Googleing Down Under
“Googleing” Down Under…
While the American summer has been fast coming to and end I have been Down Under in Australia celebrating my parents 50th wedding anniversary.
I am still pinching myself at the thought of two people sharing 50 years together raising 4 children and now 5 grand children. What an amazing feat (and a great reason to return home to Australia for a celebration and short visit).
So while here I have been home in Melbourne (in between some great Fish and Chips, Meat Pies, Aussie Beer and Australian Football) – I have been spending time serving our clients thru the internet and also my brother’s tennis coaching website which has been eye opening in terms of search engine behavior.
So What is Different?
Interestingly the first thing that surprised me was the routing of domain requests to perceived (or controlled) choices in Australia. First scenario was actually being routed from www.cnn.com to www.edition.cnn.com – which is a World Wide version of CNN. To get the to US based site (cnn.com) – you select the US News which actually ends up being www.edition.cnn.com/US. Wow – this was something I had NO IDEA was happening outside the USA. The reality is that www.cnn.com in the US really should be www.cnn.com.us (United States) – but as we have stated in previous blogs the US seems to have been the default country of the web at least for now…
The Web Is Not As It Seems!
I was really surprised by this as it really opened my eyes to companies that are focused on a global market. BeareWare currently has 2 clients that sell product world wide (thru their retail online shops) and then we have several business that sell and promote services in Australia. The basic premise that I discovered by my CNN results was that global companies design sites that really have geographic bounds and demographics. Of course CNN is a major media – but the fact I cannot go directly to www.cnn.com really got my attention…
Then To My Surprise I couldn’t Get To www.google.com
My next surprise which really relates directly to several BeareWare clients was that when I type www.google.com – I was routed to www.google.com.au – (Google Australia). What is Google Australia – generally the Google Search Engine that operates in Australia – or better stated that search engine that serves web users that live in Australia (and are detected to being in Australia thru their IP address). What is interesting with Google Australia is you have a default choice of “Search Web” or “Pages From Australia”. At this stage (and this statement is subject to change) I believe “Search Web” will give a global (Google.com) result while “Pages from Australia” will list websites that are “hosted” in Australia.
Evidently this appears to be a standard in other countries…
I quickly checked Google Canada and Google United Kingdom and they both offered “Search Web” and “Page from Canada (or UK)” pending which site you are on. The thing that puzzles me is the criteria for “Local Country Page”. As stated above to date I believe the pages list sites hosted within that country – but frankly I don’t get why that would be a relevant criteria for a search (hosting meaning where the physical website is located).
We host my brother Tim’s website – www.bearetennis.com with our host in Chicago yet his target demographic and location is in several suburbs in Melbourne. Of course his site is currently not found “Pages from Australia” which is obviously a concern as one might expect a local Aussie looking for a local tennis pro – would very well pick “Pages from Australia”. Incidentally Tim’s website has a number one page ranking on “Web Search” on his keyword searches.
So how Does Yahoo and MSN Operate in Australia?
In Australia when you type www.yahoo.com – and you will be routed to yahoo.com.au (actually known as yahoo7). It appears that yahoo7 is actually affiliated with a national television station (Channel 7). It appears that this would provide Yahoo with a news provider (and source) as the search engine focus on delivering news as part of its business model. There is a multiple search (Web or Local like Google) but you only get the local pages option after you have made your Web search. A very pleasing fact for my brother Tim’s website is a number two listing position (1st page ranking) in both the Web or the Australian Search only.
And to round out the top three search engines – MSN is the only major search engine that does not route to an Australian domain name. (www.msn.com.au). So of course you get a world wide result on www.msn.com. If you chose to search on www.msn.com.au you also get a world wide result unless you search Australian pages only. Once again my brothers website gets a number two listing position (1st page ranking) – but when you search Australia Pages only (after your initial search) – his site no longer lists. This again leads me to believe Australian pages are actually based on hosting location.
SO Note Well – Selling Online outside of the US requires additional focus
When Targeting a World Wide audience “local pages” of a county should be considered in the website Search Engine Optimization (and SERP) plan. I am currently touching base with some computer guru’s here in Australia to verify that the local pages searches are absolutely based on hosting. Again I really hope that is not the case as websites could be hosted anywhere in the world, in particular with very inexpensive hosts in the United States. It really seems that host should not be relevant search parameter.
I must say I am glad I had this experience while visiting Australia – it really was an eye opener – and really helps build BeareWare’s knowledge in marketing products and services worldwide. Time for some more great Aussie Tucker!
Peter Beare – Webmaster
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Peter Beare is CEO of BeareWare, a Website Design & Development Company located just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. Since building his first website for a local sports club in 1998 Peter has been a webmaster. Over the last 10 years Peter’s duties with BeareWare have included website planning, design and development, website marketing and sales, as well as database application programming & project management. But when all is said and done, Peter is still a webmaster and this is “Interview with a Webmaster“.