Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Google Snippets - Geo Location and Country Location

One of the many reasons Google Search became so dominant was that it was the first to offer localised searching by default. Yahoo, for example, has always been particularly bad - especially in Ireland. (as do several other ccTLD's) ranks for SEO in "Pages from Ireland only" in a search for SEO! Click here to see that search.

Google is now displaying the country it thinks a site is best fitted too. Geo-Targeting, or associating a website with a country (or more), is a really simple concept. The US-centric nature of the world's biggest search engines for the last 20 years (dominated by Google for the past 8 or 9) has meant that .COM's are often seen as global and previously (before 2004/5) sites ranked regardless of location - which suited most US surfers just fine. Top Level Domains (TLD's : .COM, .NET, .ORG etC) can be assigned to any country and sometimes span more than one. This has often caused a lot of confusion, with many first time webstore owners (and some others) belieing that .COM's (in particular) are global and show up equally everywhere (which really isn't the case)

Having a domain attached to a country makes sense. If you were searching for a plumber, coffee shop, accountant, cinema, online store, having results from other countries doesn't make a lot of sense. Google went further with their Local Business Listings but the new snippet - showing the country or Geo-Target is an interesting development - and one I hope will clear up that misunderstanding.

Having localised sites for your clients ultimately gives the surfer what they want (maybe not the website owner but hey, Google's customer is the user) - so this might be interesting for a lot of people to see.

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