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Non-US hosting: Does it hurt your rankings in Google.com?
Site is hosted in Canada, but audience is US
born2drv




msg:193027
 8:19 pm on Sep 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hello. My site is hosted by a server in Canada, and I noticed it gets bonuses for being there for google.ca searches. But I am wondering if my rankings are suffering in google.com?

It is targetted for US audiences mostly, should I consider switching to a US server hosted?

Thanks.

 

zeus




msg:193028
 9:01 pm on Sep 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

I dont think that would make any difference, if you have a good hosting then stay there.

zeus

heini




msg:193029
 9:09 pm on Sep 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

I am pretty sue IP based ranking will become a major factor with Google soon enough.
Geotargeting is something that hurts the boundless nature of the web very much. But the large players are going to profit.
Google already does it to an extent.
In large economies this is probably not such a dangerous development, but for small economical areas this is a serious threat.

So yes, it might be a smart move to host a site targeting US users inside the US.

bobmark




msg:193030
 9:18 pm on Sep 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

Is it the location of the host or the domain that gives you "bonuses"? (.ca as opposed to .com).
My understanding is the location of the host is of minimal importance to most SE's in geo classification; it's almost all .ca .fr etc (except in the U.S. where .us is so seldom used).

zeus




msg:193031
 9:19 pm on Sep 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

OK now we have a YES & NO, I think the economic and business is getting more and more global so it would not be such a smart move for Google to put more weight on some IP hosts because where they are placed in the world. A company in Europe could give a American customer a good a service to a American, like a company in the USA.

zeus

bobmark




msg:193032
 9:22 pm on Sep 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

Is also gets complicated. I have a site hosted on a Toronto based Canadian company that has a server farm in Virginia and I don't think this practice is that rare for non-U.S. companies.

born2drv




msg:193033
 9:22 pm on Sep 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

No, it's a .com. , not .ca ... and it does get better rankings on google.ca when compared to google.com. I am assuming Google is showing more regional results for canadians which makes sense, but I don't want it to get pushed down for Americans.

Maybe I will just open another mirrored .ca site and have it hosted in Canada, and move the .com site.

I just hope Google doesn't penalize the dup. content of the .ca. Hmmm... maybe I should just get a .com and forget the .ca idea.

bobmark




msg:193034
 9:26 pm on Sep 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

sorry to keep posting to this but I have similar experience.
I get a lot of Google.ca hits to my Canadian .com site but I'm never sure whether it is a function of better position (the differences are VERY minimal) or just that more Canadians use Google.ca and search for Canadian keywords so you get more hits independent of your ranking. (i.e. you think you are doing better but it is just a funciotn of searchers' interests).

[edited by: bobmark at 9:28 pm (utc) on Sep. 24, 2002]

zeus




msg:193035
 9:27 pm on Sep 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

Dont mirror anything then you could get in trouble, no keep you hosting and be happy, if you think you could make a difference in having another IP and .com/.ca make a little page of maybe 4 sites and make a single link to your main page, but no mirror it has to be a full site.

zeus

heini




msg:193036
 9:30 pm on Sep 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

AOL apparently can filter Google results for location of hosting, as in IP.
In Germany AOL does this to this day.
In US AOL did this for a very short time, I belive, when they started using the Google db.

Nevertheless, it clearly demonstrates this filter is a selectable option for Google partners.

At the time being anyhow language and ccTLDs are the standard filter options at Google.

bobmark




msg:193037
 9:30 pm on Sep 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

what happens if he just registers a .ca housed on another domain name reseller's server and points it to the same site? (Is this a dumb question?)

zeus




msg:193038
 9:35 pm on Sep 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

He can make different site(not mirror) and point to the original, but I would make a few sites, els it looks like a doorway page.

zeus

Now I have to see the resume of the Champions League, there where some great games.

john5




msg:193039
 9:58 pm on Sep 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

My major domain is a .com web site in English. It is hosted here in Germany. I just made some testing and can hardly believe it. The .com pages have better ranking positions on www.google.com than on www.google.de. In one case it is position 17 for .de and 10 for .com and the second is 25 for .com and 32 for .de

The searches were made with a very competitive two keyword combination that is the same in all languages (first and last name of some well known personalities).

