Surveys have proved that people explicitly look for and use local and localized websites—properly localized sites definitely have advantages with users. And search engines would definitely try to show results that people like. So if you are thinking of launching your business in multiple countries, it is advisable to use ccTLDs rather than creating subdoamains or region specific folders in your site. Instead of going for de.examlpe.com, uk.example.com, in.example.com (subdomains)or example.com/de, example.com/uk, example.com/de (folders in your site) go for example.de, example.uk, example.in
Here are some of the possible URL structures with advantages and disadvantages with regards to geotargeting:
Source: Google Webmaster Blog Post
|ccTLDs like example .de, example.fr||Subdomains with gTLDsDe.example.com, fr.example.com||Subdirectories or folders like example.com./de, example.fr||URL parameters
eg: site.com?loc=de, ?country=france, etc
-Host it anywhere,-server location does not matter
-Geo targeting can be well defined
-use Webmaster Tools geotargeting
-different server locations possible
-easy separation of sites-no need to buy another domain
-use Webmaster Tools geotargeting
- low maintenance (same host)-no need to buy another domain
- more infrastructure
- ccTLD requirements (sometimes)- legal requirements (sometimes)
|Disadvantageusers might not recognize geotargeting from the URL alone (is “de” the language or country?)||Disadvantage- users might not recognize geotargeting from the URL alone
- single server location
- separation of sites harder
|Disadvantagesegmentation based on the URL is difficult
- users might not recognize geotargeting from the URL alone
- geotargeting in Webmaster Tools is not possible
In this post, we’ll take a look at what is involved with multi-regional and multi-lingual websites from a search engine point of view. Let’s understand the meaning of these two terms multi regional and multi-lingual first. A website targeted towards multiple countries is multi regional whereas if some of these are also in different languages it is Multilanguage website too.
Now let’s start with some of the general preparations that are important for launching your ccTLD site.
Ensure Correct Coding
Any error with the base website code will multiply in you multi regional websites. Hence before replicating the code resolve all known issues and bugs with the base website.
Make sure you are through with the legal formalities for the region. These requirements may determine how you proceed, for instance whether or not you would be eligible to use a country-specific domain name.
The very reason for you going for ccTLDs must be addressed properly. Content in local language, ability to offer your products in local currency, local address and phone numbers are some of the critical factors for localizing your website.
Though server location can be a factor for ranking in search engines result pages but this signal tends to be quite weak because of the stronger signal that is inclusion of country specific domain name in your URL. Hence it makes no sense to host your website in local region. This means example.de should not necessarily be hosted in Germany to gain SEO benefits. It is fine even if you host it in U.S.A. Use your webmaster tool and choose Germany in your target country for .de domain and this will be enough for Search Engine to understand where to show results.
It’s okay to have same content on your multi regional website there is no penalty attached to it. But it is good if you can come up with localized content for each ccTLDs. This is not only good for Search Engines but also good for users visiting on the site. Each country has its own style of writing and uses of language.