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How do engines know which country a site is from?


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223 replies to this topic

#46 Grgaham Mckie

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Posted 26 September 2005 - 05:23 AM

Hi,

I have a site on a .com domain in the UK, and it is recognised as UK site in the search engine listings for UK only.

I understand the theory behind what has been discussed, but I have a couple of questions, if someone could please take a couple of minutes to help me out.

As one of our largest markets is in another country, it would be beneficial for us to appear in the "this country only rankings" for this countries search engines, without losing our UK id.

So, if i have correctly understood this thread, I should get a domain name for this country, "park" it on my .com domain, and get some good links from directories etc from this country.

But what I don't understand is "parking". I note earlier on in the thread that using redirects would not work, so could someone please explain this further?

Thank you

#47 mcanerin

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Posted 26 September 2005 - 11:14 AM

No problem. smile.gif

Imagine that there are 2 houses on a block. You want to talk to Fred. Lets say that Fred actually owns both of these houses, but you are not certain which house Fred is actually in.

Lets say that Fred is in the second house, and you go to the first one. What happens?

Scenario 1: You go to the first house, ring the doorbell, and ask for Fred. Although Fred is not there at that time, when you ask for him, he gets a page, walks over and meets you at the door. As far as you know, Fred lives in this house, since you knocked on the door, and Fred answered it. Fred would also answer if you went to the second house.

This is parking. In technical terms, you have a single IP address and both domains point to it, and the webserver will serve up the same website when asked for either domain. It's the easiest way to do it, but now a visitor (including a search engine) has no idea what domain is your "real" one, and can therefore think you you have 2 different identical sites. One way to tell if a site is parked is that when you type in the domain, that domain stays in the address bar. It does not change to the new domain.

Scenario 2: You go to the first house, ring the doorbell, and ask for Fred. Since Fred is not there, the person who answers the door confirms to you that this is Freds place, but that he is next door right now. You now know that although you can find out where Fred is by asking at this house, you also know that Fred is actually next door. You then have to physicaly walk next door to talk to Fred. He doesn't come to you.

This is a 301 redirect. In technical terms, you usually have 2 different IP addresses (or at least 2 different accounts) and you put your main address on the first one, and all the other addresses on the other second one. You then tell the webserver to redirect any requests for the secondary sites to the first one. WHat this tells a search engine is that the secondary sites are no longer active and the proper site is the main one. When you type in a secondary domain, the address will change when you arrive at the final site.

The results of this are two-fold: first, under normal circumstances, as an SEO you want a 301 redirect. It tells the search engine that all of the PR and links going to the secondary domains should be redirected to the main site. Otherwise, there will be a time frame where the search engine may think there are actually 2 sites and will only assign PR and link wieght to the domains they are attached to, rather than the final destination site. Also, Yahoo is infamous for being confused about parks.

So, normally you want to do a 301 redirect as an SEO, since it tells the search engine that all the other URLs have been moved permanently to the new location.

However, if you do that with a ccTLD (country code top level domain) like .au, .ca, or .co.uk what will happen is that you will be telling the search engine that the old domain (including the ccTLD) is no longer valid and that the new one is the proper one to use. If the new one is not a ccTLD, then you will lose your localization. Basically, the 301 tells the search engine to throw away the old domains and use the new one instead, and to assign any links to the old domains to the new domain instead.

But if you PARK the ccTLD, then the search engine will be told that BOTH domains are valid and therefore assign the appropriate localization to the site.


Got it? Good. Now, there is one last thing to keep aware of. Search engine spiders don't execute scripts. So if your redirect is script based (ie a javascript redirect), then the search engine will not execute it and will therefore not arrive at the new page.

To confuse the issue, the meta-tag "refresh" is followed by some search engines (it's not a script, it's a tag), and can be used, as well. The problem is that the search engines (especially Yahoo, but all the others as well) are notorious for not handling these very well. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they screw your rankings up horribly. Therefore, although they do sometimes work, it's not recommended. Basically, don't trust any redirection or forwarding that is accomplished by using a code or tag on a web page - only trust it at the server level.

Ian

#48 JohneeMac

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Posted 26 September 2005 - 03:28 PM

Hi,

I had a .com that was hosted in the US, with only google.com listings.

I have done as per this post:

Bought an .co.uk domain and parked it on the .com.

Over the last few weeks i have got some UK sites to link to the .co.uk domain name.

Today as by magic it has been listed in Google.co.uk

However it doesnt rank well at all for the terms i have targeted when .com ranks very highly.

Is it just a matter of time for the rankings to improve or will i need to build links for both domains in the future?

Can the .co.uk thats parked possibly be in the aging delay?

Thanks.

#49 Grgaham Mckie

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Posted 27 September 2005 - 04:56 AM

appl.gif

Thanks Ian, that is a brilliant, and easy to follow explanation. Especially for the less technical among us (me!).

Cheers

#50 Randy

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Posted 27 September 2005 - 07:53 AM

I agree. Very well said Ian. Nice analogies.

JohneeMac: When you park or alias domains they are generally considered to be two totally separate entities. So you would need to build links for both, yes. However the co.uk market would normally be a bit less competitive on the local search side of things, so it's not necessarily going to take as many links to get it to rank competitively.

When it does start ranking as well as your .com you'll probably see that one drop off the SERPs for co.uk searches, to be replaced by the new domain. This happens because of the duplicate content issues.

As far as the aging delay goes, I haven't worked with co.uk sites much at all since that came into being. So I'm not at all sure of the answer. Some have said that their ccTLD's are not affected by the aging delay, but I don't know of that applies to all country-specific TLDs, or just some of them.

Does anybody know of any solid research of ccTLDs and the aging delay? I've not seen any. Just heard some passing comments.

