Targeting A Wide Audience? Do Not Use Search Console’s Geo-targeting

Having issues ranking internationally, for a wider audience? Setting geo-targeting in Search Console can be a culprit!
Marie Aquino
January 4, 2022

In the Google SEO Office Hours December 31 episode, someone asked why a sister site of the main site is ranking better than the main site.

The main site publishes news content for a general audience and the sister site just republishes the content. Despite being the main source of the news, the smaller site seems to be more favored by Google and is getting higher rankings.

After looking through the site and ruling out issues such as manual penalties and spammy links, John Mueller has determined the main culprit as the use of international targeting (geo-targeting) settings in Search Console. It seems like the site has it set up for Pakistan.

John states that this is fine if the primary goal is to rank in Pakistan. However, this could impact rankings in other countries.

If you want to make a general English-speaking website, it makes sense to turn off geo-targeting. It can have an effect where it really focuses on the area that has been set, and less on other countries.

Targeting a general audience and seem to be having some issues? Time to check out Search Console and make sure that you have geo-targeting turned off!

Check out the Google SEO Office Hours episode here:

The question is at 26:50.