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Tell Google Your Site's Location with Webmaster Tools

 8:14 am on Oct 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

Former Google staffer Vanessa Fox points out what promises to be a very useful enhancement to Google Webmaster Tools - the ability to tell Google your site's country location - and even to offer different locations for different directories within the same domain.

If your domain is a location-specific TLD (such as the .fr example above), Google will show you the country that your site is associated with but won't let you specify something different. However, if your domain is not country specific (such as a .com or .net), you can indicate the location of the site...

You can provide information at a more granular level than country. For example, if your site is for a pizza restaurant in Seattle, you can specify up to the street address (although you can input any granularity that makes sense for your business such as city or state).




 12:10 am on Nov 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

I am working with one site that gets 60% visitors from the US and Canada, 30% from the UK, and 10% from elsewhere.

By the nature of their business they only deal with UK customers. Limiting their exposure in non-UK SERPs would be useful to them.

I'll let you know how they get on, once the changes in WMT have been live for a few weeks or so.

It will be very easy to spot even a small change in the pattern of where their visitors live.


 1:39 am on Nov 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

g1smd - where's the site hosted? Is it hosted in the UK and still ranking in the other SERPS?


 1:47 am on Nov 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

I switched two servers, one .com and one .de to general traffic and have immediate traffic loss. ~1300 on .de and 700 on .com. De isn't into Halloween. Certainly not twice as much as the English "Community".

As it is it's only really useful for business that want a very limited customer base, for info sites it's suicide if you try to get as many people as possible.


 1:53 am on Nov 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

Prescient or what?

Well spotted.

But how silly is this, if you have a travel page about a holiday destination and put a map on it then the locals see it and not the holiday makers. Half baked approach ..

I guess we will see a lot of indian maps soon.. :)


 5:38 am on Nov 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

Amanda Camp at Webmaster Tools and Trystan Upstill just released this infor :

Starting today Google Webmaster Tools helps you better control the country association of your content on a per-domain, per-subdomain, or per-directory level. The information you give us will help us determine how your site appears in our country-specific search results, and also improves our search results for geographic queries.

We currently only allow you to associate your site with a single country and location. If your site is relevant to an even more specific area, such as a particular state or region, feel free to tell us that. Or let us know if your site isn't relevant to any particular geographic location at all. If no information is entered in Webmaster Tools, we'll continue to make geographic associations largely based on the top-level domain (e.g. .co.uk or .ca) and the IP of the webserver from which the context was served.

.... continued ...

Note that in the same way that Google may show your business address if you register your brick-and-mortar business with the Google Local Business Center, we may show the information that you give us publicly.

This feature was largely initiated by your feedback, so thanks for the great suggestion. Google is always committed towards helping more sites and users get better and more relevant results. This is a new step as we continue to think about how to improve searches around the world.

We encourage you to tell us what you think .....continued

I wonder if this is going to solve duplicate content problems between .tld's with the same content?

Any other thoughts?

[edited by: tedster at 5:20 pm (utc) on Nov. 1, 2007]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]


 6:25 am on Nov 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

I seriously thought Google could work this out by now. Sometimes the serps are clean and other times thay slip a little. So obviously having problems but surely local links and "other" data they have could fill in the gaps.

[edited by: Bennie at 6:25 am (utc) on Nov. 1, 2007]


 11:14 am on Nov 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

Still not terribly clear what the position with sub-domains/directories is, the official blog doesn't seem to cover that but from what Googler Jonathan Simon would appear to suggest they can be individually targeted to different countries.

Can't say I like the sound of that...

Google Groups Reference [groups.google.com]

[edited by: tedster at 3:26 pm (utc) on Nov. 2, 2007]
[edit reason] fix side scroll [/edit]


 1:29 pm on Nov 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

Apologies for that Url guys too late to change it, you'd think G groups...etc.

Further to that sub-domain/directory question Vanessa Fox wrote -

"At this point, you can't specify multiple countries for a site, but you can specify a different country for each site within a domain. If you use subfolders or subdomains for country-specific sites, simply add each to your Webmaster Tools account and specify the location for each one. For example, you might have a structure such as:

www.example.com/ (U.S. site)
france.example.com/ (French site)
russia.example.com/ (Russian site)"



 5:19 pm on Nov 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

Wheel: I'll probably be able to answer your questions pretty soon. I too am in the exact situation. Hosted in Canada but am a US site... can't even ship my stuff to Canada. Rank OK on .com and great on .ca. Just designated USA so we'll see!


 8:24 pm on Nov 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

The site I mentioned is hosted in the UK but has a .com domain. They also own the .co.uk and that has a site-wide 301 redirect to the .com domain installed.

The redirect should have been the other way round, but it is far too late to change that now. The redirect was set up some three years ago.


 10:23 am on Nov 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

What happens when the webmaster is in another country? When he optimizes the site and is not able to see the result in his country. He cannot put up a team in the targeted country to see results.


 2:15 pm on Nov 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

g1smd > I hope there is an additional selection for areas such as "Scandinavia" or "Nordic" countries

That would be great. My content is written in a scandinavian language but still I get visitors from all over the world (most of them probably don't understand what my sites is about -- unless they are scandinavians living outside Scandinavia, offcourse).


 3:46 pm on Nov 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

Any more info on what part G-maps play in all this?

I'm too paranoid to have a G webmaster account :-)


 6:36 pm on Nov 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm too paranoid to have a G webmaster account :-)

I hear that a lot - but really all you are doing is giving Google some email address that they can associate with a given domain. You choose that address, authenticate the site involved, and then Google shows you more data - data that they ALREADY HAVE about your domain. You don't need to do anything more but accept their gift of more information.

Any more info on what part G-maps play in all this?

Clearly from posts around this forum, Google is still working out bugs in both their maps and their geo-location process altogether. This extra bit of data should only help them do better by your site by offering a chance to fix any data bugs in their system.


 7:46 pm on Nov 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

"You don't need to do anything more but accept their gift of more information."

I don't even accept their cookies :-)


 7:56 pm on Nov 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

As a very small experiment I've told G that my Beijing server is in China. It must surely know this already from its IP and default localisation, but this should mean it knows that that is my intention one way or another.

I'll see if I stop seeing it turn up in non-Chinese searches, or get more Chinese traffic to it...




 8:39 pm on Nov 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

I don't even accept their cookies :-)

Might be valuable to set up one computer that does - so you can see what the average user sees.

Need More Hits

 1:29 am on Nov 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

Let Google guess?
The only people using their tools are small time webmasters like me but I donít?


 3:10 am on Nov 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

I wonder if this will get around the problem of sites that require global exposure via regional level [ including .com ].

Previously, sites had to weigh up the option of a series of localised TLD's which seperated the content, but the trade off still was that say e.g. a site with a TLD .co.uk couldn't show .za content to a local UK audience which was in demand. The assumption had to be that the user would choose either a .com or .za search - but many don't - many want to search through their local results.

If this process wasn't followed correctly, many sites ended up with duplicate content issues, showing the same content 2 or more times on different TLD's often sinking the .com version.

Does anyone think this will be addressed by this move?

[edited by: Whitey at 3:11 am (utc) on Nov. 4, 2007]


 10:09 am on Nov 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

I suspect when the dust settles we'll find this new development to be quite limited, http://france.myirishsite.com may turn up in " Pages : France" but only if it has a separate French "pied a terre" :-)

[edited by: tedster at 2:59 pm (utc) on Nov. 5, 2007]
[edit reason] de-link the example url [/edit]

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