#51 send2paul

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Posted 01 October 2005 - 12:19 PM

This is an interesting article. I chose this particular quote from your article Ian:
QUOTE
So it's possible that a Canadian company, selling products and services to Canadians, with a .ca domain name and a Canadian website host (who they are paying in Canadian dollars) is not considered to be Canadian, and likely be removed from any searches done looking for Canadian companies!
I was wondering what you'd say to my particular research down this route...

I have a website [URL removed per [url=http://www.highrankings.com/forum/index.php?act=boardrules]Forum Rules[/url]. See first link in sig for reference.] which has specific extended pages for my Canadian viewers. (I am in the UK with an English ISP). Through building the website over the last few months - looking at my visitor stats - it showed that I had more Canadian visitors than anyone else, (before I started buildling extra pages for cities and states/provinces).

I asked around and did a bit of digging etc and came to the conclusion that the reason why I was getting more hits from Canada than anywhere else was because Canadians had a tendency to search by "keyword(s)+city+province/state" i.e. they were searching in Google for results specific to their area. Why? Because they want to distinguish they're, (hopefully Canadian only!), results from the flood of American .com websites south of the border. Whether or not they searched in Google.ca or Google.com - they wanted Canadian results only.

So, after checking some of my competitor's Canadian websites I found they they weren't optimising their websites for the Canadian "keyword(s)+city+province/state" as much as I was. Hence, I was getting better rankings in Google.com and Google.ca for Canadian info on a website with a UK IP.

Use the same Canadian search term in Google.ca and the Google.ca Beta Local Search , and you'll get much more specific local results - which is how pages in Canada sould be optimised for.

So, I'm not quite sure how this fits in with your article, thread here, but I just thought I'd mention it as it seemed relevant to the whole "I'm A Canadian Get Me Outta Here" discussion wink.gif

Edited by Randy, 01 October 2005 - 12:47 PM.


#52 JohneeMac

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Posted 21 October 2005 - 05:28 AM

Going back to this.

My site was listed in google.co.uk about 3 weeks ago after i parked .co.uk domain on the .com. I added some links to the .co.uk as per the guidelines given.

Its now not listed in google.co.uk.

Does the process of parking and getting UK sites to link to it still work?

Thanks.John.

#53 sdavis

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 05:03 PM

Hello All,

This is some great information. Ian, you have really done a good job of researching this topic and I feel lucky to have come across it.

I am sort of in the opposite situation from everybody else. I started working for a company that is based in the UK. The company website is hosted over there and I am actually located in the North American Headquarters. I have noticed that the site ranks well in Google (US version) but does not rank well in MSN or Yahoo (US Versions). It does however rank well in .... you guessed it, the UK versions of MSN and Yahoo.

By the way, the site has a .com name.

My questions is, if it is located in the US, it has a .com name and I want it to rank well in the US in addition to the already good rankings in the UK, how do I pull that one off?

Thanks in advance for your help! This is one of those that will really help me out if anybody knows!

Best Regards,
SJDUSC

#54 mcanerin

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 08:12 PM

QUOTE
My questions is, if it is located in the US, it has a .com name and I want it to rank well in the US in addition to the already good rankings in the UK, how do I pull that one off?


That's an easy one! smile.gif

Answer: Nothing!

At the moment, there appears to be no "US Results" search engine like for other countries - geolocated sites get a rankings boost in those countries, but there is no coresponding rankings drop for US searches.

Nor is there a boost in rankings for US sites on google.com.

In short, your US rankings are not related to the localization, they are just due to competition and the "normal" things that everyone has to deal with for SEO.

The difference you see is due to the boost in the UK, not a drop in the US - your US rankings are your "real" ones, and are the ones you need to optimize based on.

As a matter of fact, I recommend that when you optimize a geolocated site, you measure your performance on google.com, rather than google.xx, since the rankings are not changed based on locale.

This isn't to say that Americans have gotten the shaft - features like local results, etc work very well in the US, and are spotty to non-existent elsewhere.

Ian

#55 musicbox

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 12:54 AM

dont you think adding your url again in the .uk search engine will analyze your url.

Offcourse, you only need good meta tags with page titles.

#56 mcanerin

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 01:33 AM

QUOTE
dont you think adding your url again in the .uk search engine will analyze your url.


No. Why would that work? That would be very bad if it worked that way - I could mess up my competitors something fierce...

QUOTE
Offcourse, you only need good meta tags with page titles


Is that a joke? No again, especially to the metatags. And not related to geolocation.

For what it's worth, I've just written a series of articles on redirects, including one on how they relate to geolocation, and an updated version of the "Only in Canada, eh?" article here:

http://www.mcanerin....geolocation.htm

Ian

#57 Mohit.

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 05:45 AM

Hello all.

It's a really helpful thread. I have one questions. Here all are you talking about canadian result. Whether it is result when i am serching on Goolge.ca with pages from web or pages from Canada.

Because my site is listed first on Goolge.ca with pages from web but not when pages from Canada.

#58 OldWelshGuy

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 05:51 AM

We are talking about a 'Canadian result' being a search specific to Canada ie pages from canada. So this information is very relevant to you

#59 Mohit.

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 05:55 AM

QUOTE(OldWelshGuy @ Jan 18 2006, 06:51 AM)
We are talking about a 'Canadian result' being a search specific to Canada ie pages from canada. So this information is very relevant to you
View Post


That means my site is not yet recognized as canadian?

Then what is a difference between Goolge.com's pages from web and Google.ca's pages from web.
because i am seeing difference in both's result when i am giving serch for keywords.

Edited by kkeith, 18 January 2006 - 06:02 AM.


#60 OldWelshGuy

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 06:22 AM

The search engines have always treated local versions with a local bias (as they should IMO)




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