12 Dec 2012

How Does “Geo Targeting” in Google Webmaster Tools Work? (Weekly Q&A)

There’s an interesting question inside SEOchat forums about a new-ish country tags one can notice in search results.
"Geo-Setting" Facts
That’s a good call to sum-up what we actually know about that setting (as it’s so often misunderstood)


The “Geo-Setting” Facts

  • The setting only works if you have a generic top-level domain (here’s the list). If you have a country-specific top level domain, Google will assign you to that country no matter what.
  • The setting serves as *additional* help to Google and only affects search results if the user limits search results to a specific country.
  • The setting refers to area, not language of the search results.
  • (New!) Now Google is going to show your geo-setting in search results in green:

"Geo-Setting" Facts


Conclusions and Sources

  • In most cases you don’t need to enable the geo-targeting setting option. Besides, they say, if you once change your mind and edit the setting, it may take Google months to recover your rankings in other countries.
  • If you really want to only rank in a certain country, a geo-specific TLD is your best bet.
  • The new introduction can be a slight argument towards the geo-setting. If you are targeting a specific country and it shows up in search results, that may affect your click-through!
  • Always read the official guidelines by Google, of course.

What are your experiences with Google’s geo-setting? Please let us know in the comments!