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".au" ; ".uk" ".ca" Sites.
How do they affect geo-targeted searches?

 10:58 pm on May 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hey guys,

A client of mine has franchises across the US as well as in Canada. Right now, they keep everything about both the American and Canadian franchises on one site, but were curious to know if building out a separate Canadian website would be worth their time and money to take advantage of Canadian search volume.

I guess I was wondering how having a "clientname.ca" would affect search rankings. Does it affect searches coming from google.com or just google.ca?

Any insight would be helpful. Thank you!



 11:38 pm on May 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google.com gives somewhat different results depending on the searcher's location. google.ca will give distinctly different results than google.com for the same location.

Hosting location definitely impacts rankings in google.ca. .ca on a domain, since that requires a canadian entity to own one, must almost certainly be a ranking factor in Google.ca. The hosting location I know is a factor, the .ca domain, I can't believe it isn't one.

Third behind that would be getting lots of links from either other.ca domains, or .com's hosted in Canada. But the first two are gimmes, you should do that.


 11:51 pm on May 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Now I say all that, and I just did a search on canadian specific search term and got the same results on google.com and google.ca. Huh. Anyway, most of the searches would be different on the two Google's.


 12:53 am on May 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks Wheel. It sounds like you think it may be worth it.

I will just have to take into account the actual search volume coming from Canada to see if it justifies building out a new site.

One other thing I have to consider is that with a new site, it will have no age, and much less content than the US site that we have been linking to for years.

It just seems like a toss up to me. If anybody else has run into this issue I'd love to hear you thoughts as well.


 2:53 am on May 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

I don't have a take on how .ca domains rank versus .com domains in the Canadian serps...

However, there is also the psychological aspect. Will it be easier to market the .ca site to Canadians (outside of google)? Will it be easier to get links from Canadian sites to sites with a .ca extension than it would be to get them to a .com extension? If you sell stuff, will Canadian customers trust a .ca stuff more than a .com site?

The Canadians I know are pretty darn proud of their country, and possibly having a .ca domain might pay off in other ways. I don't know...

anyway, hope this helps.


 11:42 pm on May 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

Apparently there is a (relatively) new video on YouTube with Matt Cutts where he addresses this issue.

Axandra's Weekly Search engine Facts newsletter has this summary of what Matt Cutts says regarding server location:

7. The IP address of your website can influence its rankings

If you want to get high rankings on Google.fr, it helps if your website has a French IP address. Websites that do not have a French IP address can also get high rankings but a French IP address helps.

Just something to think about.


 2:58 am on Jun 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

I just did a search on canadian specific search term and got the same results on google.com and google.ca. Huh. Anyway, most of the searches would be different on the two Google's.

Wrong test. You need to search for non-specific terms. Sites that also contain Canada-specific terms like, say, for example, "hockey" will rank higher in google.ca than google.com. They don't have to mention Canada by name, though I'm sure it doesn't hurt. (I know this first-hand because one of my directories is loaded down with a Canada-specific term.)

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