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We've had a website running on a .co.uk domain for some years, this domain is listed in the SERPS for our brand on both google.co.uk and google.com. We get little traffic from anywhere other than the UK because the website is targeted at the UK market with specific UK keywords.

This is great, however we recently purchased the .com domain with the intention of producing a second version of the website targeted to the United States with US specific keywords i.e. targeting and moving in to the US marketplace.

We have used Google webmaster tools to set the geographic target for the .com domain to be the US.

I think I was expecting ONLY the .com site to show up when searching google.com and only the .co.uk site to show up when searching google.co.uk. However when we search google.com for our 'brand' the .co.uk site is listed in the SERPS. We would prefer the .com to appear in the SERPS on google.com.

Is there anything we can do?

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2 Answers 2

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In short, no, but you can minimise the extent to which it happens. If a page is relevant to a search term - regardless of the searcher's location and the website's geographic focus - it will be returned. As a result, there is an inevitable degree of overlap between sites on the same topic aimed at English speaking markets like the US, UK, Canada, etc.

You've already taken the most important steps: using appropriate ccTLD for the UK, GWT targeting for the gTLD and optimising your language and keywords to suit the intended markets.

Bear in mind, however, that merely changing keywords to suit a given locale is very likely not enough to avoid these sites being substantially similar and therefore in competition with each-other. So, where possible, completely re-write your content for each market.

While the success of this targeting might not be clear when searching brand keywords, for other searches you should, in time, see at bit more of a difference.

If all else fails, Google supports additional markup which allows you to identify equivalents of a page and specify the market(s) they're intended for, so the .co.uk page would have code identifying it's .com equivalent, with a declaration that the latter is intended for the US English market.

There's more good advice from Google on how their geographic and language targeting works here.

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It's also worth remembering that the search results you see in Google are influenced by the location of the person searching. Also, if you are logged in to a Google Account at the time of the search other factors can come into play that will influence the search results you are shown.

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