Few questions on the latest on being found overseas...
First, is there any way to reliably target different regional indexes with one site? As far as I can see in WMT, you can set one country only, and only have a choice if you have an 'international' domain such as .com, .info
Is there any way around this with subdomains?
Second, advantages to country-specific domains and hosting. As far as I can see, wherever you host and whatever your domain extension you will be included in the international results of any regional Google (at least for the terms I've tried the results were pretty similar). However I saw radically different results in the country-specific indexes.
So, for example, if a searcher in Google.fr clicks 'Pays : France' then how important would the following be:
- French hosting,
- a .fr domain,
- links from sites hosted in France
- links from sites in French
Particularly interested in hearing if the reality differs from Google's stated policy on this, as I know that in the past at least Google has got this very wrong on occasion. I remember the Google.co.uk 'UK sites only' bug that saw sites like ITV.com excluded from the index altogether for months.