This would mean that the domain gets the local boost and not the hosting location. Which would make some sense for Google.

bobmark




msg:193040
 10:02 pm on Sep 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

yes john5 that is certainly my understanding of how it works. I am sure the posters on here are right and they have the capability of filtering for host location but don'r seem to use it.

Rodney




msg:193041
 10:11 pm on Sep 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

just to chime in :)

I have sites hosted in Canada and have seen no negative effects in google. My company is US based.

Now that you mention it though, I do notice I receive a fair number of inquiries from Canada even though the contact information for the site is clearly in the US.

Now that you double mention it I tested a search in google.ca/.com for my keywords:

In the regular search I am number 6. When you do a search just for "pages from Canada" I am number one for the same keywords. Weird.

john5




msg:193042
 10:25 pm on Sep 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

To get different results for a "web wide search" depending on which country-specific Google version you use, is a new experience for me. Honestly, I am a bit shell-shocked.

chinook




msg:193043
 11:31 pm on Sep 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

There is no disadvantage to a "Canadian IP". Many of the top sites in the web hosting business (if you care to really dig and research it) are actually Canadian (Surprised?). Ourselves we rank very well for non Canadian keywords, both in google.ca & google.com etc.

Let me add to this that originally IP numbers were handed out to various organizations and certain nations were also attached to some IP ranges BUT today IP addresses are scarce and a class C can be bought and sold to another party. Thus what may at one time have been an US class C could end up in Canada or in Europe or in the UK. It is highly unlikely that a search engine would discriminate on the basis of IP address alone.

lgn




msg:193044
 11:36 pm on Sep 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

We have a Canadian Site, and we are ranked either #1 or #2 for our favorite keywords in the USA and Canada, so the .ca does not matter. We also have an alias .com, but google appears to prefer the URL with the .ca since it was our original url to our web site.

Now the question about mirroring vs. aliases.

If you have two urls say widget.ca and widget.com hosted by the same ISP with the same IP address, I call this aliasing, and I presume Google does not care about this. At least I have never lost my position in Google.

However if the widget.com and widget.ca is hosted by two separate ISP's (and separate IP addresses), then this is called mirroring, and Google does not like this one bit.

In both cases the url points to a web page with identical content.

Am I correct.

heini




msg:193045
 11:44 pm on Sep 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

>what may at one time have been an US class C could end up in Canada or in Europe or in the UK

True. But it's actually very easy to check where an IP is located at any given time.

>It is highly unlikely that a search engine would discriminate on the basis of IP address alone

Unlikely as it may be, it happens at the time we are speaking. Nevertheless, I'd expect more of a mixture of IP, legal and content related targeting in the near future.
Thinking about dedicated business/service searches as well as personalised searches this certainly would make sense from Google's and other SEs POV.

<added>To clarify: I do not claim it happening at this time at Google itself.</added>

[edited by: heini at 11:51 pm (utc) on Sep. 24, 2002]

startup




msg:193046
 11:47 pm on Sep 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

I have a .ca hosted in Toronto Canada. The site is #2 in Google.com for a very competitive search term. The term shows over 1.2 mil found. The location of the host or the domain make absolutely no difference in the rankings on G.com. I have also done the same with a .co.uk hosted in the UK.


chinook




msg:193047
 11:52 pm on Sep 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

While an engine such as google will do a redirect to the .ca domain if it senses the user is Canadian, the serps are exactly the same as the .com The only time that the serps are different is if you choose to view pages only from Canada.

lgn




msg:193048
 11:55 pm on Sep 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

Google does have the capability to do IP tracking, by country.

They use it for adwords select, since advertisers can select the countries they wish their ads displayed.

I have to use anonymizer to see my competitors ads on the US version of Google, since if I come in without IP blocking, they only show the Canadian adwords.

