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Geotargeting by region, not by country... for faster downloads?

8:16 pm on Sep 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Decent ecommerce site that sells large file downloads (>500MB). We've been using a .com hosted in the US for almost a decade. We have lots of Euro, Aussie, and Indian users that complain of speed. Our idea:

Server 1: hosted in USA - http://www...com
Server 2: hosted in UK - http://www...co.uk (target lang. = en-GB)
Server 3: hosted in AU - http://www...com.au (target lang. = en-AU)
Server 4: hosted in IN - http://www...in (target lang. = ?)

The problem here is that we don't want to "target by country". We want the .in domain, for example, to be a signal to Google that "users of that region should use this server instead of the .com". Obviously geotargeting in GWT wants you to specify one country - this isn't realistic though since someone in Pakistan, for example, would far rather download from a server 1,000 miles away (the .in server) than one 10,000 miles away (the .com).

Suggestions? Does my idea about ccTLDs make sense or should I use folders?

FWIW I've read lots of other searched threads here and not come across this specific situation. I've read the Google webmaster docs also. We simply want our users to be able to download faster - we aren't translating pages or offering anything different. Ranking is a concern, of course, and of primary importance is not getting a duplicate content penalty.

Thanks for any help!

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 9:08 pm (utc) on Sep 30, 2013]
[edit reason] disabled auto-linking to make examples legible [/edit]

11:34 pm on Sept 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

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What about having only one domain, but at the time of download, the user can choose the "region" from which to download the software. With a nice message above "choose the region close to where you are located for a faster download" or something like this?

Then you have only one website, but the downloads are hosted on servers in regions.
1:27 am on Oct 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I'd go with the one domain approach too. In the past, when I've downloaded a lot of shareware, there were generally geo choices as aakk9999 describes for downloading files.

I assume that among available "cloud" services, there are also variants of Content Delivery Networks (CDN) to allow geo downloading of files, probably cheaper than CDNs as they don't need to do as much or switch over as seamlessly, but essentially designed to host files for download at different servers around the world.
1:31 pm on Oct 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the replies and ideas.

I've thought about the "click on your region" idea quite a lot actually - it was my first choice. There's a few other things going on that I haven't mentioned and I guess I need to tell.

(1) I think the ideal would be to serve users an entire site locally. We measure page load times across the world now and are getting <500ms for North America but sometimes in Europe/India/Australia that same page is as much as >3s.

(2) I'd like us to rank higher in those geographic locations than we currently do with just the .com. With a US-based IP and a >2s page load times in Brussels (for example), we just don't rank well at all to users in Belgium. Ideally, with a UK-based IP and a <500s load time, I'd like to think that our Euro-based site would rank higher to users in all of Europe. Our site ranks very high in US/Canada but considerably lower (if at all) in those regions with 2 and 3 second page load times. The question is really how to best do this *regionally* rather than by country (and without incurring duplicate content penalties).

(3) Because these are purchased downloads, if we did redirect someone to a different server to do the downloads, they'd have to still authenticate in some way - whether that be on the new site, or by a token. We've talked even about having just one site and a download manager application. The main problem here is development time - it's probably 6+ months before I have the time to code in a new way to download.