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  • #969839
    shags38
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    Hi all,

    below is an excerpt of an email recently sent to my hosting company – hopefully it is self explanatory. I am interested in any comments from SEO experts in this forum and from those that have dot com sites.

    start quote –

    a) Does the country location of a host have any influence on the search results for a given search keyword or phrase? (b) Does the country loacation of the searcher have an influence on search results (I think the answer to this is yes) – (c) by deleting the dot au from google.com.au/shdyfbbfyvfmkv ….. search in the address bar does this alter the search results (I know the answer is yes) – however do the resultant search results then mirror what would be seen “globally” for that search? (will someone in Armenia see the same results in the same order).

    Lets use one of my sites as an example – 3dtelevisionchoices.com. Results for search “best 3d television” are Page 2 #14 in a google AU search and then with that same search address in the address bar deleting the dot au gives Page 4 #33. Same site search term “best 3d tv” = P5 #43 and P10 #95. Now if this was a dot AU site it would make sense to me, Google gives extra relevance factor to “local” results, this is the reverse though. So I can only assume it has something to do with the fact that the site is hosted here in Australia – I need to know if this is the case – why? – because that site and a couple of others are targeted primarily at the U.S. market, at least at present with the Amazon affiliate factor. So IF the residency of the site has an influence in search result ranking / placement then commercially speaking I need to have that site hosted in the U.S. – well that is my logic.

    In a G search you can elect “the web” or “pages from ……” so if I was a searcher in the U.S. selecting “pages from U.S.A.” then does my page hosted in Australia not gain the best page rank in that search?

    Google WebMaster search query statistics, as much as they are all over the place, tend to fall into line with the dot AU search. If I was on my laptop in the U.S. and did a G search as per above would the search results be the same? (theoretically – I know search results order can change daily).

    Whist here in Oz if I delete the dot AU from the search query in the address bar am I seeing search results in the same order as if I was somewhere else in the world (e.g. U.S.) or are the engines different in each country / region? I know I can nominate a market region emphasis in Webmaster Tools so there must be some sort of correlation.

    So – in a nutshell – (1) commercially speaking would it be pertinent to have those domains that are targeting the U.S. market actually hosted in the U.S. for better ranking purposes?? (2) how can I get search results (and Google Webmaster statistics) as is I was a searcher domiciled in the U.S. – in other words how can I validate how my site is performing in the U.S. specifically?

    end quote –

    cheers,
    Mike

    #1041184
    seocourse
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    hey Mike….

    Super Gab to the Rescue:

    Ok… welcome to the “checking ranking nightmare”

    This is the way google “gives you results”

    Google detects your IP and by default give you Google.com.au
    That’s why someone like me with so many USA customers use a proxy IP from the USA to trigger Google USA

    Now… google also can “read” your cookies, and even previous google cache history in your browser…. so that also trigger Google.com.au

    So if you even try to delete the .com.au and put .com in the URL… mmm that will not work.

    Quite annoying isn’t?

    So there is a solution

    check http://www.scroogle.org (for the love of god do not write that address with .com ) is .org

    this is the url —> http://www.scroogle.org
    is mainly a Google Scrapper that gives you the EXACT result from Google main servers (the ones in Palo Alto I think)

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Regarding hosting:

    I rank 1st in Australia for many keywords with many clients…
    and I do not have any hosting in Australia.
    in fact I hate Australian hosting providers.
    So does hosting affects SEO?
    I doubt 100%.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I hope that helps mate.

    *** Keep in mind that once you are REALLY an authority a .com.au will be able to also rank in the top 10 in the USA

    Go and Google “SEO Packages” in Google USA…
    there is only one humble Australian site in top 10….
    ;) mmmm who owns that site?

    Cheers

    Gab

    #1041185
    shags38
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    seocourse, post: 49702 wrote:
    hey Mike….

