Setting a geographic target for your site in Webmaster Tools

Uploaded by Google on 23.04.2008


SUSAN MOSKWA: Hi everybody.
This is Susan Moskwa here from the Google
Webmaster Tools team.
I'm a webmaster trends analyst working out of Google's
Seattle area office, and today I'll be talking to you a bit
about the geotargeting tool that Google has built in
Webmaster Tools.
A bit about what you can and can't do with the tool and
also how to use it.
So to start out, a brief history behind this tool.
Previously, Google used to look at a couple signals to
determine where a site was located or what particular
region the site might be especially relevant to.
And those signals included the server
location of the website--
where the website was hosted--
and also the TLD or top-level domain of the website.
So for example, if you had a website that ended in .fr,
which is the TLD, or top-level domain, for France, this would
send Google a signal that the content of that website might
be especially relevant to searchers in France.
But this was a problem for some websites, because some
sites use a geographically neutral TLD, or top-level
domain, such as .com or .net, and they may host their
website in a location that is different from where their
actual business is located.
Say hosting is cheaper in a different country from yours.
So without either of these signals, Google might not be
able to return the website for relevant locally-targeted
searches, which is why we built the geotargeting tool,
so that you could let us know if your site is especially
relevant to a particular region.
And we can then serve users better who are searching from
that region.
So a couple examples of when you might want to use or not
use this tool.
If you had a website that was for a business or organization
that was located in a particular region, you might
want to geotarget the site to that region.
So for example, if I have a furniture store that's located
in Canada, and somebody in Australia is searching for
furniture, my site is probably not relevant to them, because
they want to just go get something that's located in
their area.
And therefore if I geotargeted my website to Canada, I would
be able to more accurately reach searchers who are
searching within the Canada region who might be
nearer to my store.
Another example of when you might want to geotarget is if
you have content that's especially relevant to a
particular location.
So say for example I had a website all about the
Wisconsin state tax code.
I'd probably want to geotarget this website to the United
States, because people outside of the United States probably
aren't interested in our tax codes.
And finally, if you had a global or international
website that had specific subsections of the site that
were targeted to different countries--
say you had a set-up like this, where you have different
subdomains for each of the different countries that your
website serves--
you could individually go in and geotarget each of those
subdomains to the different region that each one is
relevant to.
So an example of a time when you probably wouldn't want to
use the geotargeting tool is if you were trying to target a
particular language or a group of users who speak a language.
So say for example I have a website in French.
I wouldn't want to geotarget myself to France, because then
I might be missing out on French-speaking people in
Canada, in the Middle East, anywhere in the world, really.
So if you're trying to target a particular language group,
generally geographic targeting would not be
right for your website.
So a couple examples of what actually happens once you've
geotargeted your website.
Here's an example.
Say I was searching on, which is Google
Canada, and I entered my query here and then I selected the
Search only pages from Canada option.
If you had geotargeted the .ca subdomain of your website to
Canada, it would be more likely for us to return that
results in the Canadian search results, because we know this
is a page that is relevant to Canada.
Whereas it would be less likely for us to return your
Australian or your United Kingdom content.
But if a searcher searches using the default setting of
Search the entire web, then it's possible that content
from any of the different subsections of your website
could show up.
The only instance in which geotargeting affects your site
and search results is when searchers limit their search
to a particular geographic location.
So now that we know a bit more about what the tool does, I'll
walk you through a bit of how to use it.
You can geotarget in Webmaster Tools either just a generic,
straight-up domain-- your whole site.
You can add and target individual subfolders on your
site, and you can also add and geotarget
subdomains on your website.
So in order to do so, you would need to add individually
each of these subfolders or subdomains.
Add each of them as a website in your Webmaster Tools
account, and then go in for each one and set the
geographic location accordingly.
And one neat thing is that if you have a subfolder set up on
your website, like this, you can add and verify the
top-level domain in your Webmaster Tools account, and
after that, each subfolder that you add to your account
will be automatically verified, because subfolders
are sort of underneath the ownership of the whole site.
So once you've verified that you own the top level, all of
these will automatically become verified for you.
If you do have a subdomain set up, you'll need to add and
verify each of these subdomains individually.
But once you've done that, you can go in and set the
geographic targeting of each of those websites accordingly.
And so that's basically a summary of our
geotargeting tool.
I hope you guys have found this useful, and if you have
any questions, you can post them in our discussion group.