My website has experience quite a bit of growth over the last year, we are now at a stage where we want to expand to a global reach, instead of targeting users in specific country (the country has been selected in Search Console for the past year)


I would like to change the "preferred audience targeting" in search console but I'm worried this will lead to a bit (if not drastic) drop in my rankings and SEO..? Am I right to be concerned about this?

I should probably add that I have a .com domain

  • Can you please specify what kind of TLD you are currently using? Further, which target country you have selected and which audiences you like to target. Which country/countries do you actually rank for? Will there be different pages for different countries/regions/languages? Internationalization and targeting is a very broad and complex topic so feel free to provide as much information as you can.
    – Seb
    Jan 30, 2017 at 16:32
  • This is the last time that I'll answer your question. You had an bounty, and you didn't reward it. I answered on few of your questions and it's always the same. Cheers & all the best.
    – Josip Ivic
    Feb 9, 2017 at 15:31

4 Answers 4


If you relaunch your site, it'll be something like this:

enter image description here

It'll all initially drop. But if you define a good seo strategy, everything is going to get back on track, even better. So, no worries in expanding. Really.

  • Any estimate how long that "getting back on track" can take, 1-month, 6-months a year?
    – Tim C
    Jan 30, 2017 at 14:15
  • It all depends on search engines. But if you come up with good seo strategy, it can take 3-4 weeks tops. :)
    – Josip Ivic
    Feb 2, 2017 at 12:49

Unfortunately It probably will impact in SEO, decreasing the audience in the country selected before, so its better to do not play with that. By the way, your site probably is being showed in another countries SERP also, but will be always more focused in the targeted country.

  • Thanks for that so any suggestion for a work around to become globally more competitive?
    – Tim C
    Jan 23, 2017 at 5:02
  • Multi-language webpages with focus keywords in different languages. Also guest posts in the desired languages from high authority domains will help a lot. Use /language or language.domain.com to create these translated content and link them all to pass juice. Jan 23, 2017 at 5:38
  • Thanks mate but the problem here is, all the countries I target is for ENGLISH language users. I probably should add I have a number of backlinks from high authority domains from "global" countries which I want to target. E.G I have been mentioned in the New-Zealand Herald, TheIrishTimes, HuffingtonPost...all of above mentioned websites are from different countries which I would like to target!! BUT not sure if those good backlinks get wasted since my preferred audience in search-console is stuck with a different country!!
    – Tim C
    Jan 23, 2017 at 5:44
  • Other things that can help are: create Google My Business in each country and insert all locations in the site. If you represent a company with physical presence in these countries, use their addresses. And YES local backlinks in these countries also help a lot. Jan 23, 2017 at 5:53

Changing your target country will have a drastic impact on your current rankings. I don't think it's worth to take that kind of risk since you're already picking growth and traffic from it. (Even if you are using a generic TLD). It would also affect if you have set up Local listings in Google My Business, etc. for that domain.

What I would suggest is using another domain (still having your brand name on it (like domainglobal.com) and test it from there. I know it may cost you some but it's better safe.


Seo Will not be effected by just ticking the box to expand globally. What will hurt you is not using the proper use of the href lang tags to the proper pages.

For example if you are targeting an italian audience and your href lang tag is saying it is in english and it leads to an italian page written in italian. This will cause ranking issues on the US version of Google but your seo will not be effected by pages currently ranked in the United States.

You can not be dinged for duplicate content in different languages as google has different searches for just about every country and the ranking algorithms run for that specific country. Each language will be ranked according to that demographic.

Also your content should be in the language you are trying to target. For example a user in brazil will never see websites from the United States unless they change their language settings in the search engine settings to english. Or the pages you have on your website are written in the specific language for that region.

An American English Website even if it is targeting users globally will not rank as well as websites written and developed in the local region of that user in their country. You can read more about it here from google. https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/182192?hl=en <-- this is exactly what you are looking for and will answer you question more in depth.

Before ticking the the change of reach in Webmaster ensure your website is built for Multi-Region use. As it won't effect your United States ranking the site will never rank in the global searches until you can tailor pages specifically to your users.

Most users will do a subdomain of their website and launch each country separately. For example fr.yourwebsite.com and all the content on this subdomain is written specifically for france. Or bz.yourwebsite.com for customers in brazil. You can just tick it on and expect your english website will rank in other places around the globe.

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