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.com and .co.uk

What should I do?

     
7:42 pm on Dec 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I have a .com site that is ranking well in Google.com but not showing in Google.co.uk. Ditto for MSN.

Under advice, I registered the .co.uk version of my site, but am unsure of how to proceed in order to get it ranked in Google.co.uk.

My assumption is that the links that point to the .com site to help it rank need to be pointed to the .co.uk site in order for it to achieve similar rankings, but as these are all inbounds from other people's sites I can't easily achieve this.

Options I have considered are:-

1) A redirect of some sort
2) A link to .co.uk from the .com
3) A new link building campaign to .co.uk

Option 3) seems to be the obvious answer, but involves the most work. Any ideas?

[edited by: Michael_Anthony at 7:42 pm (utc) on Dec. 27, 2006]

8:16 pm on Dec 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

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a few things to consider assuming you want to keep both domain name

1, the .com & the .co.uk sites must have considerably diferent content or they may well be classified as duplicate sites an , possibly 1 may suffer, possibly even the .com

2, since both .com & .co.uk are in same niche, possible a single link from .com to .co.uk would give the .co.uk some benefit

3, Your option 3 sounds best

just my 2 cents

6:56 am on Dec 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Michael - Where are your sites hosted?

PS...

My assumption is that the links that point to the .com site to help it rank need to be pointed to the .co.uk site in order for it to achieve similar rankings, but as these are all inbounds from other people's sites I can't easily achieve this.

If I understand you correctly, no. Keep your links separate, and make those to the .co.uk site country specific... ie, get them from other .co.uk sites. This is assuming you want to keep both domains. Links from common sources are, in my opinion, the worst thing that you can do.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 7:02 am (utc) on Dec. 28, 2006]

11:15 am on Dec 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Both hosted in the US at the moment, but can be moved if necessary.
3:16 am on Dec 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

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If you want to rank in the UK it should be hosted in the UK and have registration details to someone in the UK.

Change it to this and you will be picked up by Google and MSN as a UK site - and this is from direct experience.

7:15 am on Dec 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Michael - Not only host in the UK, but try to get your inbound links from other .co.uk sites hosted in the UK.

I myself would also minimize cross-linking between the two sites, and I'd avoid (as much as possible) linking to both sites from common external pages.

9:53 am on Dec 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Many thanks. Could I achieve the same impact by ditching the .co.uk and moving the .com to a UK host?
10:32 am on Dec 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Yes, moving the .com to a .uk host should do it.
Be careful that the UK host selected will give you a UK IP address.
You can normally ask them what range the IP will be drawn from.
5:27 pm on Jan 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I assume you don't care if the site ranks in the U.S.?

One can get .com's to rank in the U.S. and the UK if they have good IBL's from both regions. We have some like that.

If you want the site to flourish in each locale, then as noted above, use .com for one and .co.uk for the other, localize the hosting/IP's, and distinguish the content between the two. Often just using "UK English" and "American English" (complete with their respective sets of colloquialisms) does the trick; especially in the page titles.

If you only care about the site ranking in the UK, then .com is not so much the issue, though IMHO it helps. It seems to mainly be about the hosting/IP and content.

7:43 pm on Jan 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I really don't want to build two sites and like the idea of getting the .com to rank in both countries. So from what you say caveman, provided that the inbound links are from both countries, the advice about moving the location of my host can be ignored?
9:01 pm on Jan 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I do believe from what I've seen that there is some benefit to having a .co.uk in the UK for ranking purposes in the UK. But IMO that is not nearly so important as the hosting and link profiles. There are plenty of .com's that rank highly in both UK and US.

In a game of inches and starting from scratch, and if I cared only about the UK market, I'd grab every advantage and start with a .co.uk.

But with an existing .com site, I'd personally host it in whichever country I cared most about, and get great links from both countries.

In your situation, if I really were concerned mainly with just the UK, then yes, I'd move the hosting now, and work on building links from great sites in that region.

If I did not want to lose US traffic, I'd start with just getting more great links from the UK and see if that got me where I wanted to be. If that did not get me enough lift, I'd move the hosting over. But when you move the hosting over, you'll prolly lose some traction in the US.

At least, that sums up what I think I've seen.

<added>

P.S. There are other things you can do to differentiate the sites if you keep both alive - things that help more than some people realize. Examples: Local addresses, directions, etc. These things not only help differentiate country variations of sites; they also help your sites' pages get into the SE's local market search listings. I know for a fact at least some of the SE's specifically look for this sort of stuff.

