Why .CO Geo-Targeting Could Be A BIG Deal

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 πŸ™‚

{ 28 comments… add one }

  • Jason August 6, 2010, 10:35 am

    Will the .co receive traffic from people accidentally looking for the .com? I own the .co of Pier39. Pier39.com receives a good amount of monthly traffic. Would there be any restrictions to developing a site that competes against an existing .com?

    I only purchased 4 .co domains that are all specific – one city, 2 destinations and a 3 character domain. I have a list of 5 .co 3 character domains that haven’t been claimed yet. It took me about 30 minutes to locate them.

    I would like to develop a few .co domains. Any ideas on how I can develop a few domains with limited experience? I may consider attending some website developing courses.
    Cool article.

    Reply
  • Mike August 6, 2010, 10:40 am

    I wouldnt pay a dime for a .co Most people are accustomed to the .com and will type .com even if you tell them that your site is .co I mean, we’re talking about people who dont even know the difference between their, there and they’re and when to use them. Dont count on them remembering to drop that “m”… Dot Com is [still] king.

    Reply
  • zamaan August 6, 2010, 10:46 am

    @jason

    Hai jason,

    try noomle.com

    Reply
  • steve August 6, 2010, 11:42 am

    It is all about typos
    How many people type .co and hit return.
    The super high traffic sites will be the only winners since it will be percentage based. Those will all be auctioned off.

    I suspect .co will die soon

    Reply
  • Duane August 6, 2010, 12:48 pm

    @Jason

    Don’t let others confuse you. Follow your plans on developing and learn some seo tactics. Most people hanging around domaining blog’s are out for the quick buck.

    “Will the .co receive traffic from people accidentally looking for the .com? ”
    Don’t count on it. Take in consideration developing a .co website and reaching good search rank will bring you 90 % more business then if you had the exact name.com parked. Play smart and develop. Don’t listen to the nay sayers. Learn by doing.

    “I would like to develop a few .co domains. Any ideas on how I can develop a few domains with limited experience?”

    Start with something easy like a pure “static website” and use a program which is easy to learn for example ( ” WebsiteX5″ by incomedia) google loves the way this program builds sites because it’s search engine friendly. Last but not least , stay tuned to Morgans blog he is always up for a surprise on developing. Also check out the blog “newfoundnames.com” if your serious about building a real business instead of following all the pure .com flipping dreamers.

    If you follow the route of buy-park and flip domainers, your in business (domaining) for a short time period.

    If investments where all about buy-park and flip? There would not be a Kevin Ham, Frank Schilling, Bill Gates, Waren Buffet or Google!?

    Learn from the pro’s which are building actual businesses like Alan Dunn, George Pickering, Elliot Silver and the Castello Brothers. Longterm investments are always built on stable foundations and not on day trading (Flipping).

    Just my 2 cents

    Reply
  • Al August 6, 2010, 1:43 pm

    Looks like neutral TLDs aren’t so neutral as they seem to be. E.g. looks that Com is targeted to USA in Google by default. Just noticed that one of my .com sites ranking #3 in Google.com is just #52 in Google.co.uk! I haven’t changed anything related to GEO-targeting for it. Though it hosts in USA, that’s probably the factor that matters by default for neutral TLDs. The similar picture for some other sites. It’s interesting however, is there any way to make .Com really Global, and will all other zones rankning improving hurt USA rankning?

    Reply
  • IM Links August 6, 2010, 1:52 pm

    Morgan, dude, I can hardly find your (very good) content in the ads. these days.

    Are you only writing for Google now?

    Reply
    • Morgan August 6, 2010, 2:42 pm

      @IM Links – these ads are all direct advertisers. There is not a single Google Ad on my site. Advertisers reach-out to my directly and I only approve advertisers that I think will be a good fit for my readers.

      Every one of my sponsors represents a company that I use personally and recommend!

      Reply
  • Duane August 6, 2010, 2:27 pm

    @AI

    Insert this code in the Head of your site:

    Should help, no matter in which country your name server is.

    Reply
  • Duane August 6, 2010, 2:28 pm

    Reply
  • Duane August 6, 2010, 2:34 pm

    sorry this blog is blocking the code

    Use a metatag “distribution” with setting content to ” global”.

    Reply
  • Morgan August 6, 2010, 2:57 pm

    Great comments everyone! As always it’s great to see everyone freely expressing their opinions. Remember – there is no right or wrong answer here and I’m really glad that many of my readers aren’t afraid to step up and express their opinions!

    When I first started developing .US sites people told me I could never make any money with .US. Once my first .US site (that I bought for $5) was making over $1,000/month I didn’t care what everyone said – I had created a system that worked.

