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Google.co.nz displaying AU version of site instead of NZ version

 5:13 am on Sep 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Iím working on SEO for a website which has both .com.au and .co.nz versions

For some reason when searching in Google.co.nz it almost always displays the .com.au version of the site.

The sites are very similar but not totally identical.

The .co.nz pages which do show up over .com.au ones are pages for the NZ locations, however these pages also exist on the .com.au website, so they arenít even unique to the second site.

Weíve checked sitemaps and tested/resubmitted them, all seems ok here.

The .co.nz site is definitely indexed, but for some reason the .com.au one almost always displays in search results.

Anyone had a similar issue or able to offer some advice?



 11:57 am on Sep 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

You could try to set the country in webmaster tools (probably won't work - its usually turned off for CCTLD domains)

You could put a canonicalization meta on each page, to the correct url with correct domain.

Basically, I'd say the .au site has picked up more 'strength' than the .nz one and so the .nz pages are falling to the Duplicate filter. It shouldn't happen, but maybe they have put .nz and .au in one bucket? :(


 2:03 pm on Sep 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Edit..( didn't read carefully enough , was on the phone at the same time ) ..is this example.com.au and example.co.nz ( as posted ) or .com.au and .com.nz..?

If the former ..IME ( lots of observations down the years ) G gives slightly less weight to "example.co.whatever" than to "example.com.whatever"..

Of course YMMV :)..but it is what I've seen..


 7:59 pm on Sep 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

G gives slightly less weight to "example.co.whatever" than to "example.com.whatever".

How can they? I thought .co. and .com. existed in complementary distribution, so any one country has one or the other but not both. I assume there's a list somewhere, but a cursory skip through raw logs says that countries that drive on the left* are .co. while countries that drive on the right are .com.

* This is not literally true, but it sure seems that way. .co.uk, .co.in, .co.jp et cetera ;)


 10:54 pm on Sep 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

NZ uses .co.nz rather than .com.nz (they also use .ac.nz, not edu.nz - no idea where the difference came from...)

Thats bizarre, Leo - can you give a reference?
I think the point here is they aren't getting the localisation right...


 11:53 pm on Sep 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Sorry, nope, never bothered to note the particular sites..just an observation, as I see more .com.br than .other.br , and there are an awful lot of others in .br ;)

Same with many other countries that use suffix systems..if they have a .com.tld and .something(s).tld
, I see many more of the .com.tld variant..

Could be an "innate" thing encoded into search algos ( western ones at least ) by their writers as a product of cultural conditioning..

I have seen it before on searches I've made where the results were coming from Australia or New Zealand ( re flora , fauna, geology etc, where the responses could have come from either..and the .com.au was predominating for no good reason that I could see ) maybe it was just down to the number of links and where they were from..

Given that Australia has nearly 5 times the number of Universities that New Zealand has..and the store that G put in links from Universities..maybe that would explain it , at least in relation to my searches..

Tangential to this ..
demonstrates how many potential variations one can has available when constructing a domain name :)
A domain name consists of one or more parts, technically called labels, that are conventionally concatenated, and delimited by dots, such as example.com.
The right-most label conveys the top-level domain; for example, the domain name www.example.com belongs to the top-level domain com.
The hierarchy of domains descends from right to left; each label to the left specifies a subdivision, or subdomain of the domain to the right. For example: the label example specifies a subdomain of the com domain, and www is a sub domain of example.com. This tree of subdivisions may have up to 127 levels.
Each label may contain up to 63 characters. The full domain name may not exceed a total length of 253 characters in its external dotted-label specification.[8] In the internal binary representation of the DNS the maximum length requires 255 octets of storage.

and also the "Public Suffix List"

The latter is rich ground for the imaginations of those who want to "bag" the next del.icio.us or "URL shortener", before it gets snapped up by the VCs..

To return to the OP ..where are you hosting each version ? ..If they are both hosted in Australia, that may well be causing it..

Personally I'd host the com.au in Australia..and the co.nz in New Zealand, G does like to force Geo hosting as well as Geo targeting..and bing is even worse about where the site(s) are hosted..

Always ( if at all possible ) host where your target searchers are searching from..


 1:31 am on Sep 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

Agree on the hosting locations - when you are trying to force them to get it right, you need every little edge you can get :)

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