aakk9999 - 4:16 pm on Aug 30, 2010 (gmt 0)
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).