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I have a bit of a problem that most people wouldn't call a problem.
My site is doing very well in the Google.ca SERPs, but we sell all over the world.
We are ranked #3 in .ca, but only around #50 in .com
Should I just keep optimizing, or is Google giving us a penalty in Google.com?
Also, would there be a better place to post this question?
Thanks for any help you can offer.
It's got nothing to do with where you're hosted.
i think it may have a lot to do with it. If its hosted, registered in canada. If its linked to by lots of Canadian sites or any other factors that point to it being Canadian based then this can see your site being geo placed by google. Is it even a .com? I believe without a .com you are fighting a losing battle to rank well anywhere but your local placing. At the end of the day this is something we all suffer with geo placed domains. Google weights local searches so your local scoring is helping your canada results.
Plus, there's plenty of indications that Canadian hosted sites rank well in the US. Again, many of occurrences of this.
I believe it works like this. Google.com are the main set of results. Google.ca is a subset of those results, or ranked in a different order with more emphasis on something Canadian. Google.ca 'sites in Canada' a subset of Google.ca with emphasis on Canadian IP address.
Canadian hosting does help in the .ca results, but I don't believe Canadian hosting bars one from ranking in the .coms. Canadian hosting = US hosting from Google.com's perspective (again, just based on what I've seen). It's just that it's tougher to get to the top on Google.com because Google.ca filters differently.
What the OP is seeing in google.com isn't a penalty or a result of being located in Canada. It's the result of being ranked at spot 40-50. They can move up by getting more backlinks, same as anyone else at spot 40-50. In other words, ignore the .ca results - the problem is nothing more than you're ranking on the 4th page.
I suspected it was simply more competition in google.com than in google.ca, and we definitely have a lot of "canadian" sites linking to us.
The transparent border makes sense too. I knew people were speculating on Canadian hosting being a factor, but that didn't make sense.
My main concern was about a penalty in Google.com for sites that Google deem are "Canadian". I needed to figure out if I should make the site "American", or if I should just do more SEO on it.
The question though that comes to mind is why aren't the US results returning a preferred US results like all other countries. Its really bad that so many companies are posing as US based and the identity is so well hidden that purchasers of products can't identify where they're purchasing from.
Because for the google.com results, distinguishing based on location of IP address is a poor indicator - because so many American's host in Canada - and the reverse is true as well. If you're trying to rank in Google.ca, get hosted in Canada absolutely. If you're trying to rank in Google.com, I don't think hosting in Canada or the US makes much material difference.
That doesn't make a bunch of sense neccessarily, but matches what I've seen happening.
"Hit the google webmaster tools and put your physical location on the map."
That's worth a try!
Anyone have any other ideas?
This does not work if you have a country specific domain, GWT tells you that its already done. This isn't good enough, many local sites want to be out there in the global stage. I don't think this is very good at all. However I have come to to conclusion that It may just be a matter of time till you achieve the top results in the international searches.
This drop occurred back in mid-late January and our rankings in the US have not recovered while our rankings outside of the US are similar or better than they have always been. Comments?
[edited by: BlueSkyIS at 7:50 pm (utc) on April 21, 2008]
I actually think one of our sites is erroneously targeted to India by Google. I sit number one on three major keywords in India that I gave up on years back in the US after the Florida update. It has nothing to do with the optimization because I see far better optimizers than me.