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Google dropping .co.uk websites from its .com SERPs?
TownDeeds




msg:3734742
 11:41 pm on Aug 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have noticed that Google.com isn't showing .co.uk websites in it's results as often as it used to, in fact .co.uk sites that I have always seen high up in the results seem to have disappeared completely from Google.com results whilst still featuring well in the Google.co.uk results.

Is Google systematically dropping .co.uk domains from it's main SERPs seeing as Google.co.uk has taken off so well since it's introduction?

I don't think I have heard of this happening anywhere else on the web.. so thought I'd mention it :)

James.

 

atlrus




msg:3734764
 1:04 am on Aug 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

Is Google systematically dropping .co.uk domains from it's main SERPs

Yes. It's the new geo-targeting or whatever. A .co.uk domain is automatically (and permanently) set as targeting the UK, hence you would need to work 10 times harder to get it into the main results.

HuskyPup




msg:3734778
 1:47 am on Aug 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

I don't think I have heard of this happening anywhere else on the web.. so thought I'd mention it :)

I'm not being rude however have you tried the SEARCH function on this site?

.co.uk domain is automatically (and permanently) set as targeting the UK

Rowlocks...give us all your evidence and proof!

IMHO a .co.uk has a far greater chance of ranking than any other extension in the .co.uk SERPs however those SERPs are way screwed-up with all their tinkerings.

I'm not going to give anyone any clues as to what seems to be happening however I do have my own legitimate testing proof of what they "believe" they are achieving and you would be extremely surprised.

Whomsoever is supposedly in charge of these geo-targetting SERPs really has not a clue of how the real business (whether manufacture/wholesale/retail) world ACTUALLY exists!

I cannot write much more without giving away extremely valuable knowledge...sorry.

[edited by: HuskyPup at 1:49 am (utc) on Aug. 30, 2008]

Quadrille




msg:3734787
 2:08 am on Aug 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have a significant US customer base at two of my .co.uk sites, and I've not noticed any changes recently, either in US or UK sales. So I'm not convinced. Yet :)

atlrus




msg:3735090
 6:35 pm on Aug 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

Rowlocks...give us all your evidence and proof!

Simple,
1. Go to your WMT of your .co.uk domain
2. click on the "tools" tab
3. click on "set geographic target"
4. read "Your site's domain (.UK) is already associated with the country/region: United Kingdom"

5. Look for a way to change it.
6. tail between legs :)

tedster




msg:3735121
 7:16 pm on Aug 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

That's been the situation since the "set geographic target" option first appeared in Webmaster Tools. But it hasn't ever meant that .co.uk domains are excluded form google.com results. In fact, I have always seent them regularly, and I still do - even at #1 when UK specific keywords are used in teh query terms.

Perhaps trhe opening poster can clarify which is the situation being reported:

1) .co.uk domains that TownDeeds is involved with are no longer ranking where they used to on googe.com.

2) as a general impression, it seems like fewer .co.uk domains are showing up.

3) a wide sampling was taken of google.com results and that data shows that the number of .co.uk results on page 1 has declined with some degree of significance.

activeco




msg:3735234
 11:13 pm on Aug 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

Just a few days ago a user was seeing completely the opposite: [webmasterworld.com...]

HuskyPup




msg:3735280
 2:42 am on Aug 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

6. tail between legs :)

Hahahaha...rowlocks again :-)...IF that was aimed at me! :-)

I shall repeat:

I do have my own legitimate testing proof

Time, effort, expertise, money and constant trials give a reasonable indication of what is happening however do not expect others' expenditure to supply it to you for nothing.

toast the most




msg:3735904
 10:56 am on Sep 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have a (very small) blog with a .org.uk extension which I now realise was a mistake. For the name of my blog (without .org.uk) I rank on page 1 when searching in the UK but not in the first five pages of Google on google.com.

However, I did previously have my blog at blogname.typepad.com and when I type my blog name in google.com, my typepad blog still appears on page 1 - on .co.uk my org.uk domain appears just above my old domain.

Quadrille




msg:3735943
 12:25 pm on Sep 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

A 'uk' site will do well on a UK search compared to a G.com search - simply because it competes against fewer sites.

An 'older' site will generally do well against a 'newer' site, for all sorts of reasons, but mostly because it has had longer to pick up links.

There are, of course, exceptions to both of these ... but it is never wise to 'judge' Google searches on a research base of a couple of sites.

atlrus




msg:3736004
 3:20 pm on Sep 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

A 'uk' site will do well on a UK search compared to a G.com search - simply because it competes against fewer sites.

I am not sure about the point you are trying to make. The only reason GoogleUK returns fewer website is because of the geo targeting. You can search for 'football' on both COM and UK, and with COM you will not get an co.uk domain in the first 20 results, yet both return the same number of results.

I own quite a few co.uk domains which I developed for the lack of COMs, i.e. the only "UK thing" about them was the domain name. Before the geo targeting began, all of them ranked great (1 to 5 result) in both GoogleCOM and GoogleUK. When the domain geo targeting started - all of my domains were flushed down, along with every co.uk competitor I've seen on GoogleCOM (and some of them were really good websites).
Currently I cannot find my co.uk domains on GoogleCOM when searching for the domain names before the first 500 results and those are not common keyword domains.

