Google explains how to target a specific country

Google’s John Mueller was asked about the correct way to target a specific country with a website. The person who asked the question asked if a country-specific and location-specific country code top-level domain of the hosting was important.

Geographic targeting

Geo targeting is a reference to the practice of targeting a website (or section of a website) to a specific country.

Geographic targeting has advantages. Many people trust and feel comfortable with a country specific website, especially a country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) specific to their country.


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Geographic targeting also allows a marketer to segment their audience by country.

Google’s John Mueller shares two ways to geolocate a country

Google’s John Mueller shares two ways to target a specific country for ranking purposes

Country code top level domain (cc-TLD)

A country code top-level domain, commonly known as a ccTLD, is a country-specific domain name.


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It is different from the more common generic top-level domains (gTLDs), domains that consist of .com, .net, and .org, and others, which can be used in any country.

A ccTLD is a country specific domain and indicates to users in that country that the website is country specific.

Is a ccTLD required to be classified in a specific country?

The person asking the question wanted to rank a site in a specific country.

He used Germany as a country example in his question.

Here is the question:

“… Regarding web hosting and domain registration.

Suppose I want to launch a site in Germany… Do I need to get a dot DE domain registered in Germany and a website hosted in Germany for SEO? “

Google’s John Mueller didn’t hesitate or stop to think before answering. His answer was unambiguous.

He said there were two ways to geographically target a specific country.

John Mueller replied:

“No, it is not mandatory.

In general, if you want to use geo-targeting there, there are two ways to do it.

The first is to use the country level top level domain, which would say DE for Germany in this case.

The other is to use a generic top-level domain and use a geo-targeting setting in Search Console.

This could be, for example, a dot Com website or a Net point or an Info point or an EU point or the like.

Any of these would work as well and you would just need to set geo targeting for Germany. “


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Is hosting in a country mandatory for ranking in that country?

John Mueller then discussed the accommodation requirements, noting that accommodation in the target country was a requirement in the past, but it is no longer necessary.


“The accommodation location is also not necessary.

It’s something that way in the early days before we had the setting in Search Console, we used the hosting location to guess which country the website might be targeting.

But these days… I don’t think it’s used at all.

And with a content delivery network, if you have some sort of fancy international website, the hosting location doesn’t matter anyway, because you always have a local presence automatically. “


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Google Search Console offers an easy way to help publishers target countries.

According to Google international targeting developer page:

International targeting report
Use the international targeting report to monitor your hreflang errors or to choose a country that should be prioritized for your search results.

This report includes the following sections:

  • The Language section: monitor the usage and errors of hreflang tags on your site.
  • The Country section: Set a site-wide target country for your entire site, if desired. “

The Google Search Console International Targeting Report makes it easy to target a specific country for ranking in Google.


Management of multiregional and multilingual sites


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Google Search Console International Targeting Report

Watch Mueller answer the question at minute 1:08

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