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I have a .co.uk website that for five years has featured in the number one position for a search term. A few months ago it started to drop on Google.com and it has not recovered. It is still number one on Google UK but it has cost me about half of my traffic.
This is quite a concern as my site is designed to reach a global audience and Google has arbitrarily decided otherwise.
The major search engines use two common criteria to determine the geo-location of a site: (1) the presence of a Country Code Top Level Domain name (ie. 'somesite.co.uk'), or (2) for generic TLDs like .com, .net, .org, .info, etc. the physical location of the server that hosts the site based on its IP address. Google used to say they would consider the domain registration data, but they no longer refer to this. No other factors are used for geo-location by any of the major search engines.
This is why .co.uk domains tend to rank poorer in Google.com than in Google.co.uk, and is also why .com domains hosted outside the UK will not appear in the results on Google.co.uk when the user requests "pages from the UK" no matter how many links from other UK-based sites point to it. To rank well in a specific country's version of the search engines, you need to either have the corresponding Country Code Top Level Domain Name or have your site hosted on a server that is physically located in that country.
This is quite a concern as my site is designed to reach a global audience and Google has arbitrarily decided otherwise
This is certainly one of the strangest decisions Google have ever made IMO.
If their thinking is that you should own the local extension for each market, leaving aside the fact that most are probably squatted and only available at extortionate prices, then is it not logical that duplicate content issues on different ccTLDs would be discounted (in same-language markets at least)?
If that's the case, then it opens up a whole new spider's web (sic) of blackhat and scraping opportunities. If it's not the case, then where is the logic in Google deciding on behalf of the user where their target market should be? I find it baffling.
[edited by: Simsi at 10:29 pm (utc) on Sep. 17, 2007]
I have a site which is ranking on .co.in but not on .com .
My domain is a .com and address is of India as the contact address on the site.
But I have the site hosted in
Texas - Houston - Jaguar Technologies Llc .
But even then it is not showing in .com . I think its important for me to get rankked in .com as I have USA only as the target market.
I'm in the UK and have a UK IP address I use to access the web. If I go to .com and perform a search for 'software widgets' then I can see our company on page 1.
If I then use a proxy server hosted in the US to access .com and perform the same search (in other words, G will see the proxy's IP address) for 'software widgets' we are at the foot of page 2.
All of the things mentioned above seem to be factors, but I believe that where your links come from matter as well.