Thursday, May 1, 2014

Google SERP Ranking on ccTLDs–iMacro script

I recently abandoned a domain name, having moved a blog to another domain name. That name was quickly acquired by a spammer and, concerned that he scores higher in searches in certain countries, I decided to write a script to check.

Check-Google-Ranking iMacro Opus ScriptThe script does the following:

  • prompt for search
  • read each SS line
  • assign ccTLD to variable
  • concatenate in search line{{!COL1}}/#q=[blog+name] 
  • search, then wait
  • complete SS with rank
  • notepad++ Convert UTF-8

The password for the script is Old.DomISnew.dom

To get the domains I copied the ccTLDs from Wikipedia to a Google Spreadsheet, which also contains the results. I did this following a perjuried DMCA takedown and it turns out that searching for the name of the blog returns the actual blog first with the spam blog second, except a few domains where the YouTube topic is first. As it is to be expected, Google maintains a localized version only for a handful of ccTLDs, many forwarding to the .com while others being considered more generic than country-targeted: .ad, .as, .bz, .cc, .cd, .co, .dj, .fm, .io, .la, .me, .ms, .nu, .sc, .sr, .su, .tv, .tk, .ws. Matt Cutts has this to say on ccTLDs for sites not geographically targeted:

"There are a few ccTLDs that are sort of generic," Cutts said. "Because for stands for something related to the Indian Ocean but there were very few domains that were actually relevant to that and a lot of startups were using that and it was something that was really much more applicable to the entire world.

"And so we do periodically review that list and if we see something that’s primarily used worldwide and is not really all that specific to that country that we might go ahead and say okay this is a generic ccTLD so go ahead and even if you have a .io domain, don’t target it just a the Indian Ocean, anyone worldwide could potentially see that in their search results or are more likely to."

He does caution webmasters that they shouldn’t assume that all ccTLDs will be considered generic or will be considered generic in the future. So be careful about the ccTLDs that you might want to misappropriate for your own use.

"But I wouldn't get too far ahead of it, because if you jump on to a certain, for example, there's .KY, and if you say, oh, I'm going to make that all about Kentucky, well, that might work for you, but it might not work for you. And so it's the sort of thing where if you assume that you are going to be able to take things away from the Cayman Islands and turn it into Kentucky, well, if the Cayman Islands is already using .KY, then I wouldn't assume that you'll be able to necessarily apply it in this general or generic sort of way."

It should be noted that it is possible to get such a ranking via other means, such as MyWebRanking, but that’s a less transparent method and it’s usually limited to only a few localized Google ccTLDs. It is also possible to code this differently (e.g., using curl or PHP or Python) but for my purposes, the script above was easiest to make and most fun.

As a recap, as soon as the first article was posted on the new blog, Google reacted by removing the PageRank of the new domain (it no longer resolved for a couple of days after), but leaving the old one intact. In some localized versions of the search engine the old domain name outranked in SERP.

The spammer credits Wordpress for their blog, but nonetheless uses the Blogger / Blogspot favicon. However, uses my blog’s name, which is the same as the domain, uses the word “also” in the first line of text, which is the same as the first word in the title and domain name, and has the advantage of a .com domain name, vs my .ca new domain. It also benefits from an older domain name. For my new domain, a .ca helps me rank in Canada but it limits my ability to rang globally. For more such considerations see backlinko-ranking-factors below.

Finally, if you wonder why did I not use Google Webmaster Tools to let Google know that I changed the domain, the answer is a could not. It’s not possible when both the source and the target are the same blog, with a mere change of domain.

Sources / More info: ccTLDs-table, ccTLDs-list, google-geotargetable, backlinko-ranking-factors, sew-cutts-cctlds, iMacro, ga-sep, sew-10tips, wiki-PR

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