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Have Google made any statement regarding this or are we left to speculate on this issue also?
Linking a .ca to a .com with same content
Duplicate Content on Localised Search
They touch on the question of hosting, which I'm assuming Google looks at in relation to other localization factors to determine whether actual international presence is involved.
US hosting is so, so, so much cheaper than UK hosting
You want quality hosting, cheap, slow, unreliable hosting is available on both sides of the pond!
If you want to be 100% sure your co.uk is recognised as being UK then host in the UK, and ensure the server IS in the UK and not in Germany or elsewhere.
Google UK does seem to favor my site more then .com
I am sure it helps, but just a litle bit. There are more important factors such as getting links from UK related sites.
Had another US website hosted in Canada. Ranking fine in both Google.ca and Google.com. Set up a Google webmaster account and told them it was a US website, not a US one. I was hoping it would help it in the US rankings, and remove if from the Canadian. In fact, what Google's done so far is absolutely nothing - no change in either Serp.
So while I'd like to beleive that Google.ca or Google.co.uk are from Canada and the UK, and that Google.com is US, I'm actually buying into the idea that Google.com is for international results.
I have a couple of .co.uk sites that are hosted in the US. When I actively maintained them (optimizing and fresh content) they both searched #1 for various terms in the UK Google. The sites were about financial services for the UK only.
But I noticed a .com or two that were UK-hosted and which ranked very highly in both the UK Google and the US Google. .com sites hosted in the UK have the distinct advantage that they can search well in both the UK Google AND the US Google. My .co.uk sites never did search well in the US Google.
Wish I'd noticed that before I went with the .co.uk TLD. I believe I'd gotten more traffic. I admit however that I've never seen stats on how many UK residents use the "Search the Web" function vs. "UK pages only." Anybody know?
I checked a whole stack of stats files recently and I found that about 20% seem to use the "UK pages only" function.
The first pass at ascertaining where your site is from is TLD, then IP, then on-page indicators like postal addresses, phone numbers, even spelling of certain words (colour/color). So if you're on a .com and a US IP, you might see yourself fall out of UK SERPs. You can set your target in your WEbmaster Tools account on Google. I'd set that first, wait a little while, then change hosting.
[edited by: UKSEOer at 5:39 pm (utc) on Jan. 28, 2008]