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How to rank within country specific searches

Posted on April 22, 2009

This seems to be a cause for debate on many SEO forums and blogs lately. Just how can you ensure that your website ranks in a regional search?

Firstly, what does this mean? Say for example you have a website (which you probably have) and you want to rank in Google.co.uk for when someone searches for your keywords. It’s not an unreasonable request, you’re business is in the UK so you want people in the UK to find you, naturally.

Some websites however don’t rank in a UK search, and no matter what their SEO consultants try, they just can’t get the rankings. Some SEO experts have even suggested switching domain names for this reason, from a .com to a country specific TLD such as a .co.uk.

This is of course a bit extreme, and completely unnecessary. You don’t have to have a .co.uk to rank within the UK, but it helps.

Here are some things you’ll be told to do by your SEO to get your website to rank in a UK search:

  • Switch your domain name to a .co.uk
  • Switch your hosting to a UK based host
  • Set your region as UK in Google Webmaster Tools

Now, I’m not saying any of these things won’t help, they will, but they’re not necessary to rank in a UK search. You can have a .com website, hosted in Germany, with no geographic settings in Webmaster Tools rank in the UK for a UK search. It’s not easy, but it can be done.

How can it be done?

Two of the biggest factors with your geographic listings are:

  • Your content
  • Your links

The focus of your content plays a large part on your listings. If your content constantly refers to ‘UK’, ‘London’, ‘Manchester’ and other phrases that you’re looking to show up for, you’ll improve your chances of ranking for them, in regional searches.

Your links are of course another important factor. If your website has predominantly good quality, UK based links from .co.uk websites, you’re more likely to be classified by Google as UK based. If your website has poor quality Russian links, how is Google going to know where your website is supposed to be aimed at?

So before you take drastic measures swapping your web host, changing your domain name and playing with Webmaster Tools, check your links and your content. If your SEO company has purchased poor quality links for your site, they could have inadvertently harmed your listings.

Cheryl Mathews

Posted by Cheryl Mathews

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