There are two ways of conducting a web search on Google.ca. You have a choice between searching "the web" or searching "pages from Canada". The options are located directly under the search bar. You will notice an immediate difference in the search results between searching the web and searching pages from Canada. But what determines this difference and why could this matter to you?
The goal of a search engine like Google is to locate the most relevant results based on a keyword inquiry. Every search engine uses its own unique algorithm which comprises of equations and calculations designed to determine the best results for the query. Different factors are taken into consideration when determining a website's relevancy within Country filtered search results. Results that are local and in proximity to the searcher can certainly be relevant. In order for your website to be displayed within "pages from Canada", particularly within the natural or organic search results, consider some of the following deciding factors.
- dot-ca domain name extension (learn more about dot-com vs. dot-ca)
- Canadian address within the domain's WHOIS information
- location of the website’s server
- IP address location
- address displayed on the website
- links from other Canadian websites
- setting the targeted region to Canada within a Google Webmaster Tools account
It's not necessary to have every component in place in order to get listed. Having a dot-ca Canadian domain extension as well as a Canadian location of the web server's IP seems to be most impactful. Also, don't make the assumption that since your website hosting company has a Canadian address their servers are located in Canada, they may not be.
If your website isn't geared to country targeted search results you may be missing out on prospective clients. The best way to find out is to conduct a test. Enter into a Google.ca search some of the keyphrases that your ideal visitor would use and compare the findings between the two search result options. Does your website listing show up? In what position or on what page is it located?
If the target market of your business is mainly Canadian, you may choose to have your website listed solely within the "pages from Canada" results, or you may realize that your website does not show up at all on the Canadian search results. Perhaps your goal is to have your website listed within both search results.
To have your website listed within the Canadian filtered search results, implement some of the factors outlined above. If you want your site listed in both Google.ca and Google.com, the traditional US based search engine, depending on your current setup, things can get more complicated. Talk to a professional Internet marketing company first. Primary factors like the domain's extension and the location of the website host can seriously effect the operation of your website. The wrong changes can be detrimental to your website positioning, and to your business, if you rely on the search engines to bring in most of your visitors, leads, and sales. Duplicating your website in hopes that it will show up both in Google.com and Google.ca is highly discouraged by the experts. Google will find the duplicates and remove the site they determine to be least relevant, leaving you with no choice of where your website is displayed. This kind of experimentation is not worth the risk to your positioning or your business if it's dependant on your website.
Having different websites for each country you target; each with an appropriate address, domain extension, and relevant content for the respective country is an option if your product or service differs significantly between countries. However, it's not necessary to go to these lengths just to have a website listed within various search results.
Talk to an Internet marketing provider. An SEO expert will analyze the current placement of your website and map out any necessary changes in as much of a controlled environment as possible. Continual review and evaluation will ensure that your website is found with ease within the right listing by searchers who could benefit from your product or service.