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Old 05-25-2006   #1
ngdoherty
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One Site - Multiple TLD Domains

Hi,

Ive been reading through some of the multi-lingual and non-us threads - and while I've got some answers I still haven't been able to get a definitive answer on the following:

I have one site - two domains - a .com and a .co.uk. So same site, duplicate content issue. Now the thread below

http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/...ead.php?t=7970

shows a snippet from Matt Cutts which says we shouldn't be worried about getting penalised in this instance - SEs are smart enough.

However what determines which domain is displayed in the SE results pages and what if I want to change this?

My assumption is the domain which has the most links etc .. will be shown - even for a "local search". My reasoning being that the second domain will be automatically excluded due to duplicate content. Anyone got experience of this?

So now I want my local site to show up instead of the .com - what do I do?

I can change to local hosting, make the .co.uk the main domain and start a new link startegy for the .co.uk - but will my rankings for the current domain and site disappear?

Should the .com be parked (a form of DNS aliasing) or does it require a 301 redirect - and if so why??

Is there any possibility of maintaining both sites in the search results - or will SE's always drop one site due to duplicate content.

Anyway lots of questions - hopefully someone can shed light!

Thanks,

Neil
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Old 05-26-2006   #2
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That depends what you mean by a "local search".

Those people who click "search results only in UK" (or whatever it says) would get only the .co.uk site hosted in the UK.

Those who search for "gizmos UK" would get only the .co.uk site (because you would not optimize the other site for "UK" terms.

Those people who search regularly (not a "local search") from within the UK, would get the .com version with the greater number of links (unless there are spelling differences, such as optimization and optimisation). For them you would need a "click here for UK ordering"...or you would need a script that detects their computer's location and automatically redirects them to the UK site.
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Old 05-26-2006   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ngdoherty
I have one site - two domains - a .com and a .co.uk. So same site, duplicate content issue. Now the thread below

http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/...ead.php?t=7970

shows a snippet from Matt Cutts which says we shouldn't be worried about getting penalised in this instance - SEs are smart enough.

However what determines which domain is displayed in the SE results pages and what if I want to change this?

My assumption is the domain which has the most links etc .. will be shown - even for a "local search". My reasoning being that the second domain will be automatically excluded due to duplicate content. Anyone got experience of this?
Neil - I'm the guy who cited Matt Cutts in the thread you mention.

You're conflating several issues here, which makes this hard to explain. Let me go through it slowly, and if I run out of steam I may just do it in chunks. Also, note that I've not confirmed all of this... some is theory based on both experience and research.

Your assumption that the domain with the most links survives is more or less correct, but local results, as amabaie points out, provide an extra twist...

First, read this post with my thoughts about mirror sites....

Multiple domains
http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/...3640#post73640

Here'the part about how dupes behave...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert_Charlton
Sites like these that display the same content under multiple urls are called "mirror sites." It's a bad situation for a lot of reasons.

The engines will see the current setup as duplicate content. The different engines have different ways of dealing with it. On Google, generally the site with the highest PageRank remains in the serps and the others are dropped out. Unfortunately, you don't always have control over which one they keep. A high PR inbound to one of the mirrors can nuke your main site.

Even if all the sites stayed in, you're not really gaining anything. At best, you're splitting your inbound link vote. Generally, enough link confusion is created that it can take a bunch of work to clean up.
This, though, refers to dupes that aren't localized.

Here's another thread, which talks about promoting within a localized market...

SEO for other markets
http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/...ad.php?t=11225

And I suggest...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert_Charlton
...country-specific TLDs and local hosting. After that, language and inbound links from local sites are a big help.
Now, what concerned me when I spoke to Matt was the language duplication issue between the US and the UK, and here's my account of how I would handle that... with disclaimers about who said and thought what...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert_Charlton
I've been wrestling with the question of dupe content on English language versions of international sites... in particular on US/.com and UK/.co.uk. Putting together the various answers to questions about this that I got at SES, including some from Matt Cutts, I got the sense that Google is smart enough to make this distinction if you segregate your inbound links by country/TLD. (I'm not quoting Matt... only interpreting what I thought he was saying with regard to my own theories)
Where your question conflates some things is where you consider your two options...
- redirecting the old .com links to the .co.uk site, or
- keeping both.

