This blog was created as part of research into the best route forward to create a blog for one of our classified sites http://www.homes24.co.uk/. As it is we are building that using Wordpress.org and the Thesis theme. However the lessons i am learning from running this have been very useful, from how to install Google Analytics, to the latest when i realised that the site has dropped completely from Google index of pages from the UK.
Of course i should not have been surprised as this is a .com address and hosted in America, it is just a blogger free site. However despite this, i just presumed that it would rank equally when using google.co.uk and searching "the web" as when searching "pages from the uk". On investigation Google makes it clear that you can set preference for where your site is targted in Webmaster tools if the domain is not the country of origin.
As we have a number of sites that are .com and hosted in America i asked our search consultant Just Beerekamp at Traffic4U, our natural search agency, for his comments. So if you were not aware here are some handy pointers:
"Google uses various indicators to determine a country or language a website is targeting. Common factors are:
- Top Level Domain (.com for US or International, .co.uk for England, .nl for the Netherlands etc.)
- Location of server (determined by IP address)
- Language on the website itself
- META-language tag
Apart from these there is a more important factor, the origin of the incoming links. If your website receives many links from websites in some country your website is bound to target that country (according to Google). Therfore link, you need accumulate more link from UK oriented websites.
Also If you're sure that your site only targets the UK then it's wise to target the site to the UK in webmaster tools"
So if you have a .com site and you are really only targeting the UK make sure you let Google know that in your webmaster tools to make sure you rank.