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Geotargeting in Webmaster Tools for site with about 50% of traffic from non-US locations

     

beerSEO

7:35 pm on Sep 10, 2013 (gmt 0)



Hello,

First, thanks in advance for the replies!

I have an eCommerce site that has let's say 30k visits a month, and roughly 50% of that are visits coming form withing the United States. The other half are coming from outside the US, which is fine, if we shipped internationally; but we don't. These visitors are probably bringing down the overall time on page and increasing the bounce rate as well; as in, creating major problems in terms of signals being sent to Google.

My question is, if I choose to target only US visitors through Webmaster Tools, will my traffic plummet? I don't want to have to report to my client a 50% loss in traffic due to international visits going away, but I also don't want to keep turning away customers based on their address.

Has anyone had any experience with this before?

Thanks!
-beerSEO

aakk9999

9:22 pm on Sep 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



I have never tried to geotarget for USA, but what I can tell is that a site in German that is geotargeted for Germany resulted in slight increase in ranking for Germany and slight drop in ranking for Austria.
I don't want to have to report to my client a 50% loss in traffic due to international visits going away, but I also don't want to keep turning away customers based on their address.

This sentence has conflict - you cannot have both! You either keep the traffic and turn the non-USA away or you have less traffic that is USA only. This is, of course, providing that geotargeting results in traffic drop.

These visitors are probably bringing down the overall time on page and increasing the bounce rate as well; as in, creating major problems in terms of signals being sent to Google.

How do you know that this creates major problems in terms of signals being sent to Google? I am almost certain that Google quantifies these signals by country/region. In this case Google would know that the low page view, bounce rate etc. signals are for customers arriving from non-USA countries.

Here is another idea - can your client form an affiliate relationship with another site that ships to these other countries? In this case if the user enters non-USA address, you could tell the visitor the site does not deliver outside USA but to try this and that website instead - sending this traffic to affiliate and earning some money on traffic being sent their way?

beerSEO

8:44 pm on Sep 12, 2013 (gmt 0)



@aakk9999 Thanks for your input! The affiliate program is a great idea!

rainborick

10:10 pm on Sep 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Geo-location is a very strong ranking signal, so you want to use it with care. It looks to me like your situation would benefit from setting up a subdirectory or subdomain dedicated to the US market and set the geo-location to the US for just that subdirectory/subdomain in Webmaster Tools. That way you have a good chance of increasing your US traffic without damaging the traffic for the primary areas of your site.

There have been many threads on this topic here in recent years. Some searches should pull up some good ideas to help you.
 

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