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Dropping of .com.au and co.uk domains in google.com



11:09 pm on Nov 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I manage about 15 sites, all using more or less the same technology and SEO principles. IN the last week I've noticed 3 sites drop heavily in google.com, the only thing in common is they are .com.au sites.

the information they contain, is internationally relevant and I've never had this problem before.

Anyone else noticing regionally specific domain names dropping on google.com, sites that had previously done well before?


3:02 am on Nov 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I've not noticed anything. My site is a com.au and Australian focussed so only a tiny proportion of traffic is international. I had a look & if anything it looks like the proportion of international traffic has increased (although I didn't drill down to the source of that traffic so it's possible that a loss of traffic from search mught have been more than compensated elsewhere I guess)


6:11 am on Nov 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I am beginning to suspect that its a false posative. There IS a problem, but its only bad enough to affect international rankings, on .com.au sites. Whenever I see rankings suddenly drop on a .com.au site.... usually the drop is google.com first.

time to start hunting for problems.


1:43 am on Nov 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I posted about this exact topic in [webmasterworld.com...]

I don't want to double post but I have noticed this industry wide for web design, seo related sites in AU.

Essentially I think could be a sign of things to come - a re-weighting of regional websites within the .com SERPs.

Or .. a glitch that G is fixing .. ;)


5:13 am on Nov 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Wedll. it does seem after looking at different industries, that .com.au has been filtered down in results on google.com. Wow, that is massively not good.

I have internationally relevant content, however the sites are operated from .com.au.

Advice on getting stains out of your best shirt(for example) is the same the world over.

It seems rather silly, that I need a .com, to do well on google.com.

Years of work down the drain.


5:43 am on Nov 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I am facing the same issue with one of my client site with tld as .ca

Does this means we have to start all over it again?


6:11 am on Nov 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Its got such huge implications for those of use that just saw our traffic hammered. Has Google now decided to drastically change the weighting of regional domain names in google.com? Is it a test, or is it permanent?

Is it now the case that with new sites that are internationally relevant.... we should forgo a regional domain name now?

[edited by: tedster at 5:36 pm (utc) on Nov. 5, 2008]


6:37 am on Nov 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I wouldn't go jumping ship and building a new website in the target region just yet, but, yes, it would be nice to hear from someone in the know. Alternatively you could go the old school way and wait 6 weeks and if it is still the same way then you know the answer .. ;)

This is going to have a big impact on exporters and foreign sales for sites selling cross region .. bit like a US embargo on foreign trade. Anyone else feel like Cuba circa 1962? .. lol .. now if only i could find a site to buy a "real" cigar from .. ;)


7:20 am on Nov 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Hmmn, yes I did think that for a moment(embargo) and yes I agree do nothing for a while to existing sites.

I can understand weighting on shopping issues, but not on information. What difference does it make whether the site is regional or international if I am searching for "How to remove chewing gum from my cat's fur"

Is US chewing gum, the spit of US people, or the cat hair of US cats so different that a poorly written 1 paragraph page from a .com should rank above a 10 page article with many more incoming links on a .com.au.


8:06 am on Nov 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I use google for International searches. The general perception I have found, particularly from the US, is that google.com and .com domains in general are US oriented domains.

My uk hosted .com has recently been performing worse in the .com index despite a number of links from US sites. I'm glad to get good results locally, but the internet is global, not local.

If US webmasters cannot see my site in the SERPS then how am I ever going to attract links from them? The filter will have a cumulative effect with a big BIAS kicking in as new links are only aquired from "local regions!"

Google should leave the .com for international sites, level the playing field, and allow people to tick a box to narrow it down to a region. At least this way they will get a picture of how many people actually want to see local results.

If I want an electrician I will search locally and usually add (in my area) to the search query.

If I want to read up on feline deseases or DIY tips I want my results to come from a global search.


11:23 pm on Nov 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I am seeing an 80% recovery of rankings on my .com.au's as well as seeing other regional domains pop into the results. I am not sure whether to be pleased or not. 80% recovered, still means only middle of page two, instead of middle of page 1. Might as well be middle of page 50.

I do hope Google doesn't keep a small filter for the sake of not admitting they were totally wrong. Using my example from above(chewing gum) the content has international relevance regardless of the domain name extension, and does not deserve a small, or large "filter".

I am fine with the concept of a google.us, favoring US operated/extensioned sites, but google.com should be giving no bias to regional/not regional domain names, content should be the only factor.

MY 2 cents.


2:58 am on Nov 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

its a question of industry and site specifics. there are a ton of metrics that could be coming into play here as well.

For example, andthese are just thoughts .. you could be ranking extremely well in .com and .com.au for a term, call it blue widget. When google delivers traffic to your site the visitors show through their use of your site, a 90% bounce rate if they are from the US(.com) and a 10% bounce rate from Australia(.com.au). Clearly this shows that G should give preference to a more local site than the .com.au in the .com for because the visitors have cast their vote on what they prefer. If proven across several related industry sites it might be judged to be a re-weighting required for the whole industry.

I know for sure that my .com visitors are less likely to interact, even by only 5-10% than my .com.au visitors.

IMHO, this change is for the better anyway .. I don't want to deal with US, UK or any International organisations .. although, Google deciding that for me is not ideal .. but in many ways, warranted and necessary for better search to searcher relevancy.


9:40 pm on Nov 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Yes, but most information sites are simply not regionally specific.

The 1000 most popular baby names and their meanings.
The 500 fastest horses in history.
History of Boxing.
How to remove cat pee from your carpet.

These have no region.

Anwyay, I guess I have to let it go. Got hit with the filter/penalty and now have recovered totally on average, 2 sites are ranking higher than normal, another almost as high.

very odd.


3:12 am on Nov 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Good news indeed.
AU is country level TLD and should stay regional no matter what info it features.
People used .com.au's because they outperformed .com's in terms of SEO on very popular terms.
Having ccTLDs in .com playground was not cool.

PS: Some competitors of mine vanished too lately so I'm cool with this. I see less .co.uk and .com.au then before and I like it.


5:09 am on Nov 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

au domain names, predate the existence of regional search engines. Many people have regional domain names to indicate the country the operate from, but their content dictates whether they are national, or international.

But like I said, it appears whatever was going on, has been rolled back, not sure if its permanant but ok for now.