 26949 posted 9:02 pm on Dec 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Panic_Man, can you confirm that you have no pages appearing in the co.uk index?

Because there seem to be a number of different claims and answers being made in this thread at various points.

So do you

i) have no pages from your site in Google.co.uk restricted to UK sites
or
ii) pages from your site exist in the restricted search but they are not ranking well

And for those recommending UK hosting as an answer, are you

i) saying that this is necessary for a co.uk site to appear in restricted searches (which has been disproved here and elsewhere)
or
ii) saying that UK hosting is necessary or recommended to rank higher on searches (which could be more interesting but I would like to hear some actual evidence of this theory working)

Panic_Man

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 26949 posted 10:53 pm on Dec 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

Well Petehall, I changed to a UK host after being with 1and1 in Germany for 2 years! 1 week later under the keywords panic anxiety, there I am!

Guess some folks will find other excuses for why this was but all I can say is that it's a big coincidence if it's not technically possible!

Thanks all!

petehall

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 26949 posted 11:00 pm on Dec 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

Panic_Man that's fantastic news. :-)

OptiRex



 
Msg#: 26949 posted 12:47 pm on Dec 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Great news Panic_Man and just as I would have expected. It just goes to show how relevant your site is.

Yes, we know there are exceptions, however to be more or less 100% sure then it's the least painful and obvious route to take.

AlexK

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 26949 posted 6:34 pm on Dec 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

At no point in this thread has anyone mentioned server response. It seems reasonable to my mind that a Germany-based server may be configured to give a default german-language server response, rather than en (yet alone en-uk) response. I imagine that german Hostmasters will be very efficient in this.

Messages in this thread seem all to have been written on the assumption that SEs will treat webmasters as devious, and will therefore check geo-location of the IPs first, rather than take the server response on face value. I think that this says more about webmasters than it does about SEs! Also, madness lies that way.

Why should a SE care where in the world a server is located, as first priority? A SE will care what language an HTML page is destined for, since that is vital info for the SE's customers.

I am very pleased for Panic_Man that he fixed his problem, yet cannot but think that there were some rather obvious other things to check out first (too late now)(unless I am also making false assumptions - did not read of it, though).

Just to make a point, this is no idle philosophising on my part, as in the mid-term I wish to add other languages to my own site, possibly in other .tld-s, and am based in the UK myself.

OptiRex



 
Msg#: 26949 posted 11:25 pm on Dec 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

AlexK

>Just to make a point, this is no idle philosophising on my part, as in the mid-term I wish to add other languages to my own site, possibly in other .tld-s, and am based in the UK myself.

I gave my experiences in message 17:

When we tried a .com with a German KW in the German language we could not even get listed on .de until we located it on a German based server.

We also had the same experience with .fr and .it not being listed until they were located on French and Italian servers.

Is it all part of the Google "local" plan for the future with server location being the determining factor for which country one is based and the results delivered?

That has been our experience and which is why we now locate web sites in the specific targeted country using the local Google except for .com...until Google decides otherwise!

AlexK

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 26949 posted 3:06 am on Dec 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

OptiRex:
When we tried a .com with a German KW in the German language we could not even get listed on .de until we located it on a German based server. ... same experience with .fr and .it not being listed until they were located on French and Italian servers.

I`ve lost count of the number of Taiwan-based websites causing IE6 to ask to d/l traditional-chinese language-fonts even though every word is in English. The server (or, sometimes, the html Head) is configured for Chinese, even though the page is configured for English.

What I am trying to find out is:- (before re-locating) did you explicitly configure the server to German (or French or Italian), or was it purely through a <html lang='de'>, or via the DTD, or nothing whatsoever?

It has not been mentioned in a single response so far, and this seems to my mind to be the first item to consider, not the last. Or am I being naive? (very likely).

glengara

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 26949 posted 11:21 am on Dec 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

Alex, do you ever get that message for say French/German pages?

Just wondering if it's a script rather than a language thing...

OptiRex



 
Msg#: 26949 posted 2:41 pm on Dec 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

>What I am trying to find out is:- (before re-locating) did you explicitly configure the server to German (or French or Italian), or was it purely through a <html lang='de'>, or via the DTD, or nothing whatsoever?

