homepage Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 54.167.173.250
register, free tools, login, search, pro membership, help, library, announcements, recent posts, open posts,
Become a Pro Member

Visit PubCon.com
Home / Forums Index / Google / Google SEO News and Discussion
Forum Library, Charter, Moderators: Robert Charlton & aakk9999 & brotherhood of lan & goodroi

Google SEO News and Discussion Forum

    
Geotargeting Redux - how WMT geotargeting affects SERP exposure
backdraft7




msg:4158345
 12:41 pm on Jun 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

Ok, I know this is probably an old topic that has been beaten to death, but with the recent algo and caffeine updates, I seem to be drawing a disproportionate number of foreign customers. I see the site setting for Geotarget and mine was to unlisted. My IP reports Plano, TX but my server is in Chicago, same time zone so no biggie I guess. My questions is - would my foreign exposure be cut off completely if I select United States? My target countries are US, Canada, UK, and Australia, but we welcome all countries.
It just seems like "unlisted" sets my geolocation at somewhere overseas.

G should allow multiple country selection or a multi country exclusion.

TIA

 

tedster




msg:4158587
 5:20 pm on Jun 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

The idea of multi-country targeting has been requested, even directly to Matt Cutts, and it seems Google is not so receptive.

The issue of why the proportion of "foreign" visitors increased in past weeks is something else - and I'm not yet sure why it happened. In fact, I'm hoping it's a bug that Google will soon fix, because that traffic isn't very good traffic in many cases.

backdraft7




msg:4159127
 11:35 am on Jun 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

@tedster - what do you think is the preferred setting for a US based site that also serves some foreign customers (Canada, UK, Australia) - Geotarget = "United States" or "unlisted"?

Seoering




msg:4159157
 12:27 pm on Jun 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

This isn't that helpful to you backdraft7 but i've been doing some testing on Geo targetting and I have tested against the following criteria:

.com
hosted in UK
Original had set Geo targeting to UK

On June 14th I changed the settings to US and three days ago, when the Geo targeting kicked in, the following happened (searching from UK IP):

- dropped 2 positions in Google UK (UK tab only)
- jumped a page in Google UK (Web - majority of searches in UK)
- jumped four pages in Google.com

So setting my target as US, actually improved my positions in Google UK for a very relevant keyword term at present. This was done in isolation and there haven't been any other changes. I have some great data to back this up but just waiting for confirmation from Tedster on whether I can use it or not.

walrus




msg:4159229
 2:32 pm on Jun 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

If you click the help question mark above geo preferneces in WMT it confirms it only comes into effect when a local keyword (city or country...etc) is used and does not affect any other rankings for international search.

tedster




msg:4159259
 3:14 pm on Jun 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

I haven't personally found a reason to use geo-targeting in WMT at all - results have been OK by just letting Google sort it out on their own. So from the reports here of complications that others have had, I've just been hands-off.

Simsi




msg:4191933
 12:59 pm on Aug 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

Sorry to dig up this older thread but does anyone have an answer to this from experience:

what do you think is the preferred setting for a US based site that also serves some foreign customers... Geotarget = "United States" or "unlisted"?


I am trying an experiment with a .co domain that I want to appeal to a worldwide audience and have selected "unlisted". Seem sensible?

tedster




msg:4192037
 4:30 pm on Aug 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

Sounds right on to me

Oxydada




msg:4193140
 4:50 pm on Aug 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm a little bit confused by this. What's the difference between setting "unlisted" and just not enabling geotargeting?

Simsi




msg:4193253
 8:26 pm on Aug 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

For example if you have a .co domain which is strictly speaking for Columbia, "unlisting" it removes that local association and because Google treats .co as a TLD, the theory is that you are telling Google you want to target it worldwide.

1script




msg:4193283
 9:29 pm on Aug 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

The more I think about the geotargeting setting in GWT the less I understand why would I use it at all. What I mean is: why artificially limit the audience the site is shown to?

I am now looking at all my sites and I am finding just one that actually has a compelling reason to set its geotargeting. This site is dedicated to US taxes, so it would make very little sense to show it to people outside US. All other sites - I'd be happy if anyone came in, really. Of course, traffic from China brings nothing but trouble, but those guys need no Google's help in finding my sites, so that geotargeting settings still never even comes into play. In fact, I would appreciate negative geotargeting (geoexcluding?) in this case.

