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Google's "improvement" costed me recently 80% traffic on one server as they sort pages by IP and not by TLD and language, meaning all the english .com pages are in the .de index under "from Germany", instead of the international index.
I guess if someone in Rumania would host their pages at a cheap German ISP they would serve most pages probably to the Germans and not the Rumanians. Google logic.
And that their dual content mania essentially killed the idea of mirrors doesn't seem to bother them much either.
I agree with you.
“Place of business = Place of location of the server” is an outdated concept that should not be followed by anyone.
I'll state a prestigious "previous experiment" on this risky concept.
The OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, www.oecd.org) at the early stages of the e-commerce boom, tried to outline the guidelines to determine the residency of an online business. The 1st guess was to establish the correlation between physical location of the server and actual place of the e-business (Google, MSN, Yahoo etc. are doing this right now, as you said).
Because of the various hosting plans scattered around the world, which lead to big distortions in the application of the trade laws, the OECD soon changed his approach stated above.
In fact, a company hosting its servers in Anguilla was not paying taxes on its profits as that was a zero-tax jurisdiction, and there was a risk that hosting in the US, you would have had to pay all US taxes and not the European ones (if the company was all European), even if the company managers and employees had never touched the US soil in their entire life. Bit distortive, isn’t it?
In year 2002 they in fact change their approach, to signify that the place of e-business (where a e-business is located) is not to be investigated only and merely through the too easy and inaccurate approach “where the server is located”, but they diverted the attention on more substantial factors like where decisions are taken and where e-business is operated, conducted and founded.
“a server cannot, by itself, constitute a permanent establishment” says this paper.
Translated in Search Engine Geotargeting terms, we could state that “a server location cannot, by itself, constitute a proof of residency or relationship of that business with that certain Country”.
If this principle was revised/patched for tax purposes, there should be a genuine reason for this...
All the issues about "try to register a local TLD" are all wipped out by your example: you are hosting in Germany with a .com domain, and you are speaking english on yoru site. Not an issue with TLD here... unless someone whould argue ".com = international". But again, this will defeat the application of the geotargeting (if international, why you filter me by Germany only?).
Coming back to the topic, Regarding "squids in different countries" I meant to ask if someone had heard anything about this posisbility for "human" webmasters.
In short: if you do:
uk.domain.com served from the UK
which has the identical content of
domain.com hosted in the US
is uk.domain.com site going to be picked for UK searches AND better ranked (and or in the place of) the .com version?
(I make the assumption of US and UK as they are the brightest examples of how geotargeting can hit severely, as thoses are 2 very big markets served with the same language, on one of which you are forced to rank worse because of geotargeting.
I know, I know... regarding "same language" Oscar Wilde, and not only him, would not agree with me... But I assume that "blue widgets" can be described in the very same way both in American English and in British English.