Guardian Unlimited is to begin publishing a quarterly geographic breakdown of its website users that, it says, will reinforce its global brand and help provide more targeted services for its advertisers.

The Guardian claims to be the first UK newspaper site to release this type of detailed information.

User figures for January 2004 show that the majority of readers - around 39 per cent - are based in the US. The site saw a significant increase in US traffic after the terrorist attacks on September 11 and during the invasion of Iraq.

UK users spend much more time on the site, however, accounting for 49 per cent of page impressions. US readers account for just 22 per cent of page impressions.

Despite the high proportion of US readers, the Guardian is unlikely to attempt to lure advertisers from existing US news sites.

"Although we're the biggest UK newspaper site, we're reasonably small on the US landscape," said Simon Waldman, director of digital publishing at the Guardian.

"I don't think the New York Times will be quaking in its boots."

News content on the Guardian site will not be adapted for the international audience, said Mr Waldman.

"We've got something that works - quality, independent journalism and the imagination and flair to tackle important stories," he said.

"It doesn't make sense to slice and dice that product according to the audience."

Website of UK national newspaper the Guardian, Guardian Unlimited has a network of 16 sites. ABC audited figures for January 2004 showed a readership of around 7.5 million.

The first geographic breakdown of the site's traffic will be released next month.

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