The big question for me now is: can geotargeting settings be successfully undone? I don't mean un-checking the Target users in checkmark. I mean, can Google, once learned that the webmaster wants to target the site to US visitors, forget about it after I change GWT settings?

tedster




msg:4193290
 9:41 pm on Aug 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

why artificially limit the audience the site is shown to?

Only if you can't serve the international audience (or choose not to). Some offerings are like that.

can Google, once learned that the webmaster wants to target the site to US visitors, forget about it after I change GWT settings?

Theoretically, yes. I've only heard one practical report about this and the recovery took many months for them, but they say it did happen eventually.

1script




msg:4193311
 10:11 pm on Aug 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

why artificially limit the audience the site is shown to?

Only if you can't serve the international audience (or choose not to). Some offerings are like that.
Still sounds like anyone would do better for themselves if they filtered the traffic themselves at the checkout time as opposed to allowing Google to decide who should even come through the door... But I guess, you are right - with enough head scratching one can come up with a situation that requires geotargeting. It just seems like such a dangerous setting to play with - I certainly did not quite understood the implications until today. I'm glad I stumbled upon this thread! Thank you for clarifications, tedster.
Simsi




msg:4193564
 8:46 pm on Aug 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

The whole Geo Targetting thing is a bit back-to-front IMO. I don't understand why Google don't let the webmaster simply specify the countries &/or regions for any domain irrespective of extension myself. If I want to target my website at all English speaking countries in Google for example, I can't without deploying multiple domains, subs, directories etc and making lots of extra, unnecessary and largely duplicated cutter.

I don't follow why they should make the assumption that, say, a .co.uk is targetted at UK users when it is more logical to assume it's simply owned by a UK company rather than targetting that region.

dstiles




msg:4193578
 9:38 pm on Aug 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google seems to have fallen to the common fault that we in the UK perceive in US Americans. It was summed up by Eddie Izzard on stage during one of his American tours: "Do you even know there are other countries out there?"

Present company excepted, of course. :)

The concept that google began applying a few years ago turns the internet web from WWW to LWW - Local not World. We in the UK register UK domains BECAUSE we are in the UK (and because UK domain management is far superior to .COM etc and doubtless through pride) not because we want to restrict our trade to the UK - how ludicrously arrogant of google to even THINK that. And how arrogant to implement geolocation without a care for the companies that then lost their World Wide Web Trade because of it and because of their belief that google was good for business.

tedster




msg:4193584
 10:17 pm on Aug 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

ICANN established .com as an international top level domain from the beginning of the web. The .us TLD was established for the United States. Google did not invent the distinction, it was embedded in the web.

I grant you that in practice, we now have a total mess. It will take many years to sort out, I think. However, more and more, Google is mixing it up when traffic patterns show that any apparent TLD is actually serving international traffic.

There is another side to this, too - people complaining that google.tld contains too many TLDs that are either international or from other countries.

Simsi




msg:4193591
 10:59 pm on Aug 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

There is another side to this, too - people complaining that google.tld contains too many TLDs that are either international or from other countries.


Although that is a fairly irrelevant argument Tedster. It should be about what content is relevant to the searcher irrespective of where they live or the structure of the URL. Granted, search engine algos are no doubt still primitive compared to what they will one day be able to determine, but this particular state of affairs with ccTLD's not being "allowed" to rank elsewhere is a fairly basic and relatively easily remedied issue.

And we shouldn't forget that because domain prices are so low, it means that companies may not necessarily be able to get their optimal preferred domain names in the TLD of choice. And one of the main reasons for that is actually a direct result of Googles Adsense policy encouraging MFA sites.

tedster




msg:4193596
 11:15 pm on Aug 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

From what I see ccTLDs definitely are allowed to rank in other countries, but it takes more from them for that to happen - stronger signals all around.

dstiles




msg:4193788
 6:21 pm on Aug 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Tedster - I didn't say .COM was USA - I know it isn't. But it's managed by the US, at least for the most part, and is, as I say, mostly badly managed. My point was that google is not obeying (at least!) the spirit of WWW which should be world wide regardless of TLD.

If google wants to allow punters to search by country it's simple: either the searcher types in the country (or a subset, eg county) as they do now or present a drop-down for ALL countries. Surely that's not beyond a bunch of graduates? Even my smallest site can manage that!

