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Problem With German Sites
Posted 23 September 2004 - 06:03 AM
I'm new here - well, I've been lurking for a while, but this is my first post
I work for an internet marketing company and am responsible for all the search engine optimisation - I've been doing this for a year and half, and have around 20 clients at any given time. In general, I tend to be quite successful - the vast majority of my clients have been very happy. I suppose I'm telling you this so that you'll know that I'm not a complete newbie - and actually, almost everything I do I've learned from Jill and the rest of you, so thank you all!
Anyway, I have a bit of a problem. I've worked with clients all over the world - from New Zealand and China to Brazil and Holland - without any problems. But when I get a new client from Germany, my heart sinks a little. For some reason, it is really, really hard to get them to rank well. There are some exceptions, but in general they don't do anywhere near as well as I'd expect them to (taking everything else into account - their incoming links, the competition, etc etc). They're all .com sites, they're in English, they have links from other sites in English - but on the international search engines, they do badly. If I search for them on the German engines (Google.de, msn.de etc), they rank very well, but that's not going to help them much since they're not written in German.
Actually, the two main sites that I'm tearing my hair out over at the moment (sorry, I can't give you their URLs) do have pages in German, too - they have separate directories for their German and English pages. Could this be the answer?
I must admit I'm quite confused by all this. Now, there may well be something obvious that I'm overlooking. I know there are lots of things I don't know - so I'm hoping that you'll be able to shed some light on this problem. Has anyone else experienced anything similar?
I hope this post makes sense, and that I've not unwittingly broken any [url=http://www.highrankings.com/forum/index.php?act=boardrules]Forum Rules[/url]! Nice to meet you all!
Posted 23 September 2004 - 06:38 AM
Apparently a few years ago, Larry & Sergey were on holiday in Tenerife, and came back as white as when they went, muttering about towels on the sunloungers Maybe tht has something to do with it?
Odd situation this, I wonder if French sites have the same problem. do the german language pages do badly on a worldwide search for German phrases? My guess is that possibly as French & German versions of Google are in native languages, that they could be scored down for that? Then again they are .coms not de.s
I can safely say that having two different language sites is not going to be seen as duplicate content at all. Is the site set up to geo deliver content based on user agent, or is there a manual choice of language (the best way)?
Posted 23 September 2004 - 04:47 PM
First, let me say that I take my hat off to you for being able to work successfully as an SEO on an international basis. I guess SEOs like me, who work only on English sites, are spoiled really, because we only have to deal with American English and Proper English!
I can understand your frustration over the relatively poor results for the German sites in the international SEs and it certainly has me scratching my head in puzzlement.
My guess is that we can probably eliminate on-page optimisation techniques and incoming links as a cause of the problem, because you will undoubtedly be applying exactly the same techniques with successful results on French, Dutch, Kiwi, etc sites. So I suspect it might have something to do with the way that the German SEs treat .com sites, but that is only an educated guess. Let me give you some UK-based info to chew over:
In the UK, the 3 major SEs (Google, Yahoo and MSN) all weight .co.uk domains higher than .com tlds when a searcher opts for the 'UK Pages only' search. Google also takes into account whether the IP address is UK-owned.
Also, when you do a search for a site in the worldwide index on google.co.uk, it yields different results to those in the main google.com index. I believe there is some evidence of upweighting for locally based (.co.uk) sites in the worldwide index on google.co.uk, but I'm not sure - I think OWG has more info on this, so perhaps he will chime in.
Question: Does the same discrepancy occur when you search for your German clients' sites in the German worldwide index and the US worldwide index??
Finally, the person who may be in the best position to help you is Barry Lloyd, whose forum name is MakeMeTop, because I'm pretty sure he's worked on international sites. I'll PM him and see if he can shed any light on this.
Posted 24 September 2004 - 03:42 AM
Rankings were fine if viewed in Austria (even on worldwide searches) but were almost invisible on the primary .com searches. I scratched my head for months trying to figure this out as it defied known logic. Then I moved the hosting to the UK - they fell off the local (Austrian) versions of MSN and Google but started ranking better on the international versions and the German pages still worked fine on German language searches.
Paradoxically, they did a lot better on MSN/Yahoo .com versions than the .co.uk but that didn't matter as they wanted a world-wide audience - but they did pick up on Google UK traffic - an added little bonus.
I don't know if this has anything to do with hosting, whois information or other markers that make Yahoo Search identify a site as being from a certain area (we know that DNS does it for Google) - but as soon as geo-targetting kicks in - you can be kicked way down the rankings on .com searches.
I'm certainly not saying this is the definative solution - but it worked for me!
Posted 24 September 2004 - 04:19 AM
I own multiple .com .co.uk .net and .biz domains relating to different sites.
As far as I can tell Google has some sort of registry filter in effect (don't ask me what this means, I just made it up!)
Hosting and business location have little to do with it.
For example. some of the .com domains were bought from a company that resides in australia. Even though the site sits on a server in the US and the business is based UK google traces the domain back to Oz and gives it high results for aussie searches.
Recent .co.uk domains I purchased from a company based in the uk trace back to the UK, and give high results in the UK version of google.
This is just a guess, but I think that the original registrar of the name lends wieght to geo location. ( Yes I know they are all supposed to resolve to Washington, but it's not always the case)
Anyway we've all discussed this geo location issue before, so I'll shut up now
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