Google International PPC Ad Targeting Twist

After some testing and a confirmation from Google, I've discovered a new (to me, anyway) twist to Google's PPC Ad targeting for international sites.

In SEO, Googe decides on the country your site is relevant for first by ccTLD (Country Code Top Level Domain - like .ca, .uk, .mx, and so on) and then by IP and other methods.

Turns out this thinking also applies to PPC.

If you target a specific country, like in my case, Mexico, Google will only show ads to surfers within Mexico, right?

Wrong. They show ads to surfers in Mexico, yes. But they also show ads on Mexican tagged sites, such as sites with a Mexican IP address or sites that use the ccTLD of .mx, even if they are hosted in the US, etc.

It makes sense if you think about it. Of course, you may be thinking that this would only apply if you have chosen to advertise on the content network. You'd be wrong.

See, even if you don't advertise on the content network, there is a site that is a .mx and is not on the content network -

That's right. Even if you target only Mexico, your ads can show up to anyone anywhere in the world who happens to use Anyone who needs to look at or verify geo-targeted ads knows it's sometimes hit-and-miss, but they do show up.

I first really put it all together when I was looking at traffic patterns for my Mexican campaign and noticed a bunch of traffic from the US and even India. This is normal, and is not necessarily an issue, as long as you are aware of it.

But let's say you really don't like it. There is a fix.

Instead of targeting Mexico (or wherever) you simply target physical locations within Mexico, such as cities, and lat/long areas. This forces a geolocation check and gets rid of your Japanese traffic.

Just remember that the traffic from Japan may be traveling Mexican business-people, since they would have to be using, and you are now excluding them.

But if that's what you need to do, then that's how you do it.