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Having read and re-read the thread [webmasterworld.com...] it seems clear that there are advantages to using .country domains for international sites.
In my opinion, the main reason that doing so is worthwhile is that if someone does a google search and selects “in-country (i.e. Germany, France, or whatever) pages only”, then your website will be included in the results if it is .country.
The percentage of these in-country searches that was thrown about was 20%, in the thread above. (If anyone has a real statistic for this, it would be very interesting). In my niche this could prove to be an enormous advantage.
Logically then, this fact would also apply to the UK market, where they have the .co.uk domain. If you do a search on google UK, and make it just for UK pages, many of the major U.S. sites will not show up.
So my first question is, does it make sense to register a mirror UK site, if you want to get that extra 20% of the market, which is devoid of many major competitors?
My second question is due to an observation that I made where one of my competitors, (which is a regular U.S. based .com), came up in searches that I did for only UK pages. Other major companies where excluded. Is there anyway to not have a UK server and be included in the UK results?
If there is, then it might be able to apply this to other countries as well.
I suspect that in the UK you won't get anywhere near this extra 20% traffic. Bear in mind that language is the reason for a large part of that extra 20%. A user in Spain will often chose the "Pages from Spain" because he/she wants to narrow the SERPs down to local Spanish-only pages. In the UK of course people won't care about this, and it seems to me that UK sites are given a slight bias in the "normal" SERPs anyway.
[edited by: IanTurner at 10:15 am (utc) on Mar. 28, 2006]
[edit reason] tidied post following move [/edit]
It's very interesting to know that the 20% number was real for you in Spain. I would imagine that it would be similar in other non-English speaking countries. I agree with you that the UK would probably be lower.
But it's still interesting as to how some regular .coms can show up in the UK only search. Any idea how this is possible?
To get a .com into the UK Sites results you need to have the .com hosted in the UK. (Many UK companies don't realise this and host their sites in the US and lose a lot of traffic - not that you see me complaining when one of my competitors is missing from the results)