Google.com vs Google.ca vs Google.co.uk (etc) all rank their results differently. The intention is to return more locally-relevant content.

What factors, other than the ones below, are used to determine local relevancy?

I already know the TLD (.com, .ca, etc) and likely the server IP address is used but there has to be more as this would not explain some search results I noticed this week.

Particularly, I see a US-based site ranking #3 for some keywords on Google.com, ranking #5 on Google.ca and not ranking within the first pages on Google.co.uk. On Google.com it outranks a Australian site which outranks it on Google.ca. The site itself is relevant for all English-speaking locations and it being outranked by sites from different regions on different Google TLDs (but not ones from the same region as the TLD).

1 Answer 1


Google: Working with multi-regional websites

Google generally uses the following elements to determine the geotargeting of a website (or a part of a website):

Use of a ccTLD is generally a strong signal for users since it explicitly specifies a single country in an unmistakable way.


Webmaster Tools' manual geotargeting for gTLDs (this can be on a domain, subdomain or subdirectory level); more information on this can be found in our blog post and in the Help Center. With region tags from geotargeting being shown in search results, this method is also very clear to users. Please keep in mind that it generally does not make sense to set a geographic target if the same pages on your site target more than a single country (say, all German-speaking countries) — just write in that language and do not use the geotargeting setting (more on writing in other languages will follow soon!).

Server location (through the IP address of the server) is frequently near your users. However, some websites use distributed content delivery networks (CDNs) or are hosted in a country with better webserver infrastructure, so we try not to rely on the server location alone.

Other signals can give us hints. This could be from local addresses & phone numbers on the pages, use of local language and currency, links from other local sites, and/or the use of Google's Local Business Center (where available).

Note that we do not use locational meta tags (like "geo.position" or "distribution") or HTML attributes for geotargeting. While these may be useful in other regards, we've found that they are generally not reliable enough to use for geotargeting.

Other then giving more weight to local web pages the ranking factors are the same. It is important to note that being in a specific country doesn't mean you'm automatically rank well or better then non-country specific web pages. Quality of content still is the most important factor.

  • Guess I am seeing the impact of links from local-sites cause some less relevant (actually *irrelevant( in some cases) to outrank me in localized search. What do you think would be the impact then of having a ccTLD that redirects to a gTLD site? Would the hint be taken or ignored since a 301 would be returned?
    – Itai
    Commented Jun 26, 2011 at 0:42
  • Check out this answer for why that won't work.
    – John Conde
    Commented Jun 26, 2011 at 1:17

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