Google Search Console’s international target options could negatively impact your search ranking if you’re aiming to target a broad audience.
The Google Search Console’s global targeting feature, also referred to in the term “geotargeting,” can hurt the rankings of your site when you’re trying to connect with a wider public.
The subject is addressed an Google Search Central SEO office hours call-in which was recorded on December 31.
The SEO Aleem Bwany joins the livestream to inquire Google Search Advocate John Mueller why a smaller sister site is outranking the main site.
Bawany states that the main site is a source of news to a broad audience, which can be republished by its sister website.
While the main site is the primary source of news however, it’s the smaller website that has better ranking.
After looking over the website, Mueller says this could be due to the settings for international targeting on Search Console.
Find Mueller’s full reply in the following section.
How Geotargeting Can Negatively Impact Rankings
Mueller personally inspected the site and was able to rule out any issues that could keep the site back from achieving search results, including manually penalized links or spammy ones.
What he did observe is that the international targeting settings within Search Console are set up to target Pakistan.
This is fine if the main purpose is to get a spot in Pakistan but it can affect rankings in other nations.
The only thing I noticed was that you’ve got geotargeting set to be enabled in Search Console for Pakistan. I’m not sure if that’s intentionally done, but it’s what you’re trying achieve. If you’re trying to create an English-language news site for all people and you want to make it a general news website, then it might make sense to disable the geotargeting. It could be a thing that could help you.
If you’re looking to reach an international audience on your site, Mueller says you should “definitely” turn off international targeting on Search Console.
When it comes to searching and navigation, if you intend to focus on countries other that Pakistan as an English-language news site I would disable that. This is because it can create an impact in the sense that it is focusing exclusively on Pakistan and then it reduces its focus on other countries.
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Bawany then asks Mueller what time it will take for the changes to reflect in the search results of Google.
Mueller claims it could take anything between a week and two months.
The site that is which is being investigated publishes news-related content, this change will show in the search results quicker than other websites.
My hypothesis is that it could vary between a couple of days up to perhaps one couple of months. That’s the length of time that it will take for something like the geotargeting settings to alter.
In the case of a news site I’m assuming it’ll be a little faster than the norm, due to the fact that on a news site we’ll be focusing on the more recent content, and with the latest content, we’d notice the setting extremely quickly.
This is probably than shorter for news sites, but I’m not familiar with all the systems affected by geotargeting settings.