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Forget ccTLDs - it's local hosting time
Has Google local search fully switched to hosting location?
heini

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



 
Msg#: 9252 posted 9:12 pm on Feb 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Local Google sites, like Google.fr in France or Google.de in Germany offer users 3 radio buttons:
- all results
- results in local language
- results from local country

Results from the country started out as being results from sites under the local ccTLD. Results from Germany so would have been from www.example.de sites.

Now those results include pages in all languages registered under all TLDs. The only qualifier being location of hosting. Nothing else.

This change came, AFAIK, gradually, first I thought it was broken...

But revisiting the option these days it turns out Google has all but abandoned the ccTLDs as denominator.
Local domains have, as far as Google is concerned, become meaningless.

This is something which I think deserves some attention, even though it has been part of some previous discussions here. It think it's a sigificant change.
The importance of local hosting for Google has been further increased. Local hosting is starting to become mandatory.

 

SlyOldDog

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 9252 posted 9:25 pm on Feb 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Does it matter that much? The default search is "web" which means 90% of people will not search locally anyway.

It might matter to a huge multinational with local offices, but it matters very little to me, at least, even though our site is in nearly 20 languages. Most people find us through simply typing the keywords in their own language.

Macguru

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



 
Msg#: 9252 posted 9:41 pm on Feb 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>which means 90% of people will not search locally anyway.

I beg to differ in opinion.
[webmasterworld.com...]

Some languages like English, Spanish or French are spoken in so many different countries. When people shop for something local it is a good tool for them to use.

Shakil



 
Msg#: 9252 posted 9:45 pm on Feb 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Heini,

serious implications for many if the above is the case.

for various reasons certain sites are hosted outside the originating country.

do we know if this totally permanent and applies worldwide (including UK)

Shak

SlyOldDog

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 9252 posted 9:54 pm on Feb 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>>>which means 90% of people will not search locally anyway.
>>I beg to differ in opinion.

According to your stats it looks like a pretty good guess to me.

Hands up those people who want to sell something to the locals. I thought the point of the internet was to find the people far away?

Ok, maybe that's a bit of a generalisation, but it still applies generally :)

heini

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



 
Msg#: 9252 posted 10:27 pm on Feb 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Shak, for now this directly affects only the results found on local Google sites when restricted to results from the country.

Sly, it has always been one of the important decisions to take for sites branching out to other countries, wether to go for a local domain or not.
While there are other aspects to that decision also, the question of preferences of search engines for local domains has obviously been a main point.

I for one will definitely and strongly recommend to go for local hosting. Have done that for some months now, but now it's an imperative.

Second, if MacGuru's numbers are vaguely on average I would say to loose out on 17% of traffic is not without significance...I'd rather have them, anyway.

More fundamentally though this is an important piece in a puzzle scattered all over Google discussions on this board. Compare the countless questions and complaints from Irish and british members about in- or exclusion based upon location of hosting.
Take into account the strange filters AOL applies to Google results.
I certainly think localisation of search will be a main topic of the near future. The abandoning of TLDs as qualifier is a logical step in this development.

martinibuster

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 9252 posted 10:47 pm on Feb 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hmm... This has the effect of creating borders, and by extension: fences. Kind of funny to have that develop at a time when Europe is developing a borderless economy.

I wonder what the implications are to other regions, like South and Central America, and even North America (Canada & USA).

Macguru

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



 
Msg#: 9252 posted 10:55 pm on Feb 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

My samples use a lot of things that must be purchased locally. Take as an example real estates, cultural events or job hunting. So the percentage of queries using regional fiters vary a lot from one site to another.

But the gain of traffic can be better than total queries using the filters. Dont we all have this "hard to get" query? Jumping from page 4 to page 1 for those can do a lot.

GoogleGuy

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



 
Msg#: 9252 posted 11:30 pm on Feb 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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.

heini

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



 
Msg#: 9252 posted 11:57 pm on Feb 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

GG, thanks for chiming in, but...are you sure?
If I understand you correctly you are saying local domain still is enough to get you in the local sites results.
Take the
Seiten aus Deutschland (pages from Germany) search:
I see sites missing there registered with a .de, german language, but hosted elswhere.
OTOH I see lots of pages included from sites registered under .com and other gTLDs and ccTLDs, which in fact are hosted in Germany.

>I think just about every other search engine only goes by TLD

From the top of my head I would have to agree. Anyhow, in the light of the ever relaxing policy for registering ccTLDs the value of those for determining locailty is decreasing rapidly.
So in that light changing to hosting location makes sense.

On a sidenote I think the AOL germany filter might be a combination of IP filter with local language filter plus strict offensive content filter.

jmccormac

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



 
Msg#: 9252 posted 12:46 am on Feb 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

GoogleGuy posted
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.

