Google Search Based On Location Not Domain
Google has announced an update to how country services are labelled on the mobile web, Google apps and desktop Search and Maps.
According to Google, one in five searches are now location-related. In order to ensure search results are more relevant, Google search results will now be based on the location of the user rather than the country code top level domain name (ccTLD).
What is ccTLD
A ccTLD is the suffix of a domain name that determines where a website is registered and, by extension, where in the world users who will find its content relevant reside. For example, websites registered in the United Kingdom often utilise the ".co.uk" ccTLD, whilst websites registered in France or Germany could utilise ".fr" and ".de" respectively.
When a website uses a ccTLD, search engines assume that the website's content is specifically relevant to that geographical area and, therefore, should appear in searches based on, or within, those locations. It is important to note that ccTLDs do not specify a certain language.
If example.co.uk, example.fr and example.de were comparable in terms of quality, authority, trustworthiness and other ranking factors, example.co.uk should achieve higher search positions in a UK user's search results.
Google Results No Longer ccTLD
Google's new update means that typing a different ccTLD into a browser will no longer provide country-specific services and search results. For example, if you're located in France it is no longer possible to access "google.co.uk" country services by entering this ccTLD in your browser.
Google provides the following analogy to help understand its latest attempt to improve the search experience for users:
"So if you live in Australia, you'll automatically receive the country service for Australia, but when you travel to New Zealand, your results will switch automatically to the country service for New Zealand. Upon return to Australia, you will seamlessly revert back to the Australian country service."
How Does This Impact My B2B?
It remains best practice to choose a ccTLD based on your target audience. In addition to the aforementioned SEO benefits, a ".co.uk" could instil confidence with your suspects, prospects and clients. ccTLDs can boost credibility, potentially increasing conversion rates as prospects often prefer to engage with companies in their own native language, currency and region.
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