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|Google's Geographical Exclusions|
Our UK Focused Site is Excluded From The UK
Yes, this is a bit of an onion.
We own a significant information portal in a niche academic area. It does have some worldwide appeal, but by far and away, it is focused upon the UK perspective.
The content is UK centric, the words are UK English and the contributing staff/students are all based in the UK.
It appears very well indeed in Google.Com, as it should given its prominence and content, but does not appear at all in Google.Co.Uk! And to make matters worse of course, many surfers in the UK are being automatically diverted from Google.Com to Google.Co.Uk (even though they don't want that).
The site itself is hosted in Canada, but the WHOIS is clearly UK. Naturally, it is a .org domain.
So what is going on here? Why can't the people who most want to see the content actually see it? Is this a Google bug? Or a 'feature'?
More importantly, does anyone have any experience here on what can be done to correct it? Or is it just a case of writing Google off as a source of sensible traffic? We don't lose money by doing that, but it would certainly inconvenience those seeking our site from this country (it is a well known site and many people search on the site name, and even for that search term it doesn't appear on .Co.Uk!).
Any advice would be welcome.
You need to have the site physically hosted in the UK. This should solve the problem.
If you want to be indexed by google.co.uk, you either need a domain inside .uk (or possibly .je etc.) or hosting in the UK.
I don't think it is as simple as that. I've checked up with a few other UK sites in other related fields.
They host in the US, also with .Org domains, and they appear in the Google.Co.Uk version without any problem. I sense that there is some other factor in play here, other than suffix and host location, but I just can't work out what it can be.
[As an aside, if we can't fix this, we will probably try to exlude the site from Google altogether. Does anyone have the code(?) to do that?]
>>They host in the US, also with .Org domains
Do they have a UK IP?
What are you using to determine host location P5?
This "feature" is already used in many local search engines which often discriminate sites just by .tld with this now being expanded to IP address I would need to split my multilanguage website by language and then set up individual websites on separate servers located in each country!
I'm hopping they'll notice the flaw with this concept but I'm afraid will be seeing increase rather then decrees of it.
"Do they have a UK IP?"
I doubt it. Hosting was purchased many years ago, and the IP was assigned by the (Canadian) host.
"What are you using to determine host location P5?"
I asked the host. Apparently the servers are in Toronto.
"I'm hoping they'll notice the flaw with this concept"
As it stands it is simply ludicrous. On the basis of who we purchased hosting from they determine that our pages shouldn't be found in the UK, where our community is? And there was I thinking that we were in a global market, and that WWW stood for WORLD wide web!
I still can't believe that there isn't an easy fix to this: this simply cannot be based upon domain name and host location alone. Can it? There MUST be something else surely.
If there isn't though, we do want to go ahead and exclude from Google completely, as their traffic without the UK seg is simply not of any real value to anyone. We may as well save the bandwidth. Does anyone know how we do this?
To clarify, your site is in the "world results" in G.com but not in the "world results" in G.uk?
"To clarify, your site is in the "world results" in G.com but not in the "world results" in G.uk?"
If I proxy or manage to get to Google.Com, there it is. High or top ranking for everything in its field. This is correct given the site in question.
However, most people here (UK) who enter Google.Com in their browser are morphed to Google.Co.Uk by default.
Here, the site here is nowhere to be seen, for anything.
As this affects the vast majority of UK searchers, we are almsot invisible here as far as Google is concerned. We are highly visible everywhere else, where we simply have no desire to be, and where we are of relatively little value to the searchers.
The situation is simply staggering. Hence the idea of stopping Google altogether if we can't solve it.
I had a client, still on good terms with them, that were ranking very highly on google uk with a .com domain.
Although I warned them about this as a possible problem they decided to move to a new server (in Germany). Within a week their uk rankings had disappeared. This was despite the Whois showing a UK address and having a UK address on each page of the site.
They then switched back to a server in the UK and within a couple of days they were back in the UK rankings.
I know that their site is spidered every day and, although I can't prove it, it does seem as if the non-UK server impacted their rankings.
|I still can't believe that there isn't an easy fix to this: this simply cannot be based upon domain name and host location alone. Can it? There MUST be something else surely. |
What is the language encoding on your pages? Is it en or en-gb or perhaps even utf8? It obviously wants to be EN-GB for UK-targeted pages.
