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Please accept my apologies if I am behind the times! I spend too much time developing and unfortunately, not enough time reading WebmasterWorld!
It has always been my understanding that sites will be returned in the "UK sites only" option in google.co.uk if
1) They are hosted in the UK
2) If they have the .co.uk extension.
I have just noticed one of my .co.uk sites appear in no.1 position for a particular search in google.com/co.uk but it is filtered out in "UK Sites Only".
Has google changed its policy on what it considers a UK site?
<edit> This site is hosted in US </edit>
We have a .co.uk hosted in the UK.
I just did a series of searches for common and competitive phrases to the US and UK.
We rank better in 'UK only sites'.
Most results are surprisingly similar for UK only compared to Worldwide, but we never do worse for 'UK only searches'
The site is 2 years old, pr7 and gets around 7000 uniques per day from google.
HOWEVER, with the inktomi rankings and googles strange behaviour I am worried and would never host in the US again, just to be safe :)
I am also concerned about this issue because I have a .com site hosted in the UK. However the pages that show in a Google UK-only allinurl: search are always fewer (currently 12%) than those in the same Google all-Web search. I wondered if Google were phasing out that part of the UK database which would bring them in line with Inktomi. I emailed Google UK about this issue and got the following reply:
For our UK-specific searches, we try to include pages that are hosted in the UK. If your pages are hosted in the UK they should be showing up for a UK-specific search.
Note they said try. They are not guaranteeing anything. Nor did they mention future intent.
The main problem is that Inktomi (and possibly others?) do not include .com site hosted in the UK in their UK-only results. The effect of this is that a Mr or Ms Average who access the web via an ISP page with an MSN search will just use the search facilty as presented to them, which in the UK means they will never find my site.
Logically the Inktomi/MSN problem could be solved by a duplicate site with a .co.uk name. To get an "official" view on this I mentioned it to Google UK. As expected they replied:
We would not suggest creating duplicate pages with the co.uk domain name. This will probably end up causing more trouble than it will fix.
As my site is basically an info site. it would be difficult to create a .co.uk site with different content. And what would be the point?
The only solution I can come up with is to create a duplicate .co.uk site and ban it from Google. But that is not as easy as it sounds - I have enough problems getting meaningful links to just one site, let alone two! :)
At the current time, if mine were a commercial site, I would go for a .co.uk site hosted in the UK with a specifically UK content. It's the only way to get around the different approaches taken by Google and the other search engines.
This was tested with a .co.uk and .com domain name. The .com hosted in England, the .co.uk hosted in the states. Both sites were optimised for the same term and appear next to each other in the global serps.
The .com won't appear at all, yahoo only show .co.uk, wherever the hosting is.
"UK IP Address regardless of the extension ranks higher than a .co.uk"
Nope, as I said earlier, our .co.uk site hosted in the states ranks higher when the uk only button is clicked. I can sticky you examples if you wish.
If i compare this with how google.de works:
I guess nobody will ever check the box "pages from DE". But aol.de uses exactly this as its default. So maybe aol.co.uk uses "pages from the UK" as its default ...
That would be normal, it is effectively a .com hosted in the USA and so logically has no recognised association to the UK. Harsh I accept but thats the way it seems to work.
I have dropped my .com's in favour of .co.uk's because I was receiving no traffic from uk only searches on Google.
My .co.uk's are hosted in Germany and show up on both searches (web and .co.uk) on Google, but the old .com's I had would not show on uk only searches.
My products are uk specific so I only really want uk customers.
Our .com site is now a PR5 after a year of mistakes and pitfalls.
How would someone go about favouring the .co.uk domains that have registered? Can i leave all my .com's registered with the directorys, engines etc and do a permanent redirect? or is that just a waste of time?
The Service provider unilateraly and without informing me moved to USA hosting.
This .co.uk site held its positions seamlessly but a similar .com site for a different client droppeded through the floor for a Google,co,uk "pages from the UK" search.
I think that you owe MHES an apology. If you go back and read JudgeJeffries post a little more carefully you see that he has a .uk.com domain, and that's what MHES was referring to. I think that we all agree that .co.uk sites show up in UK searches wherever they are hosted.
I read it as a .co.uk......sorry dude my mistake :)
Maybe it is this because I have this line in my head?
<meta http-equiv="Content-Language" content="en-gb">
Maybe it is because the word 'UK' appears on all my pages?
Maybe because I submitted my site via the co.uk add url form?
Maybe it is because UK sites link to me?
Maybe it has nothing to do with any of the above but it just seems odd that I show up okay yet don't have co.uk or uk IP.
The safest approach for UK is to host the site in the uk with a .co.uk domain.
.com's have always shown up on Google.co.uk if the site is hosted in the UK.
As soon as you host any site somewhere else you are running the risk of losing the added value given to the uk host.
To prove our point, we experimented with a German-based host/IP and lost all the uk test domains from the serps.
Additionally, there are other factors involved here that need to be taken into account: DMOZ UK directory listings and other UK directory listings, Yahoo UK directory listing, etc. All these help point to the site being a UK site and will factor into the equation.