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How do engines know which country a site is from?


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223 replies to this topic

#76 Randy

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 11:08 AM

For my part it just means I don't have enough personal experience Millie. So what ever theorectical answer I gave might be right right (I would say to grab the other ccTLDs personally) or might be totally off base.

A bit a patience, please. Ian, Alan, OWG, Chris or someone else here with direct experience in this area will be by as soon as they can! It's such a specialized area that we would hate to guess.

#77 millie

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 11:17 AM

Thanks Randy. I'll sit tight for a bit and hope someone with this experience gets back to me ... it's hard to type with my fingers crossed! embarrassed.gif

#78 mcanerin

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 11:40 AM

Hi Millie,

My most recent testing does appear to be that it's an either/or switch - each page can only have one country associated with it.

Note I said page, not site.

The other key thing to note is that although on page/site can have hundreds of ccTLD's resolving on it, only one ccTLD will matter for any particular page, and it's the one with the most links/most link weight.

Basically, what you do is that every page that is intended for a specific target country, has a ccTLD pointed at it and is ONLY (or mostly) linked to using that ccTLD.

So, as an example, you can have .co.uk, .de and .fr all pointed at your site, but the UK pages should only be linked to with the .co.uk ccTLD, the German pages only with .de and so forth. Note these are links from other pages pointing to the one you are trying to geolocate.

In practice, it's way easier to make a sub-folder for each country and link consistently within each folder using the ccTLD appropriate to it.

The plan you outline above is good - it should work just fine.

In direct answer to your questions:

1) You won't lose your rankings on the UK site if all you are doing is adding country specific pages and pointing the appropriate ccTLD to them. You WILL lose your country boost if you do this to your existing pages that are already considered UK, and end up making them DE, or whatever. I suggest creating new directories for each additional country so this doesn't happen.

2) You should use the absolute links consistently within each directory for the appropriate country/ccTLD. If you link from a FR page to your UK page, then of course you would link to it with the .co.uk URL, since it's the target page that determines the URL, not the subject page. As an example, if you had one UK page and one FR page, you would link from the UK page to the FR page using only the .fr ccTLD, and when linking from the FR page to the UK page, you would only use the .co.uk domain for linking. A page can be considered perfectly British even though every link on it is to a different country. It's the incoming links to a page that set it's geolocation.

3) There is a possibility for duplication issues if for example, you take the exact same page, make 5 copies, and point a different ccTLD to each one. Don't do that. It's treated much the same as 5 identical affiliate sites.

Make each one specific to the country that you are dealing with. The product information may need to be the same, but the descriptions, titles, help files and, of course, language can and should all be changed to match the target market.

Cheers,

Ian

#79 CaliforniaGirl

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 06:06 PM

This is a great thread and I am hoping to push it a bit further. I have a site that is a .com. The company serves as an online recruitment agency. So, the .com is the main page for all regions (Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore).

But, there are also the domains .au, .sg and .hk. These regions want to be viewed as seperate entities and they will be serving job ads specific to their respective regions.

The user will be able to select a region from a drop down on the .com (this drop down will be available globally) to go to their preferred language and/or the regional site will turn up in a localized search.

So, I don't want to park/redirect the entire domain as the content of each will be different due to the regionalization of the jobs themselves.

Would a possible solution be to treat all of the domains as unique sites, with unique home pages etc. that have links to the "corporate/company information" (.com) and not do any type of parking/301's etc?

Thanks,
CaliGirl

#80 mcanerin

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 06:17 PM

QUOTE
Would a possible solution be to treat all of the domains as unique sites, with unique home pages etc. that have links to the "corporate/company information" (.com) and not do any type of parking/301's etc?


In your case, yes - that's absolutely correct. Sometimes multiple sites are the way to go, and it sounds like this is one of them.

You have multiple unique and segmented areas of information, and it's the perfect set up for multiple sites, each with their own ccTLD.

The parking trick is really only useful when you have either limited content for each area, or you just want one country associated with the site, rather than multiple countries.

You *could* do it with parks and sub directories, but it's not necessary in your case (as long as the information truly is unique and specific!).