    Super Gab to the Rescue:

    Ok… welcome to the “checking ranking nightmare”

    This is the way google “gives you results”

    Google detects your IP and by default give you Google.com.au
    That’s why someone like me with so many USA customers use a proxy IP from the USA to trigger Google USA

    Now… google also can “read” your cookies, and even previous google cache history in your browser…. so that also trigger Google.com.au

    So if you even try to delete the .com.au and put .com in the URL… mmm that will not work.

    Quite annoying isn’t?

    So there is a solution

    check http://www.scroogle.org (for the love of god do not write that address with .com ) is .org

    this is the url —> http://www.scroogle.org
    is mainly a Google Scrapper that gives you the EXACT result from Google main servers (the ones in Palo Alto I think)

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Regarding hosting:

    I rank 1st in Australia for many keywords with many clients…
    and I do not have any hosting in Australia.
    in fact I hate Australian hosting providers.
    So does hosting affects SEO?
    I doubt 100%.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I hope that helps mate.

    *** Keep in mind that once you are REALLY an authority a .com.au will be able to also rank in the top 10 in the USA

    Go and Google “SEO Packages” in Google USA…
    there is only one humble Australian site in top 10….
    ;) mmmm who owns that site?

    Cheers

    Gab

    Thanks Gab,

    what is it about Australian host companies that you don’t like?

    Proxy I.P. ?- feed me more, I’m hungry.
    cheers,
    Mike

    #1041186
    seocourse
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    mmm is not that I don’t like Australian companies,
    but they can’t compete

    in the USA … I’m the king. I’m always right. They backup my stuff daily. they offer me 24/7 support.. they NEVER sleep and they have 24/7 phone and chat systems in place.

    Plus is cheaper.

    * Regarding a Proxy IP well is a way to “connect” to a site using an IP of the USA
    Just google “private proxy” . They are paid solutions… from $10 per month to … lol $499 per month. It depends how many IP’s you want.

    Usually normal people, don’t need this.
    Usually is used by “naughty people” . (not that I’m naughty .. ;)

    #1041187
    kbrookes
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    I’m with Gabriel on this one.

    I’ve only ever hosted in Australia when my clients absolutely demanded it of me. (story about this below)

    AU hosting companies compete poorly with their US cousins. Overpriced and underpowered, lacking the features that US hosting can provide. You have a plethora of choice and those crucial aspects, such as round-the-clock service and daily backups are just standard.

    One previous client demanded not only Australian hosting, but that they be listed on the stock exchange. He felt that that made them a more secure bet than a regular company which ‘could collapse at any moment’.

    There’s not a lot of choices out there that meet those requirements. I have a friend who worked for one of the largest Aussie names in hosting and domains – who made sure I never hosted with them. Security was a joke, systems were barely maintained, backups never happened.

    The best I could find was Macquarie who were so ludicrously expensive it just wasn’t doable.

    They went with BigPond hosting. Which isn’t even hosted by Telstra, they resell it for another hosting business (or did). And is a godawful service. They had myriad of problems with it and couldn’t understand why it was so terrible.

    My advice was that they grab cheap, reliable overseas hosting and use cronjobs to pull daily backups offsite. If anything happened with the hosting company, they could always restore to a new host and redirect the domain. Likely downtime of such a maneuver: 6 – 12 hours. Likelihood of actually needing it? Zilch.

    They didn’t take my advice, preferring the ‘security’ of Telstra.

    #1041188
    websitedesigner
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    We offer hosting for our clients in Sydney and Chicago. It has taken me a long time to find good data centre partners in both places but they are both as good as each other. Our Australian plans are about twice the price – about 10x the price for bandwidth but some clients want faster and that is the main reason why we offer Aus and US hosting. We have slightly different backup routines for each location because of bandwidth charges. In the states we can backup onsite and offsite every night in some cases or at least every week on our busiest server. In AUS we backup to the server, then we backup to another server in the same data centre (to avoid bandwidth charges) then once a month to the US offsite.

