Does setting a geographic target on Google Webmaster Tools kill all traffic outside the US? Answer…

Short answer is “absolutely not” (to my disappointment!).

I have a site that is designed for the US and makes income from affiliate links through a service which is directly targeted to US users.  The main problem I have with international traffic is that it often results in a sale quickly followed by a refund since the service typically would not have value for US users.  The refunds hit by Clickbank quality metrics as an affiliate (and also hurt the vendor’s metrics).

About 1% of my traffic came from Canada and I didn’t really want to lose that since the Canadian traffic is still potentially relevant and doesn’t result in as high a refund rate as other countries.

I started the experiment 1 month ago and the results are as follows:

Canadian traffic has actually increased 10% – which is probably due to indexing effects not the geographic targeting change.

Other international traffic has stayed about the same.  It’s much smaller than US traffic as it was before.

So in conclusion setting a US geographic target has *NOT* removed Canadian traffic nor any other country from the incoming traffic.

So unfortunately I’m still stuck with refunds from non-US traffic.

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