GoogleGuy,
The cctld is useful in allowing Google to correlate the website with the country where a strong internet industry exists. However where the local cctld is too expensive or hosting charges are too expensive, there is a marked trend away from the local cctld in favour of com/net/org (CNO) domains. The number of CNO domains registered by users in that country may equal or surpass the number of cctld domains. Google seems to have problems in linking CNO websites with specific countries. I realise it is a fairly complex thing to do ;) [1] but has Google any plans to improve this aspect or is it geared more towards a local cctld/IP solution?

The other problem that I've noticed with Google is that it has some problems in differentiating CNO websites based on language. The Irish/UK one is a classic example because of the closely intertwined linguistic and business ties. An Irish CNO site could easily be hosted on UK IP space and it would appear as a UK site. A lot of Irish companies co-lo or host in the UK though a lot more host in the USA. (Out of the three main companies providing hosting services in my city, one hosts in the UK, another in the US and only one hosts in Waterford.) The French case is also a good example because of the fact that French is also used outside of France. It involves building a rather complex usage model for each country. The scary thing about this reliance on the local cctld is that it definitely causes a 'dark web' problem for Google where anything from 10 to 60% of CNO websites related to a country do not appear in Google's 'pages from $country' search index.

Regards...jmcc
[1] I've been working on the problem of domain ownership:country for some time though the main concentration has been on Irish/European owned domains. The registrars problem (where a domain registrar will offer all-in registration and webhosting) can inflate a country's domain count.

jmccormac

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



 
Msg#: 9252 posted 1:16 am on Feb 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

heini posted:
Take the Seiten aus Deutschland (pages from Germany) search:
I see sites missing there registered with a .de, german language, but hosted elswhere. OTOH I see lots of pages included from sites registered under .com and other gTLDs and ccTLDs, which in fact are hosted in Germany.

Some of this could be caused by the registrar problem heini,
Germany has two of the biggest registrars in Europe (Joker/Schlund) and a lot of European hosting companies tend to use them. France has Gandi.net. Some of these hosting companies now offer all-in hosting so to a simple search model based on IP space, websites registered with these registrars and hosted on their IP space would appear to be related to Germany or France.

I am surprised that Google does not apply negative weighting to websites hosted on registrar IP space because of the uncertainty as to what country they are relevant to. The UK cctld also has a similar problem as it has a few registrars.

At the moment, the .eu tld is not active but when it goes live, it will provide a serious headache for Google and other search engines using an IP based approach to determining the relevance of a website.

Regards...jmcc

martinibuster

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 9252 posted 2:16 am on Feb 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

Does anybody remember a report someone linked to here, from terra lycos(?), regarding spanish language web sites, and the tld's they used?

The surprising thing in the report was that for spanish language web sites, .com was the most used domain extension.

Anybody else remember that one? I couldn't find it.

jmccormac

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



 
Msg#: 9252 posted 2:53 am on Feb 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

I can't remember seeing that report martinibuster. However the stats on the Spanish com/net/org websites and domains that I indexed at the start of january are:

Spain (ES) CNO Domains: 329572 Websites: 258444

The thread was in the European Search Engines forum:
[webmasterworld.com...]

The stats for the .es domain are on:
[nic.es...]
[nic.es...]

At about 45K .es the Spanish CNO registrations dwarf the .es figures.

The .es cctld is a managed registry and it requires a link with Spain in order to register a .es domain (Just like the Irish .ie registry). The cost of the .es per annum is 72.16 Euros (approx USD equivalent). The cost of a .com is about 15 Euros and does not require the paperwork or legal requirements.

Regards...jmcc

GoogleGuy

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



 
Msg#: 9252 posted 6:38 am on Feb 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

Not positive, heini, but I'd be happy to verify if you want to send or list a couple .de sites we don't include in google.de. It might be that we didn't crawl them, perhaps?

But a .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.

edneil

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 9252 posted 6:54 am on Feb 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

Having my site listed locally has been crucial. Every time our rankings have increased in the uk search the site has become much busier. In the last update the site increased considerably in the main Google listings but this didn't reflect in the uk version and we had no notable increase in visitors. Our site is designed mainly for a uk audience but is a .info site so thank goodness Google recognises that as most others don't.

Namaste

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 9252 posted 11:14 am on Feb 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi, my site is in English & Spanish, and my services deliverable in 180 countries. It is hosted in the US. Should I get TLDs of all the spanish speaking countries and duplicate my content?

SlyOldDog

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 9252 posted 11:44 am on Feb 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

Namaste

We have the same problem. One of our largest markets is the UK, even though we are based on mainland Europe.