    With .CO it’s still too early to know but when speculating I like to assume things will work out for the best rather than the worst – but I’m a glass half-full kind of guy!

    Getting ready to hop on a plane to head from Toronto back to LA. Have a great weekend everyone and keep the comments coming – excellent discussion going on here!

    Reply
  • Morgan August 6, 2010, 3:00 pm

    Oh forgot to mention my opinion on typos.

    Anyone buying .CO for typos is not only missing the boat but also getting ready for some pain. The .CO folks are working hard to go-after people squatting on popular .com sites.

    The idea behind .CO is development, not resale, and not typos. If you make your money buying and selling domains or through typos stay as far away from .CO as you can…as a developer though I think this is going to be fun πŸ™‚

    Reply
  • Ed from htmlpress.net August 6, 2010, 3:02 pm

    Thanks Morgan,… it would be interesting to find out indeed what happens in the next few weeks when you geo-target your .co domain.

    Reply
  • Jason August 6, 2010, 3:39 pm

    Duane,

    I appreciate the advice. You have a good plan. Thanks again.

    Reply
    • Morgan August 7, 2010, 9:07 am

      Thanks @Jason!

      Reply
  • Jason August 6, 2010, 5:43 pm

    @Morgan,

    How long did it take for you to earn money with the .us? I have a good .us collection. I would definitely be interested in learning. I don’t mind putting in the work to make a ROI. Thanks.

    Jason

    Reply
    • Morgan August 7, 2010, 9:06 am

      @Jason – the first .US name I developed made $xxx in profit it’s first month. Not all development have been like that – I learned quickly that the number of exact-matches, CPC, and domain category are crucial to generating revenue. I’ll stuck with the credit/debt/law niche and found this to be the most lucrative.

      Thanks for the question and don’t hesitate to shoot me and email if you have any more!

      Reply
  • Jason August 6, 2010, 5:46 pm

    @Zamaan,

    Thanks for the mention. Very cool service. Do you know of any sample websites that were produced with the service. Thanks again.

    Reply
  • Brian Hembree August 7, 2010, 3:31 am

    Great news! Geo-Targeting has been turned on by Google! I went to webmaster tools and it looks like the default is the United States. Morgan that is why you are seeing traffic on bimmer.co

    Reply
    • Morgan August 7, 2010, 9:01 am

      @Brian – default was Colombia when it first launched so for the first week when I logged-into Webmaster Tools it said the target was Colombia. Now that I’m targeting US I’ll be interested to see how the traffic changes.

      Reply
  • Al August 7, 2010, 4:13 am

    @Duane,

    Thanks, I’ll try that tag. Hope, however, this won’t hurt my good US rankings πŸ™‚

    Reply
  • Duane August 7, 2010, 5:20 am

    @ AI
    It won’t hurt it at all. If that does not improve youre ranking in the UK? Then there is another SEO strategy.

    Get Links from the country your targeting. Meaning try to get links from UK Websites residing on UK IP Servers and targeting the UK Market.

    By doing this you make conversation with Google and your helping them to understand which market (s) you are targeting? Then Google will say : ” Hey this website must be relevant for the UK market!”

    Reply
  • Al August 7, 2010, 12:15 pm

    @Duane,

    What I’m speaking about, is that as soon as the site becomes global, it stops being US targeted. That’s why Google could think: “Hey, this website isn’t US targeted anymore, so I’ll give it less ranking here! But I’ll give it better ranking in other countries!” πŸ™‚ E.g. instead of #3 US and #52 UK rankings it could become #10 everywhere. I’m not sure it can work this way, just a theory. But I’m going to try this tag on some site targeting the search data with the even distribution all over the world, that should be beneficial in such a case πŸ™‚

    Reply
  • Al August 7, 2010, 12:16 pm

    @Duane, BTW, thanks for another good idea with the local links!

    Reply
  • SANTIAGO August 8, 2010, 1:44 pm

    i think .CO will do very well in the state of COlorado cause it,s abbreviation is CO !!!!!!
    Will be VERY RECOGNIZABLE to people from COlorado !!!!
    coloradosprings.co, colorado.co, grandmesa.co, denver.co
    Unfortunately none of them are mine

    Reply
  • Jocuri September 17, 2010, 9:52 am

    Geotargeting for .co domains allredy working.

    Reply
    • Morgan September 17, 2010, 11:57 am

      @Jocuri – yes I know, if you read my post after this I actually helped break the news the day it was announced πŸ™‚ Make sure you look at the date of the post when you’re reading it so you can make sure you aren’t reading old news.

      Reply

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