    This scroogle thing’s interesting. We recently started offering a free service where we email small businesses a monthly report on their website performance. We were using the Google API to get the search positions for certain keywords however found that Google didn’t really like us doing that (meaning they stopped us from doing it – probably should have read the terms) so we now offer the keywords part of the reports as a paid service but it would be nice for people to be able to easily track where they are coming in Google without paying and without doing anything, that’s what I was hoping for.

    #1041189
    Arnold Shields
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    We moved from AU shared hosting environment to a US based cloud host (vps.net) mainly because the shared host was getting slower and slower.

    It made no difference to our search engine rankings.

    The com.au and defining your market as Australia in webmaster tools overcomes the issues associated with server location.

    This was discussed on the Webmaster Tools help forum:

    http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Webmasters/thread?tid=2e61e49baa5a6eaf&hl=en

    #1041190
    JohnW
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    Hi Mike,
    There are a lot more factors involved in how Google ranks results. You and I could be seated in the same room and have slightly different search results for the same search phrases made at the same time.

    “a) Does the country location of a host have any influence on the search results?”
    Google attempts to identify the country that a website is targeting and the location of the host web server is one of the parameters used.

    If you are asking does Google use a country location to skew search results then the answer is it can in two ways. Google provides around 160 country specific search engines and all generate country skewed search results.

    The other influence is the local pages only search function. That excludes non-local websites from the results completely. The exception is http://www.google.com which does not offer a USA pages only search function.

    It is not just the location of the host server that determines how Google associates a website with a specific country. It also uses the top level domain – you can be a “.com.au” hosted on a server in the USA and Google will still identify your site as Australian. You can also specify what country your site is targeting with Google’s Webmaster Tools settings. (See: http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=62399)

    “b) Does the country location of the searcher have an influence on search results”
    Yes it does and Google seems to be attempting to geotarget more tightly than on the national level.

    “(c) do the resultant search results then mirror what would be seen “globally” for that search? (will someone in Armenia see the same results in the same order).”
    They will probably see different results. Here’s a Google quote, “we always try to deliver the most relevant results possible for the user, and location can be a factor, even in natural web search results”. This comment is posted in answer to this question: “Why does Natural SERP Organic Results Favores Local Companies for CERTAIN Phrases”
    (http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Webmasters/thread?tid=034da2c898559a8e&hl=en). There is also a Matt Cutts video posted here.

    I’m not aware of anything other than the usual Google vague descriptions like this as to how Google attempts to identify the user’s location. They could be tracking your ISP’s IP or using location info provided when people sign up for any Google, You Tube, Gmail, etc. account.

    “then with that same search address in the address bar deleting the dot au gives Page 4 #33.”
    By deleting the “.au” you have switched to searching on Google USA and with the provisos of all the other variations, you are mostly seeing how US residents would see your search results.

    Another way Google generates different search results for different users no matter where they reside is via “Web History”. A Google quote: “Web History helps deliver more personalized search results based on the things you’ve searched for on Google and the sites you’ve visited. You might not notice a big impact on your search results early on, but they should steadily improve over time the more you use Web History.” (https://www.google.com/accounts/ServiceLogin?hl=en&continue=http://www.google.com.au/history/optout%3Fhl%3Den&nui=1&service=hist) You can switch this Google function off. If you’re tracking your own sites, this is essential or you or you will be generating results that get further away from the natural rankings the more you check them.

    Another reason for variation is the Google server the searcher has been sent to. Google has scores of data centres dotted around the world to manage the billions of searches. There must be thousands of servers supporting the user demands and these servers are never in 100% sync with the main database.

