Kazakhstan Law Makes Google Put On Redirect List With China

kazakhstan-flagGoogle has decided to redirect their Google.kz domain to their global homepage Google.com, in response to a Kazakhstan law enacted last month requiring all .kz domain websites to be hosted on servers within their country.

Google has announced that it will no longer serve customized search results to Kazakhstan, instead redirecting them to global results. The company won't relocate, as it raises too many questions about network efficiency, user privacy, and freedom of expression - and would create a "fractured internet," according to Google.

What does this mean to Kazakhstan web site owners? Well, as opposed to the location influenced search results potential visitors were seeing prior to the redirect, their websites now compete with the world. Companies that were making a living from their good positions in Google.kz results now face a hard slog. Though Google could use IP information to filter results in the global listings, it isn't likely.

Brick and mortar sites may now still list well in location-based searches, but where they may have ranked high for various items searched for in their native tongues, these listings will compete with neighboring countries who share them. Even if there was a domain extension element in the algorithm, quality link numbers has a more direct impact and will thus bring in serious competition. Russian seems to be spoken by nearly all Kazakhstanis so there will be competition.

Search marketers in Kazakhstan must be scrambling to help their local clients. There will be an impact to local businesses and how it shakes out will be worth watching from a perspective of the influence of the web on a country's economy. Kazakhstan has a strong economy at the moment. The question is if it will stay that way.

About the author

Frank Watson has been involved with the Web since it started. For the past five years, he headed SEM for FXCM -- at one time one of the top 25 spenders with AdWords. He has worked with most of the major analytics companies and pioneered the ability to tie online marketing with offline conversion.

He has now started his own marketing agency, Kangamurra Media. This new venture will keep him busy when he is not editing the Search Engine Watch forums, blogging at a number of authoritative sites, and developing some interesting online community sites.

He was one of the first 100 AdWords Professionals, a Yahoo and Overture Ambassador, and a member or mod of many of the industry forums. He is also on the Click Quality Council and has worked hard to diminish click fraud.