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Sometimes .coms are Just as Relevant

Some UK Google users have noticed that search results pages are showing more results from .com sites these days, than in the past. They are used to .co.uk sites getting better rank, and assuming that they are more relevant to their geographic location.

Certainly in some cases the .co.uk site would be more relevant to a UK searcher, but that is not always the case. Google's Matt Cutts has posted a video in which he answers a question on this subject from a user. The question was:

Why are the UK SERPS still really poor with irrelevant non UK sites (US/Aus/NZ) ranking very high on Google.co.uk since early June?

Cutts says it is true that searchers in the UK will see more .com results, and that is simply a product of Google getting better at determining geographic relevancy.

As Google gets better, they're more willing to show .com results if they're relevant to the country. "If the best result for a British searcher is something that ends in .com, we still want to show that to that British searcher," says Cutts.

According to Cutts, this is a change that Google will not likely reverse, although he does encourage users to let them know if they see such results that aren't relevant, because they would want to improve this.

The bottom line is that Google is just learning more these days about what sites are associated with what countries, and they're better at detecting it. The goal is to supply relevant results.

As a bonus, Cutts posted to his blog that he's already received some criticism about his answer in the above video and responded:

There’s a couple effects going on:

- first, we’ve been making changes that make it much more likely to see .coms in the UK. I’d say that’s 80-90% of the changes that people are seeing. Most of the generic TLDs (.com, .net, etc.) that are showing up now are .com sites like tescofinance.com and churchill.com that are relevant to the UK even though they don’t end in a .co.uk.

- I’ve been following some of the examples people have pointed out. I remember kiva.org in particular was mentioned and that probably is off-topic for the UK. I dug into that one, and it was an unrelated ranking experiment that was going on that we changed.

Now we know for sure that .com are the best domains for buying for your niche,i don't believe this bull from Matt..from now on just buy .com domains ;)

1 comments

Neeshy said... @ August 31, 2009 at 3:54 AM

Ranking high in the serps using geographically specific domains, was something I did effectively for a while. Admittedly, it did seem like a loophole but it was good while it lasted.

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