</added>

11:40 pm on Jan 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Its important to note that you can appear in the generic google.co.uk results with uk-based backlinks (and you may not even need that if you have a very generic topic) but you cannot appear in the google.co.uk 'Pages from the UK' results without either a .co.uk domain name or an IP address recognised as from the UK - backlinks are not enough.
(This applies equivalently to other country code TLDs)
So, you just need to decide what group of traffic will be most profitable to you :)
12:16 am on Jan 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

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leadegroot, do you happen to know what percent of UK users use the default generic ("the Web") choice versus clicking the "pages from the UK" button?

Also, it's probably worth noting that the SE's do seem to approach this a little differently. It's my understanding that G might in the past have paid more attention to IP's than the other SE's, though I'm honestly not sure where that stands today. Today, it seems to us that links have become increasingly important all around when it comes to determining geo relevance.

I'm a big believer in practical observation. If you pick a few huge single word searches across different categories (try 'travel' and 'sports' and 'hotels' or similar) in the .com and .co.uk versions of G/Y/M, you'll see how many .com's flourish in the default (Web) searches in the UK. You can also see the importance of links, IMO.

2:59 am on Jan 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I'm not familiar with google.co.uk at all, I am generalising (and, sorry, I should have said that) from google.com.au. I have always assumed that Google applies the same rules across the CC TLDs
My experience with google.com.au is that around 1/3 of my clicks that come through google.com.au do so with the 'pages from Australia' radio button checked - but! This varies so much across topic (from < 1% to > 90%) that I don't think the average matters.
My experience is that users have a better feel for 'I need to make this country specific' than I expected... or maybe my sites don't rank as well on the generic side as I hope?
Its hard to decide without some very intensive stats work, that I don't have time for :(
5:12 pm on Jan 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

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So, my problem is this. The .co.uk must have the same content as the .com, because the traffic all needs to end up at the .com. So step one is that I host the .co.uk in the UK.

Could I then set up a redirect from .co.uk to .com and then get working on building some UK links to .co.uk?

That way I get the ranking for .co.uk in the UK without having to build a new site, and keep all the traffic in the .com, which is where I want it.

5:22 pm on Jan 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

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you might want to consider the SE attitude to doorway pages

I'm glad I read this thread cos the idea of links being country specific is new to me an has great potential,,

on the issue of .co.uks' in my niches, they are slowly but steadily displacing .coms, the remaining .coms at the top are ,,,,
well great powers :-)

5:37 pm on Jan 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

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You really, really, do not want two sites with the same content.

What is still unclear is where your key audience is. Is it UK, US, both?

Broadly, if it's UK, 301 the .com to the .co.uk.

If it's US, 301 from .co.uk to .com

If it's both, use the .com but get a UK host; try to get UK links, especially to UK content.

You need EITHER UK host or domain name to get the full benefit of UK searches. But UK hosting is expensive.

In my experience, US custom will outweigh UK by 9:1, and my investment in hosting recognises that. Your niche may vary. But if it's a true UK niche, then it may justify a separate and different UK site - NOT two sites with the same content.

7:15 pm on Jan 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

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It's a global business, so I need the UK and US and anywhere else. The option of building country specific sites is one I'd like to avoid, as it sounds a little bit like too much work.
10:20 pm on Jan 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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The issue of requiring hosting in the country as rankings seems a bit odd and counterintuitive to me.

First as they say "it's a global economy" so how could SE's presume to only list sites in that country that are hosted in that country? Seems like that would eliminate too many websites from ranking.

Assuming there are websites from Uganda, Fiji or Lichtenstein, how likely are they to have server farms there? So is it to be assumed that there will be no sites ranking at all since the sites are not hosted in the country in question?

Or does this theoretical principle only apply to large countries that are presumed to have servers there?

I've used servers in Singapore and now have dozens of sites in Canada (I'm US based) and have never seen any difference in rankings.

10:45 pm on Jan 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I don't think it's quite as you describe it, but Google's local policy is counter intuitive.

Broadly, every local form of Google offers advantage to their local hosts and local domain names, though details vary a little.

The total exception is Google.com, which combines being the local form for the USA with being the global service too.

Or, to put it another way, the USA does not have a local Google in the way that Canada, UK ... etc., etc., do have one.

All this is a gross oversimplification, but it is a fair representaion of the Big Picture, I think*

~Q

*This is a subjective view based on my knowledge and understanding of Google national/local services, I have no insider knowledge :)

[Is that OK, soapy?] ;)