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Tell Google Your Site's Location with Webmaster Tools
tedster




msg:3492314
 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).

[searchengineland.com...]


 

sem4u




msg:3492330
 8:52 am on Oct 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

Good news. A lot of people have been asking for something like this for a while. Now people can host their .com domains where they like and let Google know who the target market is. Of course this will not work for Yahoo & MSN yet.

Also having the ability to input an address for local searches is interesting.

soapystar




msg:3492341
 9:08 am on Oct 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

where your based, the area your site serves and the area your customer base is likely to come from are all different beasts. I hope at some point they allow you to clearly state all three.

onlineleben




msg:3492342
 9:09 am on Oct 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

But will this also work for a domain with content in english (as it is aimed towards an international audience) and doesn't have a dot com but a country specific TLD?

londrum




msg:3492344
 9:12 am on Oct 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

i was just going to do it, but then i realised... if you have a site about 'spain', for example, then you might be tempted to put spain.

but does that mean they will drop you down the rankings if the searcher is searching about spain from outside spain? that's not much use.

irldonalb




msg:3492345
 9:22 am on Oct 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

Londrum - I agree. I'm reluctant to change anything in case my rankings drop outside my primary country.

soapystar




msg:3492346
 9:23 am on Oct 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

isnt that the point i was making?

topr8




msg:3492347
 9:27 am on Oct 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

where your based, the area your site serves and the area your customer base is likely to come from are all different beasts. I hope at some point they allow you to clearly state all three.

exactly, i hope there is some way of sorting this in the future ...
we are based in 1 country yet serve customers worldwide - our location has little bearing/significance for our customers.

vincevincevince




msg:3492358
 10:06 am on Oct 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

The biggest benefit of this will be the ability to inform Google of the semantics you use to divide by region:

example.com/uk
example.com/ie
example.com/us
...

Google generally do a fairly good job of figuring out your primary country; so it's this fine-grained approach which I like.

I wonder how long it will be before people spam it by:
example.com/12-easy-street-chigago < address set as there
example.com/14-easy-street-chigago < address set as there
etc... i.e. they will always be the closest provider to you; because they will be listed as millions of providers each with their own page...

glengara




msg:3492381
 11:03 am on Oct 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

I wonder if the object is improved ad targeting, as an easy pass to the "pages from" listings it raises an eyebrow or two....

mattg3




msg:3492522
 1:41 pm on Oct 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

Well at least you have the option to say, it's targeted at everybody.

A language targeting option might be cool. .at can be targeted at .de and .ch

Or do I have to now duplicate my content on the .at and press that wee button on the WMT?

g1smd




msg:3492536
 1:48 pm on Oct 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

After filling in the forms for that location feature, you are then invited to go on to create an entry for Google Maps.

Errioxa




msg:3492542
 1:56 pm on Oct 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

If my domain is .com and my Ip is american but my target are the spanish speakers (Spain and South America), what should I do?

The option is a very good idea but would be better if we could choose the language target and not the location.

glengara




msg:3492555
 2:08 pm on Oct 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

"..you are then invited to go on to create an entry for Google Maps."

Would you see the map as a sine qua non, a slight widening of entry to the "pages from" listings rather than a green light for a sub-domain explosion?

wheel




msg:3492562
 2:12 pm on Oct 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

Anyone care to clarify/speculate?

Situation: American owned and targetted .com hosted in Canada. Currently ranks 'well' in google.com; top rankings in Google.ca. If an account is created for this site and they indicate the site is American then do both or either of these happen:
- rankings in Google.ca should go away (which would be fine)
- rankings in Google.com may go up?

More specifically, does this basically say 'this site is hosted on an American IP address'.

Tonearm




msg:3492563
 2:14 pm on Oct 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

I manage the website for my Dad's law practice. The site's main purpose is to pick up business from anywhere out of town. Do you think I should specify the "geographic target" as the practice's location, or would that likely decrease out of town traffic?

g1smd




msg:3492568
 2:18 pm on Oct 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

Some people will need to think over whether specifying a location is going to be beneficial to them.

