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Do Meta Geo Tags Influence Google?

Matt Cutts Talks Geo Tags and Webmaster Tools

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Google’s Matt Cutts frequently posts useful tips for webmasters on the Google Webmaster Central YouTube channel. The short clips generally offer valuable nuggets of info that can have an impact on your site’s performance in Google.

In these videos, Matt always answers questions submitted by users, and in a recent one he answers the question: "How do meta geo tags influence search results?"

Noticed changes in your ranking based on geographic info? Discuss.

Cutts says it’s not something Google really looks at at all. He says they do look at:

- IP Address
- gTLD
- ccTLD

He also points out that there’s a feature in Google’s Webmaster Tools where you can tell it that your site pertains to a specific country even though it’s a dot com. "Typically the geotags that are in meta tags are not as useful and We don’t tend to give those as much weight if at all," says Cutts. He suggests spending your time:

- trying to make sure you have the right domain name

- trying to make sure you have the right IP address if you can

- If you have content (even if it’s geo-located) even if it’s a sub-domain or a sub-directory, you can specify it in Google’s Webamster Tools. You can tell it that certain content is relevant for a particular country.

These are good things to keep in mind if geographic information is important to your site. Have you used the Webmaster Tools Feature Cutts refers to? Tell us about it.

Do Meta Geo Tags Influence Google?
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  • http://www.free-speed-reading.com/ebook Free Speed Reading Book

    It is widely speculated that social bookmarking websites like Digg and Stumbleupon look at this kind of information as well in determining how fast content rises in their networks. They don’t want you to tell your neighbors and friends to help you rise in the rankings artificially. It might be silly, since you can have friends anywhere in the world, but I guess it does make sense. Truly popular pages would be appreciated all over the world.

  • http://www.lexolutionit.com Maneet Puri

    This is beasic information. I guess all SEOs know about this. We expect Cutts to spill some more beans ;)

  • http://www.yorkshiredailyphoto.com Leeds Photography blog

    I would take this with a pinch of salt. My blog Leeds Photography was not appearing on google.co.uk despite being high on google.com. I changed the geo tags to UK, GB and gave blog a UK address and now weeks later I am quite high on google.co.uk.

  • http://www.zizinya.com Shareef Defrawi

    I agree with Maneet. This is basic information that most people in the industry are familiar with. We need juicy info.

    • Chris Crum

      We try to provide both juicy info and helpful tips that not everybody knows. Some people are still learning.

  • http://www.jeffgswanson.com Jeff Swanson

    This worked well for me when dealing with a client that has a .com domain and U.S. hosting, but wanted to show up in UK results. It’s very convenient and simple.

    I’ve also managed to appear in UK results for Yahoo, but MSN can’t seem to figure it out. Other search engines should implement this geo-tool that Google uses to make things simple and easy for search engines, web masters and users who might want to find their content.

    I wrote a case study about it:
    http://www.seomoz.org/ugc/uk-indexing-case-study

  • Geo Gowland

    Notice that Cutts doesn’t say that Google does NOT look at geo tags, but only that they “don’t really look” and that geo tags in metadata “are not as useful” as some other things and that “typically” they “don’t tend to give them much weight”. This is another of those times when Mr Cutts talks like someone who knows a lot more about Google than the average outsider, but not as much as someone who spends every day working inside Google HQ.

  • Kate Lennon

    “He suggests spending your time: – trying to make sure you have the right domain name – trying to make sure you have the right IP address if you can”

    Well, that’s interesting. When I suggested here a couple of years ago that the domain name and IP address were among the most important factors in good search engine placement I was roundly attacked by all the resident “experts” (several were quite aggressive and offensive) who insisted that these were not important factors at all, and that I was talking nonsense.

    On a related issue (and while I’m here) I’ve encountered a problem with one of the websites I manage which I haven’t seen discussed anywhere. This was a PR6 website for ten years. Then it got listed in the Open Directory (dmoz) and within a couple of months it had dropped to PR3. And, whereas it had previously appeared on page 1 of Google search results for the most relevant terms, it now appears on page 2 or 3. But here’s the thing: *The (textual) description given in the Google search results listing does not appear anywhere on the website.* Instead, the text is being pulled from the Open Directory listing. Which means that I can no longer tweak the site for better search engine placement. The Google search listing is always the same, no matter what changes I make to the site.
    In effect, getting listed in the OD has prevented SEO.
    I wonder if anyone else here has come across this and/or has any thoughts on the subject?

    • Jon

      Hey Kate,

      Try this;

      http://www.searchengineguide.com/jill-whalen/dmoz-description-showing-in-google.php

  • http://www.zotrim-tablets.co.uk Vairo

    I am slightly confused about IP’s .

    So does this mean, if i have a co.uk domein and i am hosting it on usa, then my site will rank worse in co.uk google search that it would with co.uk hosting?

    Is that correct?

    Cheers

    V.

    • Kate

      A “.co.uk” domain doesn’t have the same “weight” in terms of international Google searches as a dot com or even a dot net domain.
      In the case you mention, I would guess that the “co.uk” url would take precedence over the fact that it has a US IP address.
      Personally, I would never consider using a “.co.uk” domain unless I also had the site mirrored on a dot com domain.

  • http://juegos.gs Juegos

    Yes, the domain name is important but what if one company has the headquarters in Budapest for example, is using a .hu but has a global audience ? (english content). Should their rankings be lower in Google.com only because they use a .hu ?