If you keep both, which is what I recommend, you'd need to sort out the hosting and the linking, as described above. I suspect the way you're displaying both domains on one hosting account now is not correct.

You'd have to properly host the two sites separately, on local hosts, and keep all the link sources separate. If you did this, I think they'd both stay in their local indexes. You could probably cautiously cross link the sites, say from the home pages. These would be two separate sites, though, on different local servers... one perhaps with British spelling and some UK appropriate content, and one for the US. If you start getting sloppy and linking to both sites from the same directories or friendly sites, I would think that one of the sites would disappear.

The other option is to redirect the .com to the .co.uk. I don't want to get into why you should use a 301, but that's the way it needs to be done if you do it. I'm sure someone else will jump in, or you can read up on permanent redirects. You'll need to understand that when you've done a permanent redirect from the .com, the .com effectively ceases to exist. The redirect is done on the server before the .com site is ever served up, so there is no ".com site" any more.

Here's my quick overview from the multiple domains thread....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert_Charlton
You should redirect the second url with a permanent 301 redirect to the first. With multiple domains, there are ways of doing this with DNS for all of the domains to your main IP# and mod_rewrite rewriting the various domains to the main one, so you only have to maintain one hosting account.

After you do the redirects, you should go to all the other sites linking to you and get the links changed. You may lose some position for a while, but longterm it's what you have to do....
Hope this helps sort things out a bit.

Last edited by Robert_Charlton : 05-26-2006 at 03:24 AM.
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Old 05-28-2006   #4
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A quick PS to the above...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert_Charlton
...country-specific TLDs and local hosting. After that, language and inbound links from local sites are a big help.
This afternoon, I heard the second part of Mike Grehan's interview with Matt Cutts, in which Matt made some comments about foreign sites...

Google's Matt Cutts: The Big Interview
http://www.clickz.com/experts/search...le.php/3605961

At the end of the interview, responding to a question about how to show up in country-specific search, Matt suggested that best practice is to have a country-specific TLD. He did indicate that a .com hosted in France would show up in French Google, whereas a .com hosted outside of France would not. He said that a .fr would be the safest way.

The Mike Grehan interview didn't go into the question of dupe English language content... which is what my conversation with Matt was about. Conceivably, though, it's not necessary to also segregate links and hosting by country... That's an extra measure of safety that I would apply to the situation, and it was the condition I posited when I asked my questions.
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Old 06-16-2006   #5
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Hi Robert,

Thanks for the comprehensive reply. I will sift through the links in more detail later - but my initial response is that if I segregate the .com and .co.uk sites - to "local" hosting, and work on country specific IBLs - wouldn't Google still see the sites as having duplicate content and penalise?

I could do some minor text changes - but I'd rather not have to maintain two sites. What I had hoped was that using a country TLD would enable the site to be found in "local" searches (as either TLD or hosting is used), even though it (main .com site) was hosted is the US.

The 301 is not an option if it means "losing" one of the domains.

Regards,

Neil
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Old 06-16-2006   #6
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Do you get penalized if your non-www version of your website is not 301 redirected to the www version? No.

The worst that can happen is that you lose some PR for a while, since it's split between the two.

Here is what you can do. *Park* the .co.uk on the .com, so both come up without a redirect. Get at least one link to each (preferably lots, of course).

Once the pages have been spidered, your 2 domains will be merged. You will then have the benefits of your ccTLD and the ease of your .com.

It's not either/or.

Want proof? Go to www.mcanerin.ca - you'll see my website. Now check the Google Cache. You'll see that the cache is for www.mcanerin.com. Yet the PR and backlinks are all merged, and I have no problems.

