Image Credit: earth from space
A couple of weeks ago Barry reported that Google’s country specific weights may be getting stronger. Some changes have been made and one thing is obvious, UK sites have had their rankings reduced on Google.com for many commercial phrases.
One thing that seems to have gone un-noticed is that around the same time the Google webmaster central set geographic tool began to work.
Webmasters who’s sites are hosted outside the of the UK can now have their sites rank properly on Google UK (including pages from the UK), simply by changing the geographic target via Google webmaster tools.
I know of at least one site that this is working properly for, the site is hosted in the US and it has been set up so that the UK sub directory of the site now shows up on pages from the UK.
If webmasters with international sites leverage this properly it could have a huge impact on the amount of traffic they receive. Certain sites that spring to mind are ones like Dmoz and BOTW.org, these sites could now have their UK sub directories show up and rank properly on UK only Google.
Also this is not just a UK thing, webmasters can now have the relevant sub-directories/domains of their international sites show up on country specific searches worldwide. Can you imagine how much more traffic that would mean for Dmoz if this was set up correctly?
To make this work you need to have a general top level domain like a .com, .net or a .org, with the sub directories of your site specifically targeting individual countries, you then need to claim the different sections as separate sites and set the relevant geographic target for each one.
This is supposed to take about 2-3 months to kick in, but it could take much longer depending on the size of the site and the amount of links and PageRank etc.