Aha, I understand better now. In consultation with a German webmaster in our widget industry for which he ranks #1, he recommended the following:

<META NAME="Language" CONTENT="Deutsch English de uk german english">

Interestingly the other top ten are as follows:

2 Same url sub-page
3 Nothing
4 Nothing
5 <meta name="Content-Language" content="de"> and
<meta http-equiv="Content-Language" content="de">
6 <meta name="Language" content="Deutsch">
7 <meta http-equiv="Content-Language" content="de">
8 Nothing
9 PDF document
10 Nothing

In France and Italy they bothered even less about defining language content with most of the top sites not bothering at all.

Is the German #1 site there because he has this defined or because he is the German trade authority site, hosted in Germany with the most backlinks etc?

What is fact is this when searching Google.at:

For pages in German he ranks #1 but for pages from Austria he is not listed at all PLUS exactly the same occurs when using Google.ch in German.

Incidentally he is also #1 for this keyord using the www option for Google.com.

For me this proved more than ever the importance of having a local host when targeting foreign markets which is why we recommend it should be done this way to be sure.

I feel sure someone else has had different experiences and, if they have, let us know how they achieved it without having to find reasonable cost "foreign" ISPs.

Hope this assists.

AlexK

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 26949 posted 2:47 pm on Dec 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

glengara:
do you ever get that message for say French/German pages? ... Just wondering if it's a script rather than a language thing...

Is definitely a font issue, not scripts - have never ever had it with Latin1 pages.

I use Mozilla these days and have not browsed these sites using Mozz, so cannot tell whether the experience is the same. With IE, it was set to prompt me for the font d/l. It was a reasonable thing to do when there were Chinese/Japanese/Korean/whatever characters on the page, but it happened so often with apparently clean-english pages that it caused me to investigate to find the cause (I knew even less then than I do now about the machinations of the web). Many had Big5 (whatever) declarations in the HEAD of the html, but I`m sure that I recall some that did not.

The Q is still hanging, and I would love to know the answer: can the people with OptiRex`s problem confirm that their servers + html were correctly configured for the target language? I would much rather struggle with a server re-configuration than a server re-location!

AlexK

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 26949 posted 2:56 am on Jan 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

OptiRex: our last msgs were each being composed at the same time (!) so I did not see your last one until I had posted mine.

OptiRex:
the German #1 site ... For pages in German he ranks #1 but for pages from Austria he is not listed at all

This is very compelling! The only caveat is possibly: does he have an Austrian .tld?

OptiRex:
a German webmaster ... recommended <META NAME="Language" CONTENT="Deutsch English de uk german english">

Implementing more languages for my site is 12-18 months away for me, so the issues of internationalisation [ppewww.ph.gla.ac.uk] are somewhat distant from my mind. The above looked dodgy to me, however, and I wanted to refresh my mind on the server issues [httpd.apache.org] plus coding issues [google.co.uk], so spent a few hours searching (that last page--actually from Google cache--is one of the popular reference pages for ISO 8859, but the site is giving "Host not found", so check it out while you can).

First: follow the standards, else follow a path towards madness. Now, what follows is my best understanding to date, and welcomes correction:

The server response comes in the HTTP Response Header, which is of the form:

Status: 200 OK
Content-Type: text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1
Content-Language: en-GB

As you can see the document language--but not the country location--can be specified here. Although direct access is required to the server to change this, the HTML META http-equiv [w3.org] is designed to allow a server to parse the html head and configure the HTTP Response Header accordingly. Thus, the following should achieve the same thing:

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1" />
<meta http-equiv="Content-Language" content="en-GB" />

However, the HTML-only standards-compliant way to set a default language for a document is via the i18n lang attribute to the HTML element:

<html lang="en-GB">

So, if you were doing none of this (obviously in German or Italian as applicable) *plus* if your server was set to give a default HTTP Response Header of Content-Language: en or Content-Language: en-GB or Content-Language: en-US then it will hardly be surprising if the German Google would ignore you because, after all, your documents were wearing a bowler or baseball-cap instead of jackboots (sorry).

