I am an Australian and I often use Google Australia, which provides the option of searching the global web or pages from Australia only. Most large countries have a similar option on their local Google site.
Running an international online business with the capability to service people from any country means that you want your site to perform well not only in local country specific results but also global results. You may not realise this but doing a standard Google search and leaving the “full web” option selected doesn’t necessarily give you your website’s true location in the Google global results. It gives you the global results given your location, in my case the global results for Australia.
For example, the results of doing a full web search if I am in my home city of Brisbane Australia will be different that a full web search when I am in Toronto Canada. Google gives results based on your location even when you are not stipulating a local result. You can click your local country only result button and get sites that are from your home country, usually determined by the domain name extension, for example .com.au for Australia, .ca for Canada, etc. or the IP address of your web hosting server, or you can click the web option and get global Internet results that vary depending on your computer’s location in the world (based on the IP of the computer you are using to access the Internet).
If your business can service the world then you really can’t ignore the American marketplace, or if you are in the USA don’t forget about Europe, Asia and the rest. In my case Australia is a very small chunk of the world, and the USA market in particular has the potential to give me access to an audience ten times or more the size of Australia. Hence you need to know how well your site is performing in Google global search results and unfortunately simply ticking the “the web” option in Google when searching for Australia is misleading because your ranking will be different if it was someone in the USA doing the same search.
What I want to know is when someone in the USA does a Google search for one of my terms, how high is my website up in the search results? With this little trick you can figure it out.
All you need to do is add &gl=us to the URL at the end of the Google search query.
This tells Google to spit out the results for the query based on US servers.
I can’t guarantee 100% conclusively that this works as I expect it does, but it definitely does something and you should try it yourself and see if your site shows up in a different place in the results. The “gl” stands for Geographic Location and of course you can interchange the last letters to test different country results around the world.
You may be quite surprised and likely disappointed when you see your website is performing in the search results in other countries. Of course if your rankings aren’t so good this equals opportunity as you can imagine if your ranking increased globally then your site is bound to get more traffic. I can vouch for this as the changes made to BetterEdit.com about a month ago, which were designed to tighten up the keyword focus, has really improved BetterEdit’s global position. Google search referred site traffic has almost doubled since then.