I show up as local for Canadian sites, as well. This is because although Google displays the .com version, it knows that it's ALSO a .ca, so I get credit for both.

I wrote an article about this effect here:

http://www.mcanerin.com/EN/articles/...eolocation.asp

Ian
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Old 06-17-2006   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcanerin
Do you get penalized if your non-www version of your website is not 301 redirected to the www version? No.

The worst that can happen is that you lose some PR for a while, since it's split between the two.
Ian - I think the above perhaps dismisses the possible effects of dupe filtering too easily, but the rest is an audacious and brilliant approach. Your article is a must read.

The problem with dupe content in general, I feel, is that you can't control which version the engines will display, so you can end up splitting inbound links (as well as PageRank) in ways you also can't control, and it often ends up being a messy spiral of confusion that's hard to clean up.

Using the 302 in conjunction with localized inbounds to "separate" the domains is an approach I hadn't considered.

I was thinking that having both domains addressing the same IP address, and then depending on localized inbounds to keep them separate, though, was simply too risky.

I'm not completely convinced that your 302 approach is without risk.... In particular, what might happen with link "contamination" of .com inbounds to the .ca domain? It seems to me that separate locally hosted IPs might be more immune to this problem... but I've got to confess that this is a gut reaction and that old thinking patterns are in play here. You've clearly given your approach a lot more thought than I have, and this is definitely one I have to think about for a while.
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Old 06-17-2006   #8
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Fantastic work Ian, thanks for posting the article!
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Old 06-17-2006   #9
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Honestly, in practice I just use a park, rather than a 302. It's a bit slower, but I've never had a problem.

For URL display purposes, the search engine displays the URL that has the most link popularity, so you just control your display URL by controlling your linking methods.

I have used this to avoid the sandbox effect, as well, simply by merging the old and new domain (which gets me ranked), then controlling the URL version shown (which shows the new domain).

Redirects and DNS are fun technologies...

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Last edited by mcanerin : 06-17-2006 at 06:41 PM.
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Old 06-17-2006   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcanerin
For URL display purposes, the search engine displays the URL that has the most link popularity, so you just control your display URL by controlling your linking methods.
Is this for Google general, or for Google-in-country? Ie, in Canada, if the linking got sloppy, might you see only the .com when you're looking at local results on Google.ca... and in the US, might you see only the .ca? If I correctly understand what you're saying, this was my concern, and it would be my main argument against this.

As I gathered from Matt C, if you locally hosted separate sites with country-specific TLDs and country-specific inbounds, you should not have this problem... but we did not go into the question of what would happen on this separate-site arrangement if the .co.uk site got a bunch of .com inbounds.

As I've been seeing from some anomalies on Big Daddy in the past week, Google's treatment of dupes apparently depends not only on the query, but also on how the inbound link text to the page relates to the query. What this seems to mean is that on pages where Google is having trouble deciding on the original...

- a page can have dupe problems for an exact search on a string of untargeted words (on which it would have no inbound anchor text)... but the original can still rank for moderately competitive phrases on which it has better inbound link text than a dupe competitor.

- The original might still drop out for more competitive phrases yet, though, on which it used to rank before the duping problem, because there's apparently a reduction in other quality factors because of the duping.

If you throw into this mix the localization factors of anchor text from different country-specific TLDs, you might have quite a confusing situation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcanerin
I have used this to avoid the sandbox effect, as well, simply by merging the old and new domain (which gets me ranked), then controlling the URL version shown (which shows the new domain).
I've seen several posts about using 302s to avoid the sandbox and have got to confess that I thought they were crazy. This is the clearest explanation I've seen of the logic behind it.
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Old 06-17-2006   #11
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Quote:
As I gathered from Matt C, if you locally hosted separate sites with country-specific TLDs and country-specific inbounds, you should not have this problem
That's true - and best practice, IMO. Especially for multiple country targetting. But it's not always possible or practical.