Finally, are you not sickened by the lack of detailed, published guidelines from *any* of the SEs, as to stop this whole business from being such a black-art?

stever

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 26949 posted 1:41 pm on Jan 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

For pages in German he ranks #1 but for pages from Austria he is not listed at all PLUS exactly the same occurs when using Google.ch in German.

Incidentally he is also #1 for this keyord using the www option for Google.com.

So your guy is #1 in Germany-limited searches and #1 on .com. But nowhere on .at or .ch?

I take it your guy is not using his-site.at or his-site.ch, then?

OptiRex



 
Msg#: 26949 posted 6:42 pm on Jan 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

stever & AlexK

>I take it your guy is not using his-site.at or his-site.ch, then?

Correct, he's a .de hosted in Germany.

Using a trade keyword search he is so far buried in the Austrian and Swiss results he may as well not be there HOWEVER when searching for his actual domain he does come up as #1 in both for the German language pages.

Searching through Austrian or Swiss pages using the same domain name he is listed with reciprocal links only.

AlexK

>your documents were wearing a bowler or baseball-cap instead of jackboots

Hehehe...get the brolly out!

>Finally, are you not sickened by the lack of detailed, published guidelines from *any* of the SEs, as to stop this whole business from being such a black-art?

Unfortunately this is where the SE's have us over a barrel by deliberately not issuing any guidlines. It's only forums like this where we can discuss success and failure experiences with any reasonable amount of authority.

Of course, if one really knew the definitive answer would one let others know when one could possibly charge extortionate fees for it?

Me, no, I've learnt many a tweak with a nod and a wink suggestion through forums to give back assistance where I can.

Certainly I consider that SE's, especially Google with it's geo-targeted searches, should issue such guidlines since, as we've read many times, postings from webmasters wanting to target only their home market with absolutely no interest in being shown on other English written results.

It would be interesting to know from some of the Spanish and Portuguese web masters their experiences with their languages since they must also have a very similar problem.

Panic_Man

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 26949 posted 10:50 am on Jan 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

Here's a new one to ponder on.

If I do a search using the UK ONLY filter for the keyword <snip>, my Uk site can be found (not yet highly ranked but it is there!), however, the US .com is not there. BUT, my competitors sites are listed! So why does google see some .com US hosted sites as UK based and others NOT?

I also don't get why some of my competitors who have lower PR, fewer backlinks, less KW density etc are listed above me when the UK ONLY filter is not used.

There seems to be many flaws in the algo or has someone got a more enlightened explanation?

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 11:35 am (utc) on Jan. 4, 2005]
[edit reason] no specific keywords please [/edit]

OptiRex



 
Msg#: 26949 posted 2:06 pm on Jan 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

Panic_Man

>So why does google see some .com US hosted sites as UK based and others NOT?

All the usual Google algo criteria. The displayed sites are considered to be more relevant...it's very important when building a site to make it relevant to the subject and not just a string of keyword after keyword.

Of course some sites do get away with rubbish but it doesn't take the canny surfer very long to realise that.

>There seems to be many flaws in the algo or has someone got a more enlightened explanation?

Without seeing a specific example it's too generic to have an opinion however Google, in general, does do a great and relevant job and as much as some of us hate it at time when there is SPAM (Sites Positioned Above Mine), there are some superb and relevant web sites which genuinely do deserve to be at the top and if anyone wants to compete against them then they are the standards to aim for.

The Aga Khan says this about his race horses: "In the race for excellence there is no finishing line!"

To keep a web site at the top it not only has to be relevant it has to be constantly fettled and tweaked...some would compare it to a successful marriage which is actually a great analogy.

I'm not saying your web site is not good however, be the devil's advocate and self-critique your own site in comparison to those at the top.

How do you think it compares?

What could improve it?

I work on my sites every day of the week, not just once a week or month, every day adding new content or adjusting the presentation. I sometimes look and wonder why on earth I did some things!

No one has produced the perfect web site and doubtfully ever will so there is always that window of opportunity to aim for:-)

Sticky me if you want me to have a look at your site.

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