The language encoding can be established at many stages: by the web-server, or by the pages themselves. Perhaps the simplest is to put
<html lang='en-gb'> at the top of the pages, or even to use the META HTTP-EQUIV (which is intended to instruct the web-server to set a HTTP Header for the document):
<meta http-equiv="Content-Language" content="en-gb">The simplest way of all, of course, is to instruct the web-server to send the appropriate header for every page by default. A good tool to check the current headers for your web-site's pages is at Rex Swain's HTTP Viewer [rexswain.com]. If you find no Content-Language header then you immediately have something to fix.
You would use the robots.txt text-file to do that. This is a simple text file (normally located at the web-root) which is accessed by all legal-robots on all accesses to your site, and contains coded instructions on which parts of the site can and cannot be accessed by those robots. It can also be customised for specific robots. Look on the Google site for webmaster help for instructions - very simple.
|we will probably try to exlude the site from Google altogether. Does anyone have the code(?) to do that? |
Philosophy5, why are you flying in the face of everything thats known her. Just host it on a site with uk servers. Problem solved.
At the top of the pages, or even to use the META HTTP-EQUIV (which is intended to instruct the web-server to set a HTTP Header for the document):
<meta http-equiv="Content-Language" content="en-gb">
This is an interesting suggestion Alex, for which I am grateful. It's certainly worth a try, as it is better than banning Google totally, or shifting hosts (which we are not prepared to do).
Just host it on a site with uk servers. Problem solved.
That really isn't an option. Bear in mind that this isn't a commercial site.
We are simply not prepared to uproot our (very large!) site to suit the swings of a search engine. We don't chase "traffic", we provide information to those in this field. We just want a solution to the problem, if there is one.
Frankly, I think also, that this suggestion flies in the face of internet reality. I spoke this afternoon with with the editor of an internet magazine (who had no solution either). He told me that the clear trend is for US-based hosting to be sold in this country by resellers, under a UK banner. You can work out for yourself where that will leave Google search results in the fullness of time.
Anyway, if anyone has any other possible solutions to offer, I would be grateful to hear them. I will try the route suggested by Alex, but if that fails, we are back to the question of how to ban Google altogether.
|I will try the route suggested by Alex |
Why not try it on a handful of popular pages first, and keep an eye open for the bot-browse. Please report back on results, because this Q has arisen more than once (as hinted by JKMitchell's response in msg11), and it would be very useful indeed to get your feedback (both generally, and for myself personally). If you use the META HTTP-EQUIV, please double-check the server response using the Header tool (not all web-servers are setup the same).
If it does work, the next Q will be why on earth your pages are missing from G.co.uk in the first place? Still, one step at a time.
Will do Alex... I'll let you know. Thanks.
"We are simply not prepared to uproot our (very large!) site to suit the swings of a search engine"
Its not a 'swing'. Its been around a very long time. I use at least a dozen hosts with UK servers so that's obviously not a problem.
'Uproot'? It an hours job to upload the lot.
Until you change you can definitely kiss goodbye to UK local search which certainly in my case is very significant.
Stop philosophizing and listen to the Judge.
"'Uproot'? It an hours job to upload the lot."
But we are very happy with our host, and really don't see why we should re-host just because Google has a funny like this.
We would like to have Google visitors, but really, we are not going to start moving the site around to chase it. By cutting sites like ours out just because we bought our hosting on the web, they are not exactly doing such a great job for their searchers, are they?
We have applied Alex's fix, so we will see if it works. If not, we'll apply the Google ban in robots.txt as suggested above.
"If not, we'll apply the Google ban in robots.txt as suggested above."
You've totally lost me.
What possible good will that do you?
Do you want to lose 70%+ of your traffic?
Please explain as the initial question was presumably about increasing traffic by becoming included in local UK searches.
I have a kind of the same problem with one of my sites.
It is a .info domain and is hosted on my own server in germany on a decicated IP. The content is complete in german. Anyway since years I rank much better on the english part of Google (change www.google.de?hl=de... to www.google.de?hl=en... in the google URL). With Bourbon it has become even worst. While during the last years I always ranked well on the german google, but even better on the english one, now my site is gone on google.de?hl=de but #6 on google.de?hl=en.
