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UK Server for google UK?

 7:55 am on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hi, I moved my site, a .net from it's UK based server as it was rubbish to a US based server but I am noticing that I am getting more google.com traffic than I used to. Does google still need me to be on a country based server to get traffic from that country if I don't have a country based .tld? I thought google had moved on from that now?


Andy Langton

 8:16 am on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

I thought google had moved on from that now?

In what sense? It's very tricky to work out country targeting based on content alone. Even if you publish a UK address, there are plenty of sites targeting countries other than were the business registered office is. Similarly, language cues are not very reliable, and in some cases would be all but impossible to use effectively (take this site, for instance).

The thing to check is to perform a site:example.com search for your site, and the restrict pages to 'from the UK'. If you don't show up, then you need an alternative way of geo-targeting. lus you get to play the fun "where does Google think my site is located" game via the advanced search box.

The simple answer, though, is that for a generic TLD, Google still relies very heavily on server location. Host your UK-focused .net in the US at your peril!


 8:38 am on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

Have you tried geotargeting the site to UK via Google webmaster tools?


 8:46 am on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hi sem4u yes it's UK targeted

Andy Langton

 9:34 am on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

geotargeting the site to UK via Google webmaster tools?

I've seen some mixed results with that setting - and it also takes some time to take effect. How long ago did you make the change?


 9:39 am on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hi Andy, a good couple of years ago I should think.


 9:13 pm on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

a good couple of years ago I should think

Sheesh ... don't be so impatient! ;-)

A thought: is the text on the page written in UK English rather than in American English? IE: "Serialised" rather than "Serialized" and "innocent until proven guilty" etc.


 9:30 am on Oct 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hi Simsi, it's all in UK English. Do you think I should possibly move it to a UK server?


 9:36 am on Oct 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

Personally yes, I would do that. I'm not sure how much clout it has but it is one more signal that the site is UK-aimed.

I've always felt it's wrong for Google to make assumptions about a site's target audience based on hosting location and dialect as one major benefit of the web is to break down International barriers. Be much better if they allowed some sort of META tag where you could specify included or excluded ISO codes but right now that's not an option so as many signals as you can throw out the better in my opinion.


 12:42 pm on Oct 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

I've always had trouble with non UK domains on non UK servers... so much so I refuse to move to the Azure Cloud because of this (even the EU servers are allocated a US IP Address).

I have tested .co.uk domains in the Azure cloud and these are fine.

So I would definitely re-host your .net domain back to the UK if possible, ASAP.


 1:33 pm on Oct 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

For Google and Bing/Yahoo!, as you mention, geo-location is largely determined by one of two factors: (1) the presence of a Country Code Top Level Domain Name like .uk, .ca, .fr, etc., or (2) for generic TLDs (.com, .net, .org, .info, etc.) the physical location of the server that hosts the site, based on its IP address. Other factors like the geo-location of the sites linking to yours also play a role, at least in Google. Keep in mind that language is a separate issue and is generally a page-level factor.

In essence, by moving your site to a US-based host, you've sent a strong signal that your site should be seen as being in the US. That's why you're getting traffic from google.com now, and very probably less traffic from the UK. I'd suggest taking petehall's advice and find another UK-based host.

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