Because more and more people are using privacy packages to surf the web, I doubt that Search Enginges would restrict results be country, unless the advertiser requests it.

lavapies




msg:193049
 12:07 am on Sep 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

I have a predominantly UK oriented site hosted in the US (as bandwidth and hosting in general is cheaper).

The IP filter does **ss me off a lot, as I don't show up on searches in google for a 'uk only' search.

I have my address and contact information throughout the site, and this doesn't make any difference (I remember someone suggested it would solve it in a thread a while back).

My rankings on MSN UK are also pants compared to MSN.com. For example I show up as No1 for a search for "widgets in my locality" on MSN.com but nowhere to be found in the UK version. The same applies to Google for a couple of keyphrases.

This is mad. It defies the whole ethos of the web. Just beacause I use a COM domain and are hosted in the US, searches that are UK specific to the UK don't include me.

Global ecomony :-) hehe, nice dream.

bobmark




msg:193050
 3:06 am on Sep 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

Another irritating fact of life for non-U.S. sites is that it doesn't matter if you have a 500 page site devoted to NOTHING but say Canadian books, if amazon.com etc, have a page or two devoted to the same content, they will always rank ahead of you on a search for say Books by Canadian Authors. This is, I think, the inherent problem with PR as it allows the industry giants to dominate any sub-or even niche area they choose even if there are far more comprehensive and appropriate sites out there.

Allergic




msg:193051
 3:32 am on Sep 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

Another irritating fact of life for non-U.S. sites is that it doesn't matter if you have a 500 page site devoted to NOTHING but say Canadian books, if amazon.com etc, have a page or two devoted to the same content, they will always rank ahead of you on a search for say Books by Canadian Authors

Bobmark I dont agree with that. Most of my mid size-client (host in canada) who resell big brand usually do better than the manufacturer of the product in a search of keywords in Google. And the funniest part, is a canadian scholar book reseller i got always (90%) beat the original publisher.

bobmark




msg:193052
 5:18 am on Sep 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

hmmmmm...that hasn't been my experience on general—as opposed to niche—keywords (and books was a hypothetical, I don't have a book site). I find that the industry giants dominate searches such as "Canada keyword" (and I don't mean knock you off page 1, just down a few places).
I agree with you on manufacturers though. I have a large multi offering site that almost always beats partners who list on it in searches for their favourite keywords, just by virtue of its size.
I imagine it depends on whether your area has major players who spend money on trying to be top of the list on every conceivable search, regardless of their website content, for sub-categories.

glengara




msg:193053
 7:13 am on Sep 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

With the recent arrival of Google.ie, I've switched hosting for my .com from the US to Ireland.
Only way to appear in the 'pages from Ireland ' results without getting a .ie domain etc.

vitaplease




msg:193054
 7:44 am on Sep 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

I think Google's introduction of search localisation on country level such as "search for pages only from France" will be the biggest inflationary measure towards increasing the amount of urls on the web.;)

If I miss out on 11% of the Google.fr searches [webmasterworld.com] because of this option, that's still 4% of total searches. Or, looking at my stats, setting up a .fr version of my site is worth more than trying to do well in MSN or Altavista and Google's market share is only rising...

lavapies




msg:193055
 11:34 am on Sep 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

Doesn't this all boil down to whether or not web searches should be localised, and whether it's techically possible to do so?

Assuming that a COM domain is hosted in the US is a little silly no?

All websites should be aloud to compete on an even playing field. I mean hey, I can't even comete in my locality the way the UK specific searches have been setup, which is a little absurd.

I can see that occasionally people may want to try and narrow their search by locality, but the current systems in place for judging where a website serves are totally inadeqaute.

Judging a site's location by IP and domain extension do not even come close to achieving the objective, which is to show websites that "serve" a particular region, not that are physically located in that region.

Just my tuppence worth

bobmark




msg:193056
 3:11 pm on Sep 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

that is a really interesting observation, vitaplease.
I had not thought of it in quite that way but your point is well taken: anyone who has a site that, by its nature, benefits equally from visitors from multiple countries, may get far more bang for the buck by the relatively meagre investment in country specific domain names than pay for whatever SE spending.
Thanks

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