Can Google Really Deliver Country Specific Searching?
By: Martin Lemieux
This is a serious matter, can Google really deliver top quality search results for other countries? The answer so far is "sort of". In this article I will use Canada as an example of the quality or lack of thereof, that is delivered by Google's search results.
Let's take a look at Canadian search results by Google.ca:
When you highlight "Canada" through Google search results and then start searching, you may be surprised at the amount of companies that aren't really Canadian. All of this also applies for the UK and other major markets as well...
In fact, many of the "paid results" come from American companies. Now some would argue that this is to be expected, coming from American companies with large budgets but I would disagree because a lot of the bulk of the "Canadian specific" results are also American companies.
It is quite evident that this is a growing concern with business owners residing in different countries.
As an owner not from the US, I would rather compete with companies that are more local than not, simply because the results would then be relevant. Irrelevant results equal to poor results and less people take the search results seriously when they keep sifting through poor quality results online.
For example; If you highlight "search in Canada" and search for "web design", the top 2 results seem not to be from Canada. This is a serious issue. What if people click on "I'm feeling lucky", they are redirected to a company outside of Canada. The average person won't know what to think about that and may disregard searching through Canadian results any further.
The more content specific the results are, the more people will search through those results. The more people will tell their friends & peers to search through those results. See, as web marketers, we do have the power to create a search term that people get familiar with. Just look at "Blogging". A couple of years ago, if you asked people to search online for "blogging" sites, you would have had a lot of confused faces staring at you. Nowadays, if you search for blogging, there are more than 900,000 results found in Google and to top that off, there is more than enough paid advertisers as well.
What do we see changing in Google?
The #1 thing we are now seeing more and more is search results listing websites with country specific domain name extensions. Here's what I mean by that....
If you were Google and you wanted to deliver better search results for Canada, how would you go about doing that?
I would look at 2 things:
1) Does the domain name end with .ca? (Ex. www.smartads.ca)2) Does the "contact" information about the company match the country - Street, City, Province/State, Country. Are all of these factors listed within the contact page?
These are very important factors, evidenced to the fact that, I see Google weighing your "contact" page higher than anything else within your website other than your front page. So the moral is, make sure to list EXACTLY where it is that you do business within your contact page. Your website will rank higher for local searching when this technique is utilized.
Second, make sure to buy a domain name(s) that is country specific. If you live in Canada, buy a domain with the extension (.ca). If you live in the United Kingdom, make sure to buy a domain name with the extension (.uk). If you live in the US, make sure to buy a domain name with the extension (.us).
You may be asking, what if I don't want to concentrate on just local searching? Create a separate website to target different areas. There is nothing with .com, in fact most people automatically type in .com but, if you truly want to target locally, you have to play locally.
The future of search engines is local searching! We are seeing an increasing amount of evidence to sustain this claim. Targeting locally is a great start and will ultimately help you to target internationally later on!
I hope this article helps you out!