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Country specific domains vs .com & Google

Does it matter if I use a country specific domain ..

   
11:16 am on Oct 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Does it matter if I use a country specific domain (like widgets.xx) hosted in the USA versus a .com domain. I mean does Google prefer a .com domain over the country specific one and is there an effect on SERPS.

I would appreciate any input for the experts on this forum :)

11:57 am on Oct 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I can illustrate this using UK and US as examples:
Take widgets.com and widgets.co.uk both hosted in the US
Given the same good SEOd content (not simultaeneously though):

widgets.com would score well in the US but badly in the UK
widgets.co.uk would score well in the UK but badly in the US

IMHO for the US, widgets.com hosted within US IP block EVERY time

12:17 pm on Oct 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



piskie

I know this isn't quite the original question, but I understood that if you wanted to do well in the UK (for instance), then it would be best to be hosted in the UK. Is this still the case?

2:12 pm on Oct 12, 2004 (gmt 0)



webmaster99 - absolutely spot on, without UK hosting you more than likely will not rank at all! The same applies to nearly all Google country specific searches since most of them offer the opportunity to search www.com, pages in the specified language only and pages from that specified country only.

I have had .biz, .info and .co.uk ranked #1 in Google.com for specific keywords when trialling new pages which subsequently moved to the .com pages therefore I feel it is the quality plus backlinks which assist more than just a .com.

Obviously there are more .com's at the top simply because more have been bought however it would be interesting to know whether there is a slight weighting factor towards .com.

Incidentally, all our sites are hosted in the UK and all have top rankings onboth .com and .co.uk...next challenge .de and .fr!

6:13 pm on Oct 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I have a theory that linking can have something to do with the differences as well.

If you get a whole bunch of UK based sites to link to a US based site, I think you could actually help in in the serps.

At least this works reversly. I have a site in English with lots of US based sites linking in (as well as UK based), and it ranks equally well on .com, .se and .co.uk.

Then I have do work for another site, predominantly in English, with only Swedish sites (based in Sweden) linking in. For the main one-word keyword (that it is optimized for) it ranks #1 on google.se but #16 on google.com. (Added. For the record, it ranks as #13 on google.co.uk)

More clarification:
The first site, that ranks well on .com, .se and .co.uk has the .com tdl and the second, that only ranks well on .se is a .nu site, so I can't be positive if the effect only has to do with what country is linking in, but it isn't as easy as a .se will only rank well on google.se...

6:40 pm on Oct 12, 2004 (gmt 0)



> For the main one-word keyword (that it is optimized for) it ranks #1 on google.se but #16 on google.com. (Added. For the record, it ranks as #13 on google.co.uk)

Nikke - Are the sites in front of you all relevant?

Are those in front of you in .com nearly the same as the ones in .co.uk or are they completely different?

Are the ones in .com shown in .co.uk at all?

I assume none of those sites appear at all anywhere in Google.se?

7:27 pm on Oct 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



OptiRex!

Nikke - Are the sites in front of you all relevant?

They are. The keyword is a name, and the name appears in title and text (and sometimes, but not always) on all those pages in front of me.

Are those in front of you in .com nearly the same as the ones in .co.uk or are they completely different?
Are the ones in .com shown in .co.uk at all?

Actually, this time I got another set of results, and the UK results where exactly the same as the US results.

I assume none of those sites appear at all anywhere in Google.se?

Oh, they are all there, a little bit re-ordered. Still, in pretty much the same order as on .com and .co.uk, with the exception of "my" site.

Since the name (on "my" site an artists name) is a very common Polish first name, a majority of the sites in front of us on .co.uk and .com are Polish. Not all though, there are quite a lot of UK, US and Canadian sites (even a .gov) thrown in there.
So, on a whim I checked google.pl, where my site was down to #20. Here the order wasn't anything like the .com results, but I see pretty much the same sites.

Still, I think, this kind of backs my theory.

When trying to go geographically local, I also checked our neighbouring countries. The new Google.no ranks the site as #6. Just as Google.fi and Google.dk.

8:35 pm on Oct 12, 2004 (gmt 0)



Nikke, you got me thinking here so I checked one of my two word key phrases in www search in some languages and the results were as follows:

.com and .co.uk #1
.dk .fr .fi .no and .se #3
.de #6
.it #15

Interestingly where I am #1, the company which is #1 where I am #3, is the same USA site, and he is #5 in .de plus #1 in .it.

This I find amazing since this trade specific kw phrase is actually Italian...!

What all this means I have no idea except that the www search in each language is generating different results.

8:35 am on Oct 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Great topic, atleast for me as this is something I have been wondering about.

We are soon to launch a new Norwegian website, with a .no domain and the the site content is in norwegian. I will also only trade links with other norweigan sites. So could hosting the site in US hurt my local google ranking in google.no?

I don't see why google would do this as it dosen't make sence. Internet has made the world a small place and people are hosting their sites all over the place. I don't see how the geographically placement of the webhost will be a good way for google to find out what country the site belongs to. I'd say that the sites language, domain, and the other sites that link to the site will be enough to find it's proper place in google. I don't see how the hosting should play a part at all as it in so many cases will be misleading. I am not sayin it dosen't, just that it would be so wrong if it did.

