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GSC International Targeting

     
10:25 am on Sep 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Hi,

A mention of the "International Targeting" in an other topic, makes me wonder something.

What's the exact difference between checking the "Target users + Unlisted" and not checking the option?

Reading at the Google's FAQ , I have the impression that , if you don't check the option, Google guesses a target country, by watching at several signals, like for example the IP of the site, etc...

So I assume that if you check the option, and choose "unlisted" as the country. Google makes no guess at all, and for example only considers the language of the page for example (or if information are specific to a particular location)?

e.g: my site (.com of-course):
- is hosted in Canada,
- its content is in English,
- its content is NOT country specific.

As a result, the ideal profile of my visitors should be USA, Canada, UK, Australia, South Africa, etc..

If I do not check the International Targeting option, Google might "tag" my target audience to Canadian first, then Americans ?

If the option is checked and I choose "unlisted" as the country, would it be "better" to have a "potential" better coverage from all English speaking countries ?

Or, since the content is not country specific, Google is already not applying particular geo-targeting ?

Thanks,
11:09 am on Sept 29, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Nobody?
9:39 am on Sept 30, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I don't know the full consequence of either setting, however I can say that I have not changed the default.

my site:
- is hosted in US,
- its content is in English,
- its content is non-geospecific

Visitors: USA, Canada, UK, Australia, South Africa, and every other country.

I even have 6 pages, on the base level along with 200 other pages, that deal with a local brick'n mortar business. These pages get in Local Search and don't interfere with the other non-geospecific pages being indexed internationally.
2:21 pm on Sept 30, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Thank you.
10:05 am on Oct 1, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Peter_S, as I read the Google Search Console help page I think you're referring to...

International targeting
[support.google.com...]

...under "Set a Country Target", if you want to target multiple countries, then don't restruct the targeting to a specific country.

Google help, using a French language site as an example, says this...
If you're targeting users in different locations - for example, if you have a site in French that you want users in France, Canada, and Mali to read - don't use this tool to set France as a geographic target.

Your site is in English, and, as you say in your opening post: "the ideal profile of my visitors should be USA, Canada, UK, Australia, South Africa, etc." This is essentially analogous to Google's French language example, and I don't think there's any ambiguity about Google's recommendation then. You should not restrict the targeting.

I'm a strong believer that the source locations of your inbound links are going to be an important factor. If you want visitors from all those countries, IMO you're going to need some links from those countries to act as references.

Additionally, check out this recent thread, which discusses several matters pertaining to your question.

Does Web Hosting Server Location Change affect SEO?
July-Aug, 2017
https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4860726.htm [webmasterworld.com]

Note glitterball's observation about the International Targeting feature... also suggesting you shouldn't use it for the multi-country targets you want...
...I'd like to add a word of warning about International Targeting in Google Search Console (Webmaster Tools). I have, in the past, set the "Target users in" option to my principal targetted audience, however in my experience, this setting simply demotes the site in the serps for any users located outside the targetted country, rather than give any boost in the targetted country.

Just in case, anyone was tempted.

11:43 am on Oct 1, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I still wonder about the difference between selecting "unlisted" (the last entry in the country list), or not selecting anything at all in that list.
8:56 pm on Oct 1, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Thank you Robert Charlton.

nettulf, this is also what I am trying to figure. I feel like if you uncheck the target, it's considered generic, and if you check it with "unlisted", then you explicitly specify your target is international. The difference might be that with the generic target Google guesses/tries to figure a target country using different signals.
8:59 pm on Oct 1, 2017 (gmt 0)

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with the generic target Google guesses/tries to figure a target country using different signals
That's what I've always thought.
10:35 pm on Oct 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Based on the post by Robert Charlton at 10:05 am on Oct 1, 2017 (gmt 0)

I just switched back to unlisted. Yes never look back but if you are demoting in other regions that algorithm that counts clicks and onward clicks, could demote you further. Which may explain my traffic drop.

However what with noindexing thin content and leaving the urls in sitemap, removing some dead pages and bulk removing my noindex from G, with the addition that I recently underwent https change - I get to use the same toilet, loss in traffic could be anything.
 

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