    Yet another reason for variable results is how much of a website is in the Google index. These results can go haywire from time to time. When Google implements major changes like “Caffeine” and “Mayday” they are rolled out across their network over months. I monitor a few large Aust site as my indicator of when Google is chucking a wobbly. The ABC site went down to 11 million pages indexed by Google for months earlier this year, now it is back up to 25 million. Last year it had 29 million pages in the index. RealEstate dropped down to 200k pages and is now back up to 800k. Last year it had nearly 2 million in the index. There were huge changes in how Google indexes websites earlier this year. No one knows the full impact yet and Google isn’t telling.

    What do you do for geotargeting is the real question.

    Step 1:
    Set your Webmaster Tool to define the country your site(s) are targeting.

    Step 2:
    Avoid duplicate content. I see you have http://www.3dtvchoices.com and 3dtelevisionchoices.com. I did not check them. Do they duplicate content? If so, this could be your single biggest Google ranking problem that could have a far bigger impact on your ranking results than anything to do with geolocation issues.

    Not part of your original post but as others are proffering advice about hosting services in different countries…
    We used to host our clients’ sites on USA services. At the time we were with probably the fourth largest. They were acquired by another company and in the wash up all of our clients sites were lost. We then found the back up service we had been paying for was supposedly lost. I spent a month working from midnight trying to communicate with the USA and get past the useless telesupport underlings to get straight answers. Eventually it turned out that a hard drive had died. We paid thousands for another company to attempt data recovery. Then we found they had sent out the wrong hard drive when we found we were looking at a Windows server instead of a Unix box. By this stage no one could find our dead hard drive. After 4 weeks we were left with a bill for data recovery on someone else’s hard drive and scores of clients’ sites still down. We could have encountered the same problems with a local service but I know we would have been weeks ahead in solving the problem.

    This is such a volatile industry. I will never again host our clients’ sites with a service that is not in the same city as me. Even after our USA debacle we ran into the some similar issues with our then Sydney hosting service. They were acquired and this time we checked the backup service we were paying for. Guess what? No back ups were being made. We moved again but this time no clients’ sites were off line.

    I want to be able to haul on my largest size 11 boots and be able to kick down the door of some Sydney based CEO and tell him that he will be sued in an Australian court under Australian laws and I want to be able to do it during my daylight hours.

    Regs,

    JohnW

    #1041191
    shags38
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    Hi John W,

    Firstly I want to thank you for the considerable time and effort you have gone to in your response to my query – the comments and advice are certainly valuable and taken on board.

    The unfortunate hard drive issue is a very graphic lesson, something I had not considered. I am finally getting some good “value” and support from an Aussie hosting service that is competitive with the U.S. based hosts so will stay here and not go offshore.

    Some additional advice I got was speed of download, apparently a significant factor as far as the big G is concerned, will generally be better for a site if hosted in the target market country, e.g. an AU site hosted in Australia will download faster for an Australian searcher than the same site if it was hosted in the U.S. – would you concur?

    Again many thanks for your input, much appreciated.

    cheers,
    Mike

    #1041192
    JohnW
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    shags38, post: 51696 wrote:
    Some additional advice I got was speed of download, apparently a significant factor as far as the big G is concerned, will generally be better for a site if hosted in the target market country, e.g. an AU site hosted in Australia will download faster for an Australian searcher than the same site if it was hosted in the U.S. – would you concur?
    Hi Mike,
    I don’t agree with this.

    Here is what Google says on its Webmasters Central Blog: “While site speed is a new signal, it doesn’t carry as much weight as the relevance of a page. Currently, fewer than 1% of search queries are affected by the site speed signal in our implementation”

    It’s from the article “Using site speed in web search ranking” on the official Google blog
    http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2010/04/using-site-speed-in-web-search-ranking.html

    Load speed appears to be insignificant to Google unless you have a serious problem with your hosting service or website.

    If you have a problem then you will most likely be addressing factors that have nothing to do with the country where your site is hosted. Eg. “Best Practices for Speeding Up Your Web Site” http://developer.yahoo.com/performance/rules.html

    Regs,
    JohnW

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