One approach could be to make your different ccTLDs in the local language. That's duplication of a kind, but it must pass a manual check becuase it adds value to the internet.

We don't do this at present because we're worried about getting an automatic cross-linking penalty. This is a real risk if you make your site in 20 languages and put each language on a different domain.

rencke

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 9252 posted 2:05 pm on Feb 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

You really have to stop scaring people, heini. I very nearly had a heart attack. But when I checked Google.de I found this for a common keyword1 keyword2 phrase which happens to be the same in both English and German language:

1. Default web option: Had my English dot-com as #7 and my German dot-at as #8. Both hosted in Sweden.
2. German language option: German dot-at #1
3. German pages option: Buried deep, i.e. "German pages" does not include Austrian pages. Thank God for Adwords. (But #1 in google.at with "Austrian pages" option set.)

Have wiped coffee off keyboard. Resuming regular humdrum activites.

MHes

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 9252 posted 12:02 am on Feb 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi

We have a .co.uk site hosted in the States.....

all OK on 'UK search only'....phew! If google ever did hosting location as the only qualification we would be in big trouble.

Many great sites for th UK have to use U.S. hosting for software leasing reasons. It would be a significant drop in quality of the Google serps if these sites were dropped.

GoogleGuy

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



 
Msg#: 9252 posted 7:20 am on Feb 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

MHes, never you worry. If someone goes to the trouble to procure a .co.uk ccTLD, it only seem fair to include them in the UK search.

jose

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 9252 posted 8:09 am on Feb 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

I do not believe this can provide fair results GG and I am giving you an example.

In Spain if you do not have a registered company you can not register an .es domain. This is why .com are the most popular domain names.

Thank you

bill

WebmasterWorld Administrator bill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 9252 posted 8:52 am on Feb 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

phew....

The cost of hosting in Japan is easily 3 times more than the US...I'm very glad that GG cleared that up...WebmasterWorld should set up some sort of health insurance policy...I was fortunate there were a couple of frayed wires on my monitor power cable I was able to jab into my chest to get the old ticker going again...;)

heini

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



 
Msg#: 9252 posted 8:56 am on Feb 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well, we have heard what Googleguy has said, and after extensive checking I have no reason anymore not to believe it.
Thanks, GG, appreciate your comment.

To summarize: It's local hosting and/or local domain, which brings a site into the results from country searches at Google.

Pesonally I'm happy to have brought this issue out, even though it might have been a bit provocative ;)

For me, and I'm sure I'm not alone with that, this is a very important question, that needed to be answered.

I certainly think this is something that will undergo further changes though.

ccTLDs, physical and legal location of hosting, formal location of website owners, those are concepts which will gain further importance. Why? Because the web starts resembling the real world more and more. This change will be mirrored by search engines for sure.

vitaplease

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



 
Msg#: 9252 posted 9:11 am on Feb 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yes Heini,

glad you provoked an answer!

What an amazing inflation of domains will occur in the future, just to capture the local searchers.

Crush

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 9252 posted 9:16 am on Feb 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

Looking at google the only local tld's worth having are .co.uk .de and .fr as you get the choice to search to search with these extensions only. The default search is world wide so I guess it depends what industry you are in whether it is worth it or not.

For me (tourism) I am targeting people outside my country so they are naturally going to search "the web" opposed to the uk for example.

If you are in the Uk and sell to the UK then you need the local tld.

vitaplease

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



 
Msg#: 9252 posted 9:48 am on Feb 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>Looking at google the only local tld's worth having are .co.uk .de and .fr as you get the choice to search with these extensions only

quite a few other Google's have that "only results from country" as well:

Google.be, google.at, google.ch, google.ca, google.cl, google.com.ar,

and I'm sure more exist and will follow.

rencke

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 9252 posted 11:53 am on Feb 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

>For me (tourism) I am targeting people outside my country so they are naturally going to search "the web" opposed to the uk for example.

Me too. But don't forget that Google does not yet have a 100% market share. They may in the future, but in the meantime ccTLDs make a lot of sense in many places where purely local search engines have a large market share, but where they restrict indexing to local language and local domains. Dot-coms in local language tend to work well, but not everywhere.

ciml

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



 
Msg#: 9252 posted 5:57 pm on Feb 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

There remains a selection of travel related phrases that cause some sites to be ranked lower than others depending on the interface language preference.

I don't think we ever got to 100% certainty about IP geolocation but it's the best idea I can see for it.

SlyOldDog

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 9252 posted 7:21 pm on Feb 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

Heini

Did GoogleGuy confirm that local hosting is a consideration for selection? I must have missed that one.

This 31 message thread spans 2 pages: 31 ( [1] 2 > >
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