What Determines the Geo-Target of your Website?
It is important to gain visibility in search engines where your consumer base is searching from. SEO experts have a wide range of strategies and advice on how to geo-target a website. This generally means the country in which a company conducts its business.
It was thought that to ensure search engines understand where you are based was to host your website in that country. However, this wasn’t always the best option as international hosting companies often offered much more cost effective or better solutions. The good news is that Google recently revealed that server location is irrelevant in determining the geo-target of a website. If you do business in the UAE but host in Europe or the US, it does not matter.
What Google uses for this is your ccTLD (country-code top-level domain) and the settings in your Google Search Console account. It has been widely accepted that the most efficient way of geo-targeting your website to one country is by purchasing a ccTLD. This means if you are based in the UK for example, the best way to rank on Google.co.uk as a local business is to buy a domain like mybusiness.co.uk or if you are based in the UAE a domain like mybusiness.ae is the best way to gain traction within the UAE.
If, however, you do not have a ccTLD and something like .com or .org then the best way to signal to Google is by changing the international targeting setting in Google Search Console. By ticking the box and selecting a country, you can target that location and start to gain traction in that country.
Something to consider however is that if you do business and want to attract business outside of the country you are based in, is that by purchasing a ccTLD or selecting a country in Google Search Console you are limiting your ability to gain visibility in other countries. This not to say you will not show up in SERPs at all but websites targeting other countries will take preference over yours. If you want to run a multinational campaign, it is best to contact an SEO expert or agency to guide you through this strategy as there are multiple pitfalls in trying to achieve this.
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