Quadrille




msg:3736034
 4:26 pm on Sep 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

Google.com, geolocation or not, is a muchj larger pool than that searched by google.co.uk - it is, therefore, not unreasonable that fewer .co.uk sites feature in the upper echelons.

But as it is a larger pool of sites, so it is also a larger pool of searchers, and a slightly lower result can yield as many or more visitors.

All I'm saying is that much of this discussion seems to be an unbalanced and unfair comparison of two very different services. Horses, as they say, for courses: know your target audience and target SEs accordingly.

HuskyPup




msg:3736484
 1:20 pm on Sep 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have to say that today, Tuesday, I am seeing some absolutely bizarre results for several of my keywords and the variation in results between browsers, MSIE, Firefox, Opera, Flock and also using megaproxy, is quite unbelievable.

Not one of them display similar results and the disparity between using Google.com on megaproxy and ostensibly Google.com with bowsers and through Google.co.uk (the web), is utterly ridiculous for many of my widgets.

This geo-targetting has gotten out of hand for international suppliers and is making Google's results fairly unusable in my industry meanwhile Yahoo! and Live seem to have it pretty well nailed!

At the risk of seeming xenophobic, are the "engineers" at the plex biased towards or focussing too heavily on US company Google.com SERPs to the detriment of many other countries?

If they want to promote US companies then surely open up Google.us and leave Google.com for the real international SERPs?

Quadrille




msg:3736544
 3:21 pm on Sep 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

Google is not about promoting ANY sites, US, UK or even The World; it's about helping people find what they are looking for.

Google.co uk gives an unambiguous choice of the Internet or 'UK only' sites.

I don't see a problem for UK users.

US users do not have a Google.US (it forwards to .com), and geolocation may be more important for US users for exactly that reason, though I suspect that's an issue for US users :)

HuskyPup




msg:3736607
 4:43 pm on Sep 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

it's about helping people find what they are looking for.

Agreed however it is beginning to fail quite badly with all these (IMHO) unsuccessful changes.

Google.co uk gives an unambiguous choice of the Internet or 'UK only' sites.

No way, Google.co.uk (the web) gives completely different results to Google.com using a proxy.

I don't see a problem for UK users.

I do IF users are seeking global results rather than what is being presented right now. If one does not know how to drill down into the SERPs (like average Joe User) then it is becoming very difficult not only for the information to be found but also for new and relevant sites to be ranked.

Simsi




msg:3736858
 11:10 pm on Sep 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

The whole Google geo-targetting philosophy does seem a little primitive. It doesn't seem to appreciate that a UK company (for example) might export to overseas customers, yet a .co.uk domain is the correct vehicle. One of the strengths of the Internet is that it allows people to tap into overseas markets cost-effectively, yet restricting a site to local SERPS by default, or to a single territory via WMT, largely negates that benefit IMO.

A the end of the day, WMT would be better off allowing total flexibility for the customer to specify a range of jurisdictions that they are targeting. Of course there would be more competition in certain Google locales, but that's just your everyday challenge - at least the barrier to competing would be removed.

And also of course, Google uses hosting information in the regional SERPS too - another dubious call on relevance IMO. Google doesn't "owe" the webmaster anything, but these decisions would better serve the user if they were left in the hands of the people that know the right answers.

[edited by: Simsi at 11:18 pm (utc) on Sep. 2, 2008]

graeme_p




msg:3737224
 11:29 am on Sep 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

I do not think the main effect comes from Uk specific searches. Google UK (like others) favours pages from its own region anyway.

So the effect of having a .uk domain is taht you are classified as a British site, so:

1) You get included in "pages from the UK" searches, even if you are hosted elsewhere
2) You rank better in "the web" searches on Google UK
3) You rank worse on google.com

Whether this is good or bad depends on what you are trying to do.

I want to increase the proportion of UK traffic on my .co.uk site and would gladly sacrifice foreign traffic
to get it.

SlyOldDog




msg:3738036
 6:36 am on Sep 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

Not much good using a .co.uk for incoming tourism is it?

Quadrille




msg:3738098
 9:51 am on Sep 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

Probably not; your target audience (at the time you want them) are not in the UK.

Increasingly a different story once they've arrived, however, with mobile and hotel Internet access getting easier all the time.

This is one of the best threads I've seen for a while in demonstrating the SEO importance of knowing who your audience is, and targeting them; without that, so much time, cash and effort can be wasted.

atlrus




msg:3738128
 10:35 am on Sep 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

The whole geo-targeting makes me wonder - if GoogleUK was made to return mostly co.uk results, why the two options "the web" and "pages from the UK"?!? Obviously when you search "the web" it does not return the same arrangement of results as Google.com, why is Google misleading the searchers?