12:00 pm on Oct 13, 2004 (gmt 0)



Venix!

If you want to be #1 in Google.no then make sure your server is located in Norway. I've absolutely no doubt you could get it cheaper in the US but don't even bother taking the risk.

Actually I feel that is makes a lot of sense for Google to have "country" specific SE's/databases since it should, I guess 90%+, mean that particular web site is more than likely meant for that specific country PLUS if it is optimised correctly it will also appear at the top of Google.com.

A bonus for you is that it should be infinitely easier to be #1 in .no than .com however since the site will be in Norwegian that probably negates my argument except for the hosting location issue.

Look at it as though Google.com is the SE for the entire Net and that the country specific SE's are for the regional markets.

Certainly if I were constructing a SE this is the way I would plan it too.

The slight differences between the www search on the country specific sites and Google.com I would guess is simply the lag in updating their information from .com.

A question for you.

How do you search for something you require in Norway? Do you go to .com or .no?

Are the results more relevant through .no than .com?

If so, then check the location of their hosts and go that route...I know where my money would be:-)

4:05 pm on Oct 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Thank you all for your input and for continuing this discussion.

I was searching to see a pattern in Google. During my search I found a .ro site that is ranked #11 in Google.com and Google.ro for one keyword (very competitive one). The site's IP is Romanian, yet is ranked well in both of google.com and Google.ro!

6:51 pm on Oct 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



And the Romanian site probably has quite some of US based sites linking in?
7:34 am on Oct 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



hi,

the information i've read on this board of how google treats country specific domains has been that, if you want to rank well in a regional google index you need either

a) the specific .tld (.es, .de, .fr)
OR
b) a server located in that area

not necessarily both.

our sites would seem to back this up: we have .es sites which are hosted in the UK and the US which all score highly in google.es 'pages from Spain' - although both pages are very clearly not from Spain, they simply have a Spanish .tld

just my 2 cents. but it has never harmed us to go with cheaper / better hosting options in foreign countries, as long as the .tld is correct.

cheers

8:05 am on Oct 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Nikke,

The Romanian site I have noted has only 5 backlinks in Google.com and Google.ro (link:www.widget.ro).

4 US backlinks and 1 German.

8:49 pm on Oct 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I've been thinking on nothing but what it actually means that Google could be ranking sites depending on country specific backlinks the past days. How should I use this new knowledge?

The problem I have is that I do have quite affordable hosting in Sweden, I'm very satisfied as it is, but I don't run country specific sites. I'm not after Swedish visitors. Heck, there are only 9 million of us!

Still, I don't want in to that shady wheeling'n'dealing link exchange business... Guess I'll just stick to what I did before, build good sites with a close eye on what happens to SERPs.

8:43 pm on Oct 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Ok, I found a .md (Republic of Moldova) Web site that ranks in the top 10 for Google.com and it has .ro back links (around 300), majority are .ro
9:46 am on Oct 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Here is an interesting slant on this question.

If one has an ecommerce site that is targeted equally at both the UK and US audience, it would make sense to get a .com and a .co.uk for this site to live on.

Would this trip Google's duplicate content filters?

It is a legitimate us of domain names. On site, two target countries, two TLDs to get the site ranking well in each country specific search; one big Google problem waiting to happen?

Anyone have any ideas?

BD

9:49 am on Oct 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sem4u is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Big_Dug

I am looking for an answer to this too:

[webmasterworld.com...]

11:43 am on Oct 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



>If one has an ecommerce site that is targeted equally at both the UK and US audience, it would make sense to get a .com and a .co.uk for this site to live on.

Google.com is not a US search, but a world search. It is an even playing field with domain ending/hosting/location of links in having no influence. There is no local search for the US, (except the totally useless uncle Sam google search)

Therefore, having a .co.uk or hosting in the UK will help you rank for local UK searches and that is all you need to worry about. There is no way any domain ending or hosting will help you in a google.com search.

11:53 am on Oct 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



>There is no way any domain ending or hosting will help you in a google.com search.

We host both .co.uk and .com domains.
Our .com TLDs do tend to rank better in .com search engines (Google included, although it is less pronounced than in others).

BD

12:23 pm on Oct 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Something I have worried about a bit is cross linking penalties. if you have your .com which has a link on every page to your translated .de site and vice versa would a penalty kick in?
9:53 pm on Oct 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Maybe I can add something to this topic.

In our case there is something strange happening lately, we have 2 sites, which are hosted in the US, but target a country version of Google. These two sites are completely different from eachother and are hosted on unique IP's (which are in the same C class range). The strange thing I noticed that now once a while Google updates or refreshes its index and places everytime one of the sites at the second page of the serps, this changes over and over.

I started to think that maybe the problem is IP related, is it worth testing if a change of host to an IP in our country (instead of hosting in the US) would make any difference in Google ranking both sites somewhere next to eachother?

Istvan

7:41 am on Oct 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



>is it worth testing if a change of host to an IP in our country

Or just a more different ip :)

 

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