Ian

#81 CaliforniaGirl

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 06:37 PM

Thanks for the quick response!!

Just, for arguments sake, this company wants the home page for all sites to be the .com and the country specific domains are to serve the job ads only and display regionalized contact info etc.

CaliGirl

#82 CaliforniaGirl

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Posted 06 February 2006 - 12:53 AM

Ian, thanks so much for your advice. I also went to your website which was rich with information RE: this topic. I just want to clarify a few things.

My client is not serving the same content on 4 domains for the most part. I would like to suggest having 4 unique sites and be done with it - particularly as the sites will probably need to be viewed as unique entities. However, I am going to back this up and explain why and the other methods and why those may not be the solution they are after.

-Park the ccTLD's on subdirectories of the .com site - (how does this affect link popularity and PR? Use absolute linking always? Address bar shows what?)
-Use subdirectories on the .com (lose out on localisation, gain link popularity and PR for one site)
-Use subdomains (lose out on localisations [unless ccLinks are utilised well], link popularity and PR spread out over 4 domains)
-Use add-on domains and point to subdirectories (gain localisation, but what happens with link popularity and PR, address bar shows ccTLD)
-301 ccTLD to subdirectory of .com (.com gets credit, is there a loss of localisation?)
-301 .com subdirectory to the ccTLD (ccTLD gets credit for that subdirectory only?)
-302 ccTLD to subdirectories of .com (.com gets credit? Use relative links? what's in the address bar?)
-302 .com subdirectories to the ccTLD (ccTLD gets credit for that subdirectory?)

As I have found there are a multitude of ways to handle this, as you can see I could be a bit confused as to ALL the reprecussions and whether or not the scenarios listed above are even doable!

Thank you in advance for your help.

CaliGirl

#83 mcanerin

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Posted 06 February 2006 - 02:42 AM

Actually, what I would do in your situation is this:

1. Use the .com to act as the international main site, offering a description of your services and the countries you serve. It should also offer prominent links to the localized ccTLD sites.

2. Use the ccTLD's to create local sites (competely separate from the .com) and optimize for each locale. Each one should have it's own introductory page(s) that are optimized for the target market, and are NOT duplicates of the .com page (or each other).

In this manner, your .com would stay localized to whatever it is now, and each ccTLD site would be localized to it's own area.

Basically, have 5 sites - one international and 4 regional.

This way - you don't need to do ANY redirects or parks at all. The primary purpose of Googles new "Big Daddy" servers are to help deal with canonical issues caused by localization and parking, and it seems to be MUCH better than it used to be, but the less often you make a search engine guess, the better. If it only has one possible choice, then there is no way for it (or you) to mess anything up. wink.gif

I'm recommending this because you apparently have lots of very different content for each, so it makes sense to make them separate sites.

If you only had a page or 2 of content for each area, then you would be better served keeping one main site and using the parking and subdomain methods.

Cheers,

Ian

#84 arlen

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Posted 09 February 2006 - 08:56 AM

I know my question is answered in this thread already, but it goes off on so many tangents unrelated to my simple questions that I just can't seem to wade thru it all, and I'm getting confused.

I'm US based, and wish to be identified by Google as US based. I use a Canadian hosting company (simply because when I set my site up they offered something I thought I'd use, and couldn’t find elsewhere ... I'm not using the feature, and won't be).

I just ran a search on Google.ca, for Canadian sites, and I'm ranked highly on many search terms I'm having problems w/ on Google.com ... Google thinks I'm Canadian.

Is a simple move to a US based host identified as US by Google going to 1) reidentify me as US based? 2) help at all in Google.com SERPS? --- if yes to either, how long should I expect to wait for this to occur?

I don't see a point in parking, redirecting, yada, yada unless I have to to undo my mistake ... I do accept Canadian orders, but shipping charges limit those. I need to be identified as a US site.

#85 MichaelEng

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Posted 09 February 2006 - 11:21 AM

I've been following this thread closely and moved my ccTLD to a local server, had it parked and re-directed back to our main .com website, which is hosted in the US.