I did a pool of searches for keywords I am interested in and found out that GoogleCOM and GoogleUK "the web" return the same number of results, yet the arrangement of those is completely different, while for the same keywords on GoogleUK, "the web" and "pages from the UK" returned almost identical results. In some cases when searching "pages from the UK" I got only 2 co.uk domains in the first 10 - the rest were still UK companies, but using .com.

My point - I do understand how UK visitors could benefit from getting local results, but isn't this benefit offset by the sacrifice of not being able to get global results?

tedster




msg:3738322
 3:00 pm on Sep 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

There really isn't such a thing as one set of "global results" anymore, either. In the US, geolocation can create different results on google.com from different cities that are not so far apart (New York and Boston) and especially East Coast and West Coast.

Quadrille




msg:3738348
 3:28 pm on Sep 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

I do understand how UK visitors could benefit from getting local results, but isn't this benefit offset by the sacrifice of not being able to get global results?

Most users want both, at different times. I rarely use 'UK pages only', while I know at least one person who virtually always does, and berates Google for it not being the default. I'm happy to have the Word Wide Web as the default (makes perfect sense to me!), but it's nice to have a free choice.

I suspect once geolocation is bigger, it might be more effective in the UK, and we might lose that choice.

After all, the US users don't have a choice, and have to trust geolocation, reducing choice (in my view) as well as making national SEO more of a challenge.

SEO is increasingly 'location, location, location', and while we all have little control (and probably getting less), we still need to understand the 'location' behaviours of SEs.

atlrus




msg:3738375
 3:53 pm on Sep 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

There really isn't such a thing as one set of "global results" anymore, either. In the US, geolocation can create different results on google.com from different cities that are not so far apart (New York and Boston) and especially East Coast and West Coast.

I have to disagree, at least for what I am monitoring. I have a medium set of keywords and ALL of them return the same number of results on GoogleCOM, GoogleUK and GoogleCA (using "the web"), but the arrangement of how they are presented is different on each.

I also did an experiment with three keywords which don't get much traffic, but are highly sought after. I searched for those keywords on GoogleCOM and GoogleUK, different internet connections and local proxy. What I saw was that Google has divided the results into two blocks, I call it "us block" and "uk block". When I search on GoogleCOM for "blue widget" I get the us block first and the uk block comes at about 400-500 returned results. For the same keyword on GoogleUK (the web) I get the uk block first and the us block at about 200-300 returned results. Now, my data is probably not very reliable with just 3 keywords, but it takes quite a bit of time :)

Oh, and I am talking about general searches, not those with local keyword in them.

Most users want both, at different times. I rarely use 'UK pages only', while I know at least one person who virtually always does, and berates Google for it not being the default. I'm happy to have the Word Wide Web as the default (makes perfect sense to me!), but it's nice to have a free choice.

But the problem is that you don't have the World Wide Web, even though you select "the web" on GoogleUK. You still get UK websites as the first returned results. An example would be Wiki pages - I rarely see Wiki pages ranking high (and often at all) on GoogleUK, while you find them almost always on GoogleCOM. Now, I am not for Wiki pages, but globally speaking, if Google thinks Wiki is good for US, why not for UK?

vordmeister




msg:3738386
 4:05 pm on Sep 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

It does appear to be going too far at the moment.

As you will know there are 10 quality websites that focus on widgets. Widgets are international things, and there's no important difference between US and UK widgets.

A useful set of search results would have the 10 quality widget sites in the top 10 places. The order of those 10 places might change when the results are geotargeted.

Instead the top US widget site is way down the results in the UK, and the top UK site is way down in the US, and in both cases there's a lot of junk in the results from sites that seem to rank just for mentioning the widget sites above them in the list, and these rank above quality sites from further away.

For buying widgets that doesn't even work. Why have the closest widget site and a whole number of other sites that mention it? You could find that info with a link: command. For people looking for information on widgets it makes for poor search results.

marketingmagic




msg:3738432
 5:09 pm on Sep 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

Wish I could say we were seeing the .co.uk and .au sites being removed from the .com serps from here (toronto).

8 out of the first 10 results for a competitive term are UK or AU sites. I've been reporting and whinning to Google for months about it but the sites remain. Not very useful to Canadians, especially given the search term.

HuskyPup




msg:3738727
 11:48 pm on Sep 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

Personally I feel they've screwed-up so far they do not know how to retrieve what they had as "true" .com results.

In my logs tonight I saw a referral coming from Google.se

I followed through and found my .cn site in 11th place. Strange, I thought, I'm sure I'm #1 with my .com site for this search term, what the heck is that site doing there?

Checking the first ten results they were all in Swedish and a couple in German. Checking Google.com through a proxy sure enough I am #1 plus through Google.com (the web) MSIE, Firefox, Opera, Flock and Chrome had me at #1.

Methinks that they having massive problems synchronising their regional geo-targetted .com servers.

What this means to all of us is that WE do not matter, no matter what WE do, whatever SEOing WE do means SFA...the thing is out of control since they have no idea how real global/national/local businesses operate.

The frightening thing is that millions of people are relying on this garbage and if you are solely relying on Google for your business then you have to re-think your strategies now!

It's only going to get worse until they realise what a mess they're making of "trying to organise the world's information".

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