I work at a startup where 80% of our web traffic is from the US. I also found that 70% of that traffic comes from google organic searches.

I'm trying to figure out why 80% of our traffic is from the US and why there is so little international exposure. We did not do any advertising that's US specific, so that's not a factor. Let me phrase the question this way: Since the majority (70%) of the traffic comes from google, and if the searches are more or less the same around the world, shouldn't google bring us more evenly distributed traffic globally? For example, the UK has 65M people, India has 1.2B people. They both speak English. When they google the same keywords as the Americans, where did those traffic go? To confirm this, I actually went to Google UK and Google India, put in the relevant keywords, and our website ranks about the same as the Google in the US. And there are many other countries like these. So, where did those traffic go??

Any insights or theories are appreciated. I must be missing something.

  • 2
    Searches in each of these search engines will be different. Radically so sometimes. It may be the subject of the site itself. If could also be local search. It can also be how people search from these areas. What is the subject of the site? Where is the start-up located? Are you expecting to do business from these other areas?
    – closetnoc
    Commented Sep 2, 2016 at 2:49
  • 1
    We're a math education startup that provides online math references and answers, based in the US. I would think this subject is fairly universal. We get roughly 8M pageviews monthly. Commented Sep 2, 2016 at 2:57
  • Wow! Very impressive! Good work. I have no idea. It may be the robust home school community, it could be a whole host of things. Let's see what others have to say. We have some real experts here. Our heaviest activity comes in the morning and during the day... hence the PRO in Pro Webmasters. :-) Cheers!!
    – closetnoc
    Commented Sep 2, 2016 at 3:02
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    when you tested your keywords on Google UK and Google India, did you use a UK / India IP? Do you use a tool like Sistrix / Searchmetrics / .. and do you have a high "visibility" in both, UK and US? Did you target your site to US in WMT? What TLD are you using? ".com"? Do you have hreflang meta tags implemented? Commented Sep 2, 2016 at 6:34
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    Sounds like language tags play no role, "Google uses only the visible content of your page to determine its language. We don’t use any code-level language information such as lang attributes." ref: support.google.com/webmasters/answer/182192?hl=en — I suggest reading that page, as it contains information that you may find relevant and useful.
    – inspirednz
    Commented Sep 2, 2016 at 17:14

3 Answers 3


Besides trying to avoid local specific targeting such as city, state, and country names, you should also take care to ensure your google webmaster tools isn't targeting a specific country. See https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/62399?hl=en

Although the server location is no longer being used to pin down your target country, I think it's best to be using a CDN to better distribute your content globally.

Still, your best bet to target an international audience is by offering the site in alternative languages and including the proper head tags to point google to the alternative language sites. Although, this can be a big undertaking for some sites.


It could be the way your content is structured and created. You could be creating a lot of content with local relevance and local keywords - my guess is that you are using words like US, America or some US cities in your content and hence search results are increasingly tailored to suit local needs.

You could search your keywords and internal links in Google webmasters and that will throw up some clues.

Hope that helps.


If you are selling fast food fried chicken for pick up and delivery in Alabama, should your search results contain the same percentage of results from India and England?

You have given us no information about what you are selling or promoting so your question is impossible to answer. Who visits your site is based on user interest, not search results. No matter where you are in results, you aren't going to get a better return in Thailand and Germany than you would in the US and, specifically Alabama!

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