Quote:
Is this for Google general, or for Google-in-country? Ie, in Canada, if the linking got sloppy, might you see only the .com when you're looking at local results on Google.ca... and in the US, might you see only the .ca? If I correctly understand what you're saying, this was my concern, and it would be my main argument against this.
It's how all the majors decide for everywhere. They assume that the one in common usage is the most preferred one. After all, a website can have dozens of domains parked on it. For example, sometimes you will see sites that Google displays with the www, and without. How do they decide which to show? They use links.

And yes, if you are sloppy, weird things can happen (like with pretty much everything).

For example, I've seen cases where the displayed URL for many pages in a site was domain.com (instead of the preferred www.domain.comand they could not figure out why. When they checked, all the incoming links seemed to be using the www version.

However, when I looked closer, it turns out that their CMS had the non-www version hard-coded for all the internal links. For everything but the homepage, that was enough to change the display URL.

So, let's say that you have robertcharlton.co.uk, and robertcharlton.com both pointed at the same site (with no redirect, just parked). This is perfectly acceptable, though most SEO's tell you to redirect them, due to potential dupe issues.

Now, let's say for the purposes of this discussion that all your inbound links are worth exactly the same, and the only difference is how many are linking to you, ok?

Let's say that you have the following scenario:

1. 20 links pointing to the home page using www.robertcharlton.com
2. 1 link pointing to the home page using www.robertcharlton.co.uk

Which domain would be displayed in a Google SERP?

Right. The .com version. Obviously it's the most popular, and therefore the most appropriate.

The interesting thing is that as long as that single link pointing to the homepage was spidered and registered, the search engines would consider your site to be a UK site, even though the displayed URL would be the .com version. I use this tactic fairly often - feel free to test it.

Now, what happens if you add 30 links pointing to your site, but they all use the .co.uk extension? Well, you are still a UK site, so no change there. But now the search engines will display the .co.uk URL. The .com is not forgotten, but it's assumed that the .co.uk is more popular now.

This is what I mean by controlling your displayed URL. Naturally, since you can't completely control incoming links, this is not the same as an A/B switch, but anyone experienced in link building can usually make it happen. It's not like most sites have a problem with other people linking to them to much or too fast

Now, this is highly simplified, because there are a couple of other issues. (like search engines index PAGES, not sites) but it's basically how it works.

On my own site, as an experiment, I have .com, .ca, .us and .cn domains all pointed at my site as parks. By controlling my internal linking, my Canadian subdirectory shows up as .ca (and ranks in Canada) and my .cn shows up in my China section, my .us shows up in my USA directory but most of the pages show up as .com.

But you can get to any of the pages in the site with any of the domains. I just control the internal linking.

CAVEAT: I'm still putting the site together, and got really busy with clients so it's currently under heavy construction - you WILL find broken links/pages/etc on the site, and for probably the next month (or longer), so I'm not putting it out as a perfect example or anything. It's just an example.

But if you do a search for "mcanerin", take a look for the domain names mcanerin.us, mcanerin.com, mcanerin.ca and mcanerin.cn (they are all on the same site) and look at the sections they relate to. That's the effect I'm talking about.

Now, I did not do this because I felt it was best practice - I did it mostly to say I could If I were to do it for a client site (that could not host locally), I would have them do something like the following:

1) Create subdomains (country.domain.com) and then point domain.ca, domain.co.uk, etc on each of the appropriate subsites.

2)Then get a couple of links to the subsites using the subsite URL - this gets you out of the sandbox effect, since Google now knows that the sites are actual subdomains.

3) then begin a linking campaign with the appropriate ccLinks to each subdomain using the ccTLD.

The result would be that the search engines would know that it's a subdomain (and you'd get credit for it) but would display the ccTLD for each, since most of the links use that URL.

Simple

Cheers,

Ian
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Last edited by mcanerin : 06-17-2006 at 10:49 PM.
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Old 08-08-2007   #12
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Re: One Site - Multiple TLD Domains

do .us.com domains rank as well as other domains on Google?
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