    In my example the company using a .hu is representing the country, place of origin, not serving local content. The content should make the rules, if they have good english, spanish content should rank internationally. My opinion.

    • Guest

      “Should their rankings be lower in Google.com only because they use a .hu?”

      Whether or not they “should be” is moot. They are.

  • http://www.3ac.co.uk Gary Taylor

    Using sub-domains to specify to Google geo-specific content is very effective. Although I still feel that geo tags are given certain weighting, no way near as much as domain extension and IP, but I would always consider it best practice to include, especially if your website is aimed at a specific geographical location. With regards to the comment about the Open Directory messing with SEO, I have not come across this and have had no issues tweaking my site. I’ve been interested in .co.uk geo domains for some time and have found geo meta tags a crucial part of SEO especially in UK search with .co.uk domains.

  • http://www.abundantace.com/ ace

    I still think that in some ways, meta tags do influence google.

    It does not hurt to include meta tags in your web pages.

  • http://www.shailendradubey.com Shailendra Dubey

    I am agree with matt cutt. For one of our site, i have changed IP address & hosting & also i have specified the specific country in Google Webmaster Tool for that website.

    The results of this change is dratic, we rank on top 5 & still we rank.

  • Karl

    This is a great post. I will definitely focus on IP addresses, ccTLDs, and gTLDs in future geo-targeted campaigns. In addition, I will consider creating geo-targeted subdomains (www.ca.example.com) or sub-directories (www.example.com/ca).

  • Peter Wladings

    Matt, for me you are not really clear about this and your answer is very short. I have a .com website ranking far too low in Google UK. My WMT setting is the UK. I stumbled upon this site http://best-seo-optimization-tips.co.uk (sorry, I have to mention the url, otherwise you don’t know what I’m talking about). Matt, can you tell me if they are correct that the main factor for Google is NOT the geographic location in WMT, because it can be manipulated by webmasters ? I really need your help on this Thanks !

  • http://www.getafreelancer.com GetAFreelancer

    As hinted at in an earlier post, we should all keep in mind that Matt is the head of Spam not the head of algorithms…

  • Ashish

    I want to know how can i remove url from google & other search engine which have been deleted from the site forever.

    I also want to know that how can i check that how many backlinks of any site.

    • http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk gtwcmt.co.uk

      google webmaster tools, will remove some, and a conacol??(301) tag in the URL ( if there is a page) and also to check your 404 page so it is tagged correctly, if you do leave the pages (so they do not get new dates) then they will disapear over time.

      I asked the same question on google webmaster forum, there was no clear answer, but I did drop a supple hint that perhaps the 404 results that show in the webmaster tools could have a simple box allowing users to remove the URL.

      if you want to check links (back) then you have a server log?? that will tell you. and also searching link: * url will also show the links.
      webmaster tools also show you the backlinks.

      I recently had a large amount of backlinks show up from dead sites that have long since gone and hadnt shown up for a long time as a 404 or 301.

    • http://www.itchimes.com Web Development Company

      You Can use http://www.backlinkwatch.com/index.php for check your back link.

  • http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk GTWCMT.co.uk

    this could be don to where your blog server is, if its world press with american servers, then that would explain why.
    My sites, apear differently in .co.uk and .com searches.

    maybe you should tag your meta’s correctly (distrib)

  • http://www.kalpde.com kelebek script

    It is widely speculated that social bookmarking websites like Digg and Stumbleupon look at this kind of information as well in determining how fast content rises in their networks. They don’t want you to tell your neighbors and friends to help you rise in the rankings artificially. It might be silly, since you can have friends anywhere in the world, but I guess it does make sense. Truly popular pages would be appreciated all over the world.

  • http://www.yourincomepotential.com Leo Saraceni

    A lot of people talk about country positioning, but what about small business that want to rank for a town, or even a state?
    Make sure you have a directions/find us page on your website, with a local-keyword-filled detailed direction, using local reference points as part of it.

    Also, make sureyour address is listed on the bottom of every page, along with a phone # with the local area code (not an 800).

    I’ve been working with local businesses and this is the best approach.

    Another fundamental step is to have the correct listing of your business on Google local directory.

    Leo S

  • http://hotbizsol.vox.com SEO India

    Sooner or later google might need to consider geo tags. For local SEO, the local phone numbers and address on every page helps a lot.

  • http://www.indiavision.com Alexander Lu

    The site www.indiavision.com is very popular among chinese, how tha comes an Indian site so popular among Chinese?

  • http://mitrovici-seo.blogspot.com mitrovici

    1. Google ignore the geo-meta tag
    2. Bing use the geo-meta tag
    3. Be careful when copy this meta tag from another website

    I hope is useful for you.

  • http://mitrovici-seo.blogspot.com mitrovici

    More information http://mitrovici-seo.blogspot.com/2010/07/google-ignore-geo-meta-tags.html

  • http://www.breindal.net Breindal

    Im currently doing some testing about the weight of GEO tags.

    I think of it like this…

    Maybe it doesnt do me much good, but if i only need like 0.25% to get that higher SE rank, ill do it.

  • http://www.tellsys.com buy seo services

    I am slightly confuesd with Ips.Are you talking about C class IP adess?
    Rails questions

  • http://freewpinstaller.com/ Trenton Syler

    The data you are going to discover on this web site is merely as wonderful, if not greater, when compared with anything at all you’ll discover

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