A couple of weeks ago news spread that Google would be opening-up Geo-Targeting for .CO. For those who don’t know what that means, let me quickly explain.
Geo-Targeting is a feature in Google Webmaster Tools that allows you to specify which country you’d like to target with Google. This option is only available for domains that Google considers to have a neutral TLD – TLDs like .com, .net, .org, etc.
ccTLDs on the other hand cannot be Geo-Targeted in most cases. Suppose you own a .ie domain and you build a site on it. While the site might rank well in Google.ie it’s going to take a LOT more work to rank well in Google US – which is where the real traffic is.
Now that Google has opened-up Geo-Targeting for .CO it evens the playing field and makes .CO a great extension for development…hopefully! The thing is that no real testing has been done, I’ve just started my testing and have already found Bimmer.co getting some search traffic for long-tails like “2012 BMW 1 series coupe” and “2011 bmw 740i.”
The interesting thing here is that I haven’t updated my Geo-Targeting, it’s still giving preference to Google in Colombia, but I’m getting traffic from Google US (albeit just a few searches but I thought it would take weeks or months before I started getting search traffic). This weekend once I’m back in the US I’ll be changing my Geo-Targeting and I’ll be interested to see if my search rankings/traffic changes.
This is only my first .CO development project and I still have several more .CO sites I’ll be doing SEO testing on. Remember, I’m not saying anything about .CO search rankings yet, it’s too early for me to know and I don’t have enough data. Once I have 3-4 sites up then I’ll really be able to dive-in and give some better analysis.
My first long-tail search came-in just two days after I launched the site so I’m hoping this is just a taste of what’s to come. Stay-tuned and remember, stay positive – no reason to think .CO won’t rank well, but until I can prove it – I can’t make any conclusions – like a scientist all I can do is experiment and report my findings 🙂