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Sudden Boost in International Traffic from Google ccTLDs

     
6:37 am on Aug 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I run a website mainly focused on Australia and noticed through my stats that all of a sudden, around 20th-26th July, I started getting heaps more traffic from other Googles other than google.com.au.

From analytics my traffic is up as follows:

US up by 120%
UK by 90%
India by 380%
Brazil by 360%

Not complaining but did I miss an algorithmic change that's been reported?

Thanks

David
3:35 pm on Aug 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

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We're seeing a huge amount of international traffic again too. At times 30-40% of our visitors are international in the last few weeks when a month ago it might be 1% a day.
5:41 pm on Aug 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing this effect too. Something has definitely shifted in the way Google lists out-of-country websites in the search results on country versions of Google.

We know they've been playing with this over the past months - Matt Cutts even mentioned it in a video not too long ago, specifically in relation to the UK results. At that time, some UK webmasters were complaining about too many non-UK sites showing up on google.uk.

I can see that this is a balancing act for Google, and Google will continue to monitor and go with their own user satisfaction metrics. In fact, I'd guess that Google has just gone mainstream with changes they've been testing and tweaking for a long while at a low level.

We'll see how much of this change holds up in the coming weeks. I can say that the added international traffic I'm noticing seems pretty well targeted. The new international visiotrs are clicking on the search result, they are not bouncing from the site and they are converting as well as the previous traffic did.
7:02 pm on Aug 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Something has definitely shifted in the way Google lists out-of-country websites in the search results on country versions of Google.

I don't understand. How do they know which website is out-of-country but is for-the-country and which is not? Language, IP address, domain ownership, Google Places registration? IMO, nothing of these can be definitive, especially if language is English or Spanish!
8:30 pm on Aug 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

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All of the above and probably more (on page content? traffic patterns? IP of backlinks?) - all mashed up through some algorithm in the Google Kitchens that their chefs keep working on.
8:39 pm on Aug 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

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If you run website focused on Australia is it a travel-related site? If so it would be reasonable to expect folks interested in visiting Australia would want to visit your site if it is authoritative enough thus your international traffic. Now if the site is focused on internal Australian matters, political bickering etc. that would be different and would be more of interest to locals?
10:54 pm on Aug 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I saw something similar, though pumped up on July 1, went through till end of month then dropped roughly by half through all of August. Very obvious on the .co.uk, .th, .de and .fr domains for me. A change in algo or perhaps a change in now Analytics is reporting it?


Peculiar regardless.
10:59 pm on Aug 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Very obvious on the .co.uk, .th, .de and .fr

Aha, the plot thickens! Is each domain getting customized treatment as to which Google ccTLDs are involved?
6:25 am on Aug 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Wouldn't it be simple for Google to do it based on keywords? That is, if the keyword has a place (city/state/country) in it, why should a country .tld website be given a boost? The user, wherever s/he is, is looking for websites that are relevant to that place, whatever be the websites' tld, whois address be.

On the other hand, if keywords are without any place indicator, Google may well boost local websites, assuming a user say in India, searching on google.co.in for Life Insurance, implicitly means to see ranks of Indian insurance companies.

At least to this effect, I see the shift in Google SERPs.
9:11 pm on Aug 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I've not noticed any change at all. I'm sure I would notice if they changed geotargeting as I have a reasonably significant .co.uk.

The whole geotargeting thing annoys me. Why do they do it? I can see It's useful for finding local shops and saving on postage but why else would you restrict useful information coming from other locations?

I went for .co.uk as a sensible domain name was still available in 2005 and the geolocation only really started after that date. With geolocation the information on the site has not spread to the USA and as a result the US are not keeping up in the field.
9:44 pm on Aug 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

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The whole geotargeting thing annoys me.

Exactly! With that geo targeting nonsense Google is becoming a synonym of search censorship.

If people want to see local results they add a place to word/phrase they're searching for. To force people see results only for the location they're searching from is a major oversight!
11:57 pm on Aug 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

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If you run website focused on Australia is it a travel-related site? If so it would be reasonable to expect folks interested in visiting Australia would want to visit your site if it is authoritative enough thus your international traffic. Now if the site is focused on internal Australian matters, political bickering etc. that would be different and would be more of interest to locals?


Actually I sell cars so international traffic, from a business perspective is pretty worthless (shhh don't tell Google!)

Aha, the plot thickens! Is each domain getting customized treatment as to which Google ccTLDs are involved?


Yes that's right. These domains (google.com.br, google.com even) are being reported as 'Referring Sites' rather than 'Search Engines'. However it's a definite increase in traffic not just a change in reporting.

I wonder whether this traffic will drop off like stuartmacdonald's experience. I wonder if there's anything I can do to prevent a drop off?
5:43 am on Aug 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

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UPDATE:

The new traffic is through image search. The referring pages are things like google.co.in/imgres etc.
5:50 pm on Aug 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Sounds like google took image search out of the geo filter, perhaps on the rationale that a picture of a cat, car, cake... is less likely to be location limited.

I suspect searches for services or products however are increasingly location filtered (understandably). Googles tricky task is correctly associate service/product sites to country, harder for TLDs.
 

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