your understanding is correct. One of the webmasters on another forum to which I belong couldn't even find his site on the UK version. He had a .info address but his site was hosted by a german company (no idea who or what)
it's definitely a PITA, but google relies on ip geotargeting.
And it's not perfect. Before choosing an ISP in the UK, even though it's clear that their hosting is based in the UK and their IP is London based according to 'other' geotargeting db's, don't rush into hosting there.
Find out the IP ranges they own, then do an IP based search at AlltheWeb. Then cross-reference the results you find with the 'uk only' output of google.co.uk.
It's the only sure way.
I'm currently trying to convince a rather dense London based ISP to contact google and have their geo-targeting corrected in googles db.
Thanks for your help guys.
Like blairsp, I use to believe UK result page must be hosted within UK. But now, I'm not too sure about google "geotargeting" search.
I found some SERPs from google UK pages were hosting outside UK. I use the same keyword to search on "the web" and "pages from the UK" options, the #1 result were the same site and it has been top for months.
By use the IP Address Locater utility from webmaster-toolkit.com. It shows that their IP address is located in Canada.
Can anyone explain why? Thank you in advance.
Google search and webmaster-toolkit.com seems to use the same database for geo mapping of IP addresses. However, this is not the ARIN/RIPE database. I have a server in the US which according to both sources is located in a south american country. Probing different addresses up and down shows addresses assigned to various countries with boundaries not on natural subnet boundaries.
Anyone know who maintains this information?
I set up an http proxy on the server to see what country Google search think the IP addresses of the server is located in.
if your IP address is in a South American country, then it will be in the LACNIC database. [lacnic.net...]
Those freebie IP mapping databases are ok for most applications. It would be better to do the whois query on the LACNIC site though.
thanks for your suggestion. The address of the server is in the ARIN database and the host is physically in the US. Still Google search thinks the server is in Brazil.
The IP to Geo mapping of Google search seems to be using another database than the ones operated by the regional internet registries.
So what database is Google search using for IP address to location mapping, and how can someone renting a series of IP addresses from a hosting company have it updated?
I don't know what Google uses for its IP>country mapping database but it certainly does not seem that complex.
It is not unusual to see gaping holes in the publically available freebie IP databases. This is because the delegated IP lists are pretty generic and only deal with large ranges. Often the owner of an IP range, BT for example, will allocate IPs to ADSL users or to other customers. On the delegated lists, all you get is a range of IPs mapped to particular countries but these lists do not contain sub-allocations. I've noticed this as a major problem with some ranges (IP to country mapping is a part of the search engine work I do in identifying which websites belong to specific countries).
If you are renting server/hosting space, then it would be unlikely for the hosting company to specifically allocate (fill out all the IP applications for LACNIC/ARIN or what ever registry) for the sake of a few IPs. You could always ask them though.
If both ARIN and LACNIC say that the IP is US based then Google should identify it as a US IP. However if someone in Brazil with a .br has used the website IP accidentally as a dummy IP for his website, then Google may be using this false data. (Look for unusual referrals/entries in the webserver logs.) People putting other people's live IPs into hosting sign-up forms is common enough. Apart from that Google is the big unknown variable in this equation after the IP. :)
The registrars release updates to their database daily, as IPs change. But Google might be using out-of-date data as it will probably be a big job to update.
But then again with the amount of processing power their clusters have, wouldn't have thought it would be too much of a problem.
It would be nice if Google could do it papamaku but it would mean regenerating the country indices every night and forwarding the new lists to the datacentres effectively doing a complete update or filter. However if Google is using a simple filter mechanism then it could be possible.
A problem with .info is when search UK sites on aol.co.uk it only brings up google results ending in .uk!