Setting Google Geographic Target To "Unlisted"

Sep 1, 2010 • 8:06 am | comments (7) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Other Google Topics

Honestly, this is one topic I really don't know too much about. Google lets your Geographic target for your web site in Google Webmaster Tools. But what if you have a ccTLD, a country specific top level domain such as .fr (France), and you want to not target a specific country?

The Google help document on this topic says:

You can only use this feature for sites with a generic top-level domain, such as .com or .org. Sites with country-coded top-level domains (such as .ie) are already associated with a geographic region, in this case Ireland.

I checked one site I have in my Webmaster Tools account, the only site with a ccTLD and it didn't let me specify a different country. So I assume only certain ccTLDs or TLDs can set "unlisted" as an option to target all countries? Or am I missing something?

Google said, "If you want to ensure that your site is not associated with any country or region, select Unlisted."

It does appear that only certain ccTLDs let you change the geographic target, like a .co TLD. And you can change it to unlisted in order to not set a geographic target.

There are a couple threads asking how long does it take once you set the "unlisted" marker. The threads are at WebmasterWorld and Google Webmaster Help.

The WebmasterWorld thread has Tedster saying:

I've only heard one practical report about this and the recovery took many months for them, but they say it did happen eventually.

I am not sure if anyone else has experience here, but I'd love to know how quickly Google picks up the geographic target change, specifically for using "unlisted" as an option.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld and Google Webmaster Help.

Update: Google's JohnMu did point out a solid distinction between setting unlisted or not:

There's actually a subtle difference between not activating Webmaster Tools owner-specified geotargeting and selecting "Unlisted". Not selecting to do geotargeting through Webmaster Tools results in Google doing geotargeting automatically (generally based on the server location), activating geotargeting and selecting "Unlisted" in Webmaster Tools results in Google not doing geotargeting.

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09/01/2010 12:57 pm

Hi I actually just published a sort of related blog post yesterday

Mark Miner

12/31/2010 04:44 pm

Depends on how active your site is.

iphone or android

04/12/2011 10:31 pm

Hey this is really a good article. I've been wondering myself about this geotargeting thingy. Not much info around. Anyways, I too saw a drastic change in traffic volumes after changing from US to unlisted. However, the bounce rate is getting higher as from what showed in my Google Analytics, it seems that now the traffic seems to be coming from non-english speaking countries. So I guess if you want quality traffic, you really have to specify your country of preference rather than unlisted.


07/16/2011 07:11 pm

Nicely Said.. Unlisted mean its clear that your site is not set for any geographical location. So it shows that Google first give preference to site which are particular to that reason and then it will down the rank site with Unlisted option set will come in the result.


08/28/2011 03:10 pm

I have a site doing fairly well, with the default settings. But, I am wondering if I should change to unlisted, how long will it take to pick-up unlisted traffic. Also, if my traffic will decrease during the process?

Vern L

09/01/2011 06:56 am

I changed my "" site from USA focus to Thailand and saw different results in the Google SERPS instantly. Maybe because they figured with a name like that - the site SHOULD be focused on TH - yes? Not sure, just reporting what I experienced.


05/05/2014 01:05 am

I have changed to unlisted, and will let you know what happened..

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