04 May 2010 09:03am
I see in the best practice guide that it says the following
"For .com companies, a common option is to use sub-directories for each country that use standard ICANN country addresses, e.g. www.company.com/de or www.company.com/german ideally with local language versions. However, better performance will be obtained through use of ccTLDs".
The UK-based company which I work for exports to a number of different English-speaking, foreign countries. Some of its .co.uk pages are very highly ranked in Google.
In order to make maintenance manageable and achievable I would like to use include statements so that when updates are made to content, such as to the Company's News page, only one set of content has to be updated.
If this duplicated content is hosted on servers which are physically located in the foreign country, the ccTLD domain is used for each country, and lang is correctly set in the HTML tag, are there likely to be any duplication penalties which will limit how these foreign pages rank in Google? If so, how can these penalties be avoided whilst making updates easy to perform? Is this possible?
04 May 2010 16:23pm
I hope I have not caused confusion in the above post where I say "lang is correctly set in the HTML tag". Please note that the language used in these English-speaking foreign sites would be English throughout.
10 May 2010 10:42am
I take it that the lack of any response to this post either means that I have asked a question which is not valid or that answering it is not easy.
SEO / Web Developer at Zeland
10 May 2010 14:40pm
This is quite a tricky issue with a lot of things to take into account.
It would not be possible to give a definitive answer without some level of consultation and understanding of your business. Also for some types of search, localisation can be of limited benefit.
Another point is that this is a somewhat controversial/debated issue - my personal thoughts are that "better performance will be obtained through use of ccTLDs" is rather a large understatement.
There are real risks of content duplication having negative effects in search with the set up you describe. Localisation is one of the most involved and complicated facets of SEO, and when localisations are using the same language, this increases complication and risk significantly.
There may be a number of options available to you that allow you to maintain a reasonable presence in search accross a number of localisations without requiring full re-authoring of content, though again this depends on the set up of your site and your business.
10 May 2010 14:59pm
Thank you for taking the trouble to reply.
I was interested to see you say that better performance through use of ccTLDs is rather a large understatement.
10 May 2010 15:09pm
I'd rather not get into a debate about technical specifics, but using the sub-directory or subdomain method usually gives no control over which localisation is returned in search - for example the Australian/Canadian localisation being returned for UK visitors in most searches because it has the most backlinks (or vice versa). I've also seen sites not appearing in results at all when searching with the "Pages from [country]" modifier (when they certainly would do if using ccTLDs).
There are workarounds in Google Webmaster Tools where you can specify that a folder on the site is targeting a specific country, but this may not be 100% effective and by definition only works in Google. It also ignores the idea that UK searchers would rather visit a .co.uk site than a .com site.
Finally, ccTLD localisation gives a chance for your company to appear more than once in search results via the different localised domains, which would not happen otherwise.
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