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Thread: The difference between .com and .co.uk

  1. #1
    WebProWorld MVP inertia's Avatar
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    Question The difference between .com and .co.uk

    One of our customers has recently expressed his interest in expanding his website out of the UK into the international market. He does really well on Google.co.uk and the rest of the UK search engines.

    He's running a .co.uk domain name at the moment, which is hosted in this country. My first instinct was for him to setup a new site with a .com and push all his energies into making the new site a success but when i searched for his domain on G.com i found him on page 8 for one of his major keywords which i was pleasantly surprised about. That got me thinking and now i have several questions.....

    1. Will a .co.uk domain rank well on G.com for a reasonably competitive keyword?

    2. Are the results i see when using G.com here in the UK the same as every one else in the world sees? I was always under the impression that this was the case but searches on G.com do seam to pull back a lot more UK websites than i would expect.

    3. What would you advise me client to do in this situation? From a cost / time perspective.

    Any thoughts or rambles would be much appreciated.

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  2. #2
    WebProWorld MVP wige's Avatar
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    Re: The difference between .com and .co.uk

    If you want to view Google search results, try the following URL:
    Code:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=your+search+term&gl=XX
    XX can be:
    • A two digit country code: us, uk, au, cn
    • A zip code (in the US)
    • Lat/Longitude coordinates
    • and more
    Check out Inside AdWords: View where your ad is showing around the world for more information.
    The best way to learn anything, is to question everything.
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  3. #3

    Re: The difference between .com and .co.uk

    Quote Originally Posted by inertia View Post

    2. Are the results i see when using G.com here in the UK the same as every one else in the world sees? I was always under the impression that this was the case but searches on G.com do seam to pull back a lot more UK websites than i would expect.



    Peace!
    I've been wondering this myself. As far as I can tell, google has about the same results for UK and US. I know that when I'm going through my stats, I see almost as many uk gogle clicks as US for the keyword 'sales copy'. I kind of thought that was odd, and still do. I would think that the search results would be vastly different.
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  4. #4
    WebProWorld MVP wige's Avatar
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    Re: The difference between .com and .co.uk

    They are. Requests to google.com are localized based on your IP address. You need to use the gl= override to view the results as they would be presented to visitors from other countries. Note that this method is somewhat spotty though.
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  5. #5

    Re: The difference between .com and .co.uk

    I have clients that use both .com and .co.uk sites here in the UK and generally, I have noticed that if you have both types, google almost always puts the .co.uk results for a site higher in the uk listings than they do for a .com site (where both sites are largely the same) when the results are viewed in the UK. In other words, if you are in the UK and want a web prescence, you'll generally do better in UK searches with a .co.uk name than you will for a .com name given that you put a simlar effort into SEO.

    I have had a colleague in the US do similar searches on these sites, and there, the .com name returns better results generally for the same queries than the .co.uk name does.

    This is not however, totally scientific as in some cases it doesn't always seem to work like that, but in most searches we have tried both here and in the US for the same keywords, .com ranks better in the US than .co.uk and vice versa.

    I think google is just trying to match sites to countries based on the fact it knows a .co.uk site is likely to be of more relevance to a british user than a .com name for same keywords where the site content is similar (and in the case I am quoting they are). That is my experience anyway. But I do agree, we also get tons of stats to show US visitors are also looking at .co.uk sites too! In sdome cases its almost 50-50 between the two countries.

  6. #6
    Senior Member bj's Avatar
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    Re: The difference between .com and .co.uk

    For the record, one of my clients has two .co.uk sites, and one is hosted in the US and the other is hosted in the UK. The one hosted in the UK is doing much better for local traffic, so I don't think it's just the TLD. Though it's hard to judge exactly, and they're for two different products, with different onsite factors and different audiences, the difference is very drastic, and I truly believe that where the site is hosted is a strong factor.

    And it would suggest that if you want your client to have an out of the UK presence he might want to secure US or other hosting for that site. Meanwhile I'd hang onto the co.uk site and keep working it. Make sure they're sufficiently different so he doesn't trip a dupe content penalty on himself.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Web Res's Avatar
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    Re: The difference between .com and .co.uk

    Some websites deliver a localized content/product. I would think people selling vitamens or IP based products that do not require physical presence would not need, as much, to define their location.

    I work with accommodation suppliers. They want to provide a product to people needing something within a specific physical location. Defining a website by country is a start because it will affect search engine results. There are statements now that Google looks at the domain, and IP location of hosting, to determine whether to serve a website in a localized result. Typically, localized results are only country based.

    If you look at Google Map results as a valid search alternative, then they must dig even deeper and find a way to mark the website with a dot point on a map. In addition, you can provide specific details such as contact, images, openning hours, etc. Google mashes this up with other content such as user reviews.

    A recent post on Semfire Search Engine Marketing (Website in Google Australia and Pages From Australia: Geographic Location and Google) talks about how Google is allowing websites to define their location through a new facility in Webmaster Central. In fact, they are recognizing a single domain might have subdomains that are valid suppliers of local content in other countries. Therefore, you might be able to tell Google through these techniques that your website has several geo-secific statements to make.

    It would be cool if a website could use a lat/long meta tag to provide infomation on a page by page basis. I'm building a website tody that has 325 businesses with locations across Australia; each with a page that needs to provide relevant weight to a locality based search outcome.

    Perhaps the Google Maps option to Add and Edit business listings is like a new form of DMOZ? Certainly seems like something we need to do.

  8. #8
    WebProWorld MVP dburdon's Avatar
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    Re: The difference between .com and .co.uk

    Inertia,

    1. Google.co.uk websites can rank well for specialised searches. But in more generic market categories local sites will be prioritised.
    2. The Google.com results will vary from country to country but not as much as say Google.co.uk versus Google.fr, Google.de or Google.com.au. In most countries the localised version of Google is the dominant version. For example in UK Google.co.uk beats Google.com by more than 10:1.
    3. It really depends on your client's budget. I'd suggest a dot.com for general global marketing. Get the site hosted in your overseas dominant market. A dot.com hosted in the UK will not show up in the US as well as a dot.com hosted in the States.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member khurramali's Avatar
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    Re: The difference between .com and .co.uk

    buying up all the available extensions for your clients is another good approach, if your clients business might expand to other countries or is a multinational company.

    putting up same versions of your clients websites but in their local language like French and German is another good idea on their country specific domain example ABC.FR - moteur de recherche "key-free" and abc.de | Internet-Dienste
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  10. #10
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    Re: The difference between .com and .co.uk

    Good question, being a UK site manager myself.

    Our experience say that both BJ and Khurramali are right, but it will also depend on your target audience.

    1. If you are b2b then the .com gives a global appeal, and you should have two sites showing the different aspects of the service (eg you may give free shipping in the UK, but not internationally so it gives a chance to focus on the key selling points).

    2. Buying up all of the available domains and hosting them locally in the country of that domain can also work (eg .fr in france, .de in germany). You can then just have local language landing pages with the International content linked behind so as to not have duplicate content. - of course you can also re-write the whole site in each language if your client is rich enough!

    3. If you focus on b2c then you need to work on very local content so that the geographic nature of those people will come in to play. The french for example are verykeen to only do business with french people in france - so as long as they percieve that is what is happening you can do very well

    Graham

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