Mind you, google will probably still present the wrong data. It's getting way beyond a joke.

tedster




msg:4193791
 7:03 pm on Aug 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

I do know what you're saying, dstiles. But we also know that this is not Google's philosophy today. They want to be a digital mind reader and serve what the user's intention was the first time. That's been causing a lot of frustration with long-time users for quite a while now.

aakk9999




msg:4194069
 4:16 pm on Aug 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

.com
hosted in UK
Original had set Geo targeting to UK

On June 14th I changed the settings to US and three days ago, when the Geo targeting kicked in, the following happened (searching from UK IP):

- dropped 2 positions in Google UK (UK tab only)
- jumped a page in Google UK (Web - majority of searches in UK)
- jumped four pages in Google.com

So setting my target as US, actually improved my positions in Google UK for a very relevant keyword term at present. This was done in isolation and there haven't been any other changes. I have some great data to back this up but just waiting for confirmation from Tedster on whether I can use it or not.


We have exactly the same situation (COM site, hosted in UK, was geotargeted to UK and we have today done the same - changed geotargeting from UK to USA. In fact, we were going to set it up to "unlisted", but after reading your post we decided to geotarget USA instead. It will be interesting to see whether we will get the similar results to yours - I will report back in a few weeks.

However, from what I can deduct from another of our sites is that geotargeting does not really behave in the way Google Webmaster Tools Help page describes. They say:

Google: This data supplements our existing information, and setting a geographic target won't impact your appearance in search results unless a user limits the scope of the search to a certain country.


This is not my experience. We have another site, which is a COM site hosted in Germany and geotargeted to Germany. The site is 6 months old site with exact (german language) keyword match domain. The site has hardly any links - it has only two links from on-topic but low value german sites. On google.de, standard search ("Web"), this site ranks #10 for primary keywords. Searching using the same keywords on google.at (Austria), the site is on 16th page and on google.ch (Switzerland, using German language) the same site is on 10th page! Now, in that niche German market is much more competitive than either Austrian or Switzerland market and I would not expect such a huge difference in SERPs for searches that are NOT limited to "Show sites from..." despite geotargeting.

So I suspect that in this particular case the geotargeting must have provided a significant boost to this site on german google as I do not believe the huge difference is to do with two not so great backlinks. One way to prove this would be to remove geotargeting and set it to "unlisted" to see if the site would drop big time in google.de and/or perhaps improve on google.at and google.ch, but I am not going to do this test for obvious reasons.

So either geotargeting to certain country provides huge boost on local google even when searches are done for "Web" or Google statement that geotargeting does not impact other countries' SERPs when the search is for the "Web" is not quite correct (or a bit of both).

Bewenched




msg:4195034
 2:43 pm on Sep 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm in the US and our site is in the US, we turned on Geotargeting to the United States hoping to limit the number of international inquiries a bit. Now I didn't do any A/B testing on this, but I swear the number of international orders and inquiries has risen.

Anyone else have this happen for a US based site?

netmeg




msg:4195042
 2:45 pm on Sep 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

I have one client situation where I use geotargeting. It's an ecommerce store, and for various reasons, the shipping and other logistics for getting these products to Canada made it a lot easier to just make another site and store for Canadian traffic. They are virtually the same sites, one is US only and the other is Canada only. I've set the geo targeting in WMT, and as far as I can tell, it seems to be mostly working, but I'm not in Canada. Both sites are in both Google.com and Google.ca; the US site ranks at the top of Google.com and the Canadian one at the top of Google.ca. They are essentially duplicate sites, and I'm a little surprised I haven't had more problems with this. Eventually we'll have to come up with a better solution.

badbadmonkey




msg:4195639
 4:12 pm on Sep 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

I have a .net.nz site - bad idea from Google's POV it seems.

- In Webmaster tools I cannot set the preferred domain (www.x or just x) - it says "Restricted to root level domains only"
- I see: "Geographic target - Your site's domain is currently associated with the target: New Zealand" with no option to "unlist" this.

I don't think Google recognizes .net.nz as a TLD!

Global Options:
 top home search open messages active posts  
 

Home / Forums Index / Google / Google SEO News and Discussion
rss feed

All trademarks and copyrights held by respective owners. Member comments are owned by the poster.
Home ¦ Free Tools ¦ Terms of Service ¦ Privacy Policy ¦ Report Problem ¦ About ¦ Library ¦ Newsletter
WebmasterWorld is a Developer Shed Community owned by Jim Boykin.
© Webmaster World 1996-2014 all rights reserved