For some types of sites it will not bring any benefits.

twtnyc




msg:3492584
 2:26 pm on Oct 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

this is cool, but i'd like an option to specify one part/pages of my site as global...

i offer a specific service locally, and then i offer that service online...globally...i hope it doesn't pull me out of the more global search for those terms

glengara




msg:3492617
 3:05 pm on Oct 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

Prescient or what?

[webmasterworld.com...]

Also do lotto numbers, football scores, missing pets (no cats).....

Petra Kaiser




msg:3492677
 3:43 pm on Oct 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

Iíve seen very often for searches, on the top it says:
Local business results for widget near cityname
Never ever really noticed the word NEAR
Until today when I saw a result at #5 where cityname is not on the page, also not in anchor
But this particular result contains an address that is near to cityname

SEOold




msg:3492698
 3:57 pm on Oct 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

What if your site has product that is worldwide. Any reason to even select a specific location? The site is English but does that mean it should be U.S? In this case would it better not to set a location?

12scott34




msg:3492733
 4:26 pm on Oct 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

THIS IS HUGE! I have a client who was thinking of spending several thousand dollars to move the hosting from the UK to the US. This should help solve that problem.

Great work GOOGLE!

Reno




msg:3492882
 6:09 pm on Oct 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

I love it -- should help save on bandwidth for visitors from areas that are not relevant for what we do.

My suggestion for the next upgrade for this tool is to allow webmasters to select multiple target areas. For example, where they now say:

"Associate a geographic location with this site"

The default is United States, which is correct for what I want. But I'd like to also add Canada, so it would be good to have a link that says "Add additional geographic regions associated with this site", then I'd pull down to "Canada", and upon saving that country would be added directly below "United States". If they needed to limit the number of additional regions, that would be fine -- perhaps 3 to 5 would do it for most people (for example: Norway, Sweden, Finland, Belgium, Denmark).

But this is a great start -- kudos to Google for this option.

................................

g1smd




msg:3492891
 6:21 pm on Oct 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

I hope there is a selection for "Europe" as some sites cover the whole of Europe, but not other continents.

I hope there is an additional selection for areas such as "Scandinavia" or "Nordic" countries, or for "German speaking" to cover Germany, Austria and Switzerland, or for the "low countries" or "BeNeLux" and so on.

Samizdata




msg:3492940
 7:08 pm on Oct 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have a .uk domain that targets all English speakers on the planet.

It has always used META tags to indicate that the language is English and that distribution is global.

There is no equivalent option to say this in Google Webmaster Tools, and only TLDs such as .com and .org can choose their target audience (and then only by restricting to one specific country as far as I can see).

Last week google.com demoted my site from page one - where it has been since 1998 - to nowheresville.

I wonder if these events are related...

g1smd




msg:3492972
 7:35 pm on Oct 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

The location information is used when you wish to limit the reach of a site.

Genie




msg:3492983
 7:42 pm on Oct 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

>My suggestion for the next upgrade for this tool is to allow webmasters to select multiple target areas.

Seconded. UK and Ireland would suit me and be a natural combination for many, I think.

mirrornl




msg:3492985
 7:46 pm on Oct 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

The location information is used when you wish to limit the reach of a site.

is this so?

wheel




msg:3492987
 7:47 pm on Oct 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

The location information is used when you wish to limit the reach of a site.

Is it? Or does it help ranking in specific country? As I noted in my previous post, if I take a site hosted in Canada but targetted to Americans and I put US into the webmaster control panel, what happens to my rankings in Google.ca? Google.com?

Your post is suggesting that it would drop my rankings in google.ca and do nothing in google.com. But does anyone know if that's correct? Because I'd like to think that it would actually help my rankings in Google.com, (I'm making the assumption that hosting in the US will help rankings in google.com. And that this change in the webmaster control panel is equivalent to a change in hosting location).

Samizdata




msg:3493056
 8:58 pm on Oct 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

The location information is used when you wish to limit the reach of a site

Agreed. My worry is that google.com may now be limiting the reach by country extension (e.g. org.uk).

This may not be the case, but if it is then I would want to unlimit it.

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