The problem I have is that with the redirected ccTLD, it basically has the .com website in an iFrame (apparently this is a masked re-direction).

I have another ccTLD which I have redirected by changing the DNS settings (inserting the .com name servers), but then ccTLD is shown as being USA based, same as the main server.

What am I missing? Can someone help me clear this up, so I can tell me ISP exactly what I need.

Thanks
Michael

#86 mcanerin

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Posted 09 February 2006 - 11:23 AM

The quick and simple answer to this is: There is no "US-Based" site criteria.

Americans don't get a rankings boost in Google.com or Google.us. It's not terribly fair, but when I brought it up in a different discussion the prevailing response was something along the lines of "what? there are other countires in the world..?"

None of the responders were in the slightest concerned that there are no us-centric results, and generally pointed out that when using Google they never had a problem with finding US companies listed, so they didn't see the big deal.

In that particular discussion, the only Americans that thought it was a good idea were ones not living in the US (ie Danny Sullivan).

Accordingly, there is no benifit to being considered US, and it apparently doesn't matter to either the search engines or the people in the US in general.

Given that, since you get a rankings boost for Canada and it's not hurting you in the US, and you would get no rankings boost for being in the US, you should stay Canadian.

As a matter of fact, I recommend my US clients that do business in other countries to do whatever they can to be geolocated in those other countries, since it's basically a free rankings boost in the geolocale without any drawbacks for US rankings.

Therefore in answer to this:
QUOTE
I need to be identified as a US site.

The answer is: no you don't.

Ian

#87 mcanerin

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Posted 09 February 2006 - 11:33 AM

Hi Michael bye1.gif

QUOTE
moved my ccTLD to a local server, had it parked and re-directed back to our main .com website, which is hosted in the US.

The problem I have is that with the redirected ccTLD, it basically has the .com website in an iFrame (apparently this is a masked re-direction).


That's bad news - they did it wrong. iframes and masked redirections are bad. If you need to keep your US hosting, then just park your ccTLD on the US host - don't worry about the IP address (the ccTLD will override it).

Get rid of your local IP/account for this one and park the ccTLD right on top of your US site - then get links to it using that ccTLD.

QUOTE
I have another ccTLD which I have redirected by changing the DNS settings (inserting the .com name servers), but then ccTLD is shown as being USA based, same as the main server.


This is OK - the IP will show that it's hosted in the US, but the ccTLD itself will override that and the search engines will consider your site to be whatever the ccTLD is telling it.

In both cases, you only have to worry about yout IP address is you DON'T have a ccTLD, and are trying to geolocate a .com, .net, or other gTLD. Then the search engines need to look at other things, and at that point the IP and linking hubs matter.

Hope that clears it up for you,

Ian

#88 arlen

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Posted 09 February 2006 - 11:34 AM

QUOTE
Given that, since you get a rankings boost for Canada and it's not hurting you in the US, and you would get no rankings boost for being in the US, you should stay Canadian.

As a matter of fact, I recommend my US clients that do business in other countries to do whatever they can to be geolocated in those other countries, since it's basically a free rankings boost in the geolocale without any drawbacks for US rankings.

Thanks Ian, totally clears that up for me (in essense, I did a good marketing thing w/o even realizing it ... that doesn't happen often, I'll assure you)

#89 MichaelEng

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Posted 09 February 2006 - 11:44 AM

Thanks Ian, smile.gif

I will cancel the local IP/account.

I target 3 localised areas South Africa, United Kingdom and the USA. I have had ccTLD's for each area for over 3 years, and we perform well on Google with our main .com domain.

I also have a good amount of ccLinks to each localised website. The problem is that when I use a local Google like www.google.co.uk and select the 'pages from United Kingdom', our results are affected. We do still appear in the results but we are not nearly as competitive as we are on the .com version

#90 harpsound

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Posted 09 February 2006 - 05:07 PM

Thanks for this discussion - it is very pertinent to my situation. Google.ca is not recognise our Canadian location

I have a mydomain.com on an American apache server with a 301 redirect for mydomain.ca. How do I *park* the .ca domain? My tech support does not understand what the word *park* means.

Thanks
S




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