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I have a site in Hebrew #.co.il and I consider changing it from a native-Hebrew site to a native-English one; that is, the direction will be LTR instead of RTL, and most of the content will be in English instead of Hebrew.

Can it work if the site's domain will still be co.il?

I ask only for direct experience with an identical or similar problem, or maybe a good statement from Google (that might be outdated).

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Google will only ever rank .il domains well in Isreal. Google assumes that all content on .il domains is not very relevant outside Isreal.

Google maintains a list of top level domains that are geo-targetable. There are a few country code TLDs on that list:

.ad .as .bz .cc .cd .co .dj .fm .io .la .me .ms .nu .sc .sr .su .tv .tk .ws

However, if your TLD isn't on that list, you are out of luck. Google Webmaster Tools will not allow you to geo-target most country code domains to something other than their intended country.

Matt Cutts has a video where he explains Google's reasoning for this:

If you have a .jp domain and are trying to target Finland, you are really going against a lot of expectations and conventions that people have on the net. So one thing to think about would be whether it would be possible to get a generic TLD and use that for other countries.

For what it's worth, I also think that Google is being silly on this issue.

  • It limits the creative use of names.
  • You can't use TLDs for language (.de sites don't rank well in Austria where they also speak German, or .pt in Brazil)

This has been Google's policy for years now though, and they haven't been willing to budge on it. If you want your site to rank worldwide, you can't use most country code top level domains.

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