Match your domain name to your target country

SEO hints from Google

It’s no secret that Google uses several factors to determine where a web site is “located” and thus determine its relevance to each individual searcher. But there has been a lot of debate about which factors are most important.

The two I hear mostly commonly are if the domain has a particular country code domain name and where the web host is.

Now Google search czar Matt Cutts has given us a pretty clear answer.

One person asked a question that we forgot to make a video for: “Can you list in order of importance the things that make a site to be seen by google as a site from a particular country?” Since we didn’t make it as a video, here’s the answer as a quick bonus:
  1. country code TLD (ccTLD) such as .de or .fr
  2. geotargeting in the webmaster console
  3. IP address
There may be other signals, but those are the biggies and the order that I’d put them in.

Matt Cutt’s post shows that the most important thing Google uses to determine what country your web site is in is the country code top level domain name. How this applies to USA websites or .com domains isn’t clear – is .com considered ‘USA’? Certainly hardly anyone uses the .us domain extension for USA websites.

Many thanks to DomainNameWire for the headsup.