I don't know why Google is ranking my site so good on google.de?hl=en but not on google.de?hl=de. It should be the other way round. Really Annoying. Google thinks my site is good, but it is showing it to users who don't understand it...
Please see this thread I started in Feb - [webmasterworld.com...]
I'm guessing that Philosophy5 is meaning his site doesn't rank when people search on Google.co.uk "the web" searches - as it obviously wouldn't show at all on a "pages in the UK search" - as they are not.
But - there is an issue here and Google are not using WHOIS info, IP location in applying this filter.
My guess is that moving this site to a UK IP will not have any effect on it's placement in the SERPS for google.co.uk "the web" searches.
If GG is around maybe he will chip in with some advice this time?
I have the same problem! Non-commercial site is number 1 in google.de, ca, it, but only number 71 in google ru. It is Russian site & I made it for Russian architects. Now they can't find it, but Italian can...Isn't it strange?
|I have the same problem! Non-commercial site is number 1 in google.de, ca, it, but only number 71 in google ru. It is Russian site & I made it for Russian architects. Now they can't find it, but Italian can...Isn't it strange? |
Where is it hosted?
How I rank in both UK and web results.
I like to rank well on "pages from the UK" & "the web". My target audience is 99% UK however I am pretty aware only a faction of the average surfer uses the radio button to search for "pages from the UK" still I don't want to loose that small fraction however small it may be ;-)
So its pretty straight forward. I use a .co.uk domain HOSTED IN THE UK as this will in most cases out weigh the .com domains in the "pages from the UK" of course along side a host of other things IE optimization, link popularity blah blah blah.
Now in the "the web" results my task is a little more difficult because I have to fight against the .com domains which will out weigh the .co.uk domains. How does one do this? It is straight forward link popularity.
Now I have the best of both worlds there's nothing more to this (for people with UK ranking issues) then hosting in the UK with preferably a .co.uk domain and link popularity to beat the .com's in the world results.
Pretty basic stuff really.
As a matter of fact I'm not sure: I live in Russia & my site is hosted here. On the other hand I suppose that Russian hosting company buy hosting in USA. But I'm afraid it isn't the explanation - site is 1 in google UK, Ca & It but as I said is 71 in ru & Be... Don't even know what to do...
so I have no chance if I decide to do uk.mydomain.com and use the same, US based, server? I need a dedicated server for my stuff. It's a pretty resource intensive script, and I can't get a new dedicated server for each country.
It gets even worse.
I speak from experience.
Some hosts have lied to me and told me via email that the servers were located where I wanted them to be and in fact they werent, so now I ping them each time.
Some have servers located both in USA and UK but still cock it up and put the hosting through the wrong one notwithstanding a specific request.
The worst problem of all that I had was not knowing for a very long time the uk.com is not a uk specific domain but is effectively a .com and will not show up in local searches unless hosted locally..took me a couple of years to figure that one out.
"You've totally lost me. What possible good will that do you? Do you want to lose 70%+ of your traffic?
Please explain as the initial question was presumably about increasing traffic by becoming included in local UK searches"
The site 'targets' the UK, in that few people outside will have any interest in it. However, Google has chopped us from the UK index, so we are left with non-UK traffic only, which is pretty useless to us.
So basically, for us, if we can't get this sorted out, we will just chop Google altogether and save our bandwidth and so on. That will do everyone a favour. Yes, we'd like some APPROPRIATE visitors from Google, but fortunately we can live without them if there isn't a reasonably simple fix.
I am frankly suprised that they can get their pants in a twaddle with something as basic as this. Maybe someone there is just trying to be too clever, and has made a right mess of it. Who knows.
We've tried the en-gb language metatag, but no luck so far.
Same for me, n°1 in Google.com, Google.fr and others but in Google.be/nl almost not to found except my home page.
Hm it seems that some more people besides me have the same problem with the rnaking on different local googles.
But remember that I said that I am aware to this problem since YEARS, I just didn't think of it because I was always ranking well on google.de?hl=de, too.
Does anybody know more about the parameter?hl= in the Google Query